đź“… Webinar - Delivering Security on Your Terms: An Intro to Self-Hosted

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My JSON Web Token leaked! What should I do?

What is a JSON Web Token and how it is used?

A JSON Web Token (JWT) is an open standard for securely transmitting information between parties as a JSON object. It is commonly used to authenticate and authorize users in web applications.

JSON Web Token (JWT) is commonly used in web development for the following main use cases:

  • Authentication: JWTs are often used as a secure way to transmit user identity information between the client and server. When a user logs in, a JWT is generated and sent back to the client, which can then be included in subsequent requests to authenticate the user.
  • Authorization: JWTs can also be used to convey specific permissions or roles that a user has. This allows servers to make authorization decisions based on the information contained within the JWT, without needing to query a database for each request.
  • Data Exchange: JWTs can be used to securely exchange information between different services or systems. By encoding data within the JWT payload, it can be transmitted between parties in a tamper-proof manner, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of the data.

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1. Code snippets to prevent JSON Web Token hardcoding using environment variables

Using environment variables for JSON Web Tokens in your code is a secure practice because:

  • Environment variables are not hard-coded in the codebase, reducing the risk of exposure.
  • Environment variables are stored outside of the code repository, adding an extra layer of security.
  • Environment variables can be easily managed and rotated without changing the code.
  • Environment variables are specific to the environment in which the code is running, limiting access to the tokens.

How to secure your secrets using environment variables

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2. Code snippet to prevent JSON Web Token hardcoding using AWS Secrets Manager

Using AWS Secrets Manager to manage JSON Web Tokens is a secure way to handle sensitive data. Here are code snippets in five different programming languages that demonstrate how to retrieve the JSON Web Token from AWS Secrets Manager.

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3. Code snippet to prevent JSON Web Token hardcoding using HashiCorp Vault

Using HashiCorp Vault for managing JSON Web Tokens is a great way to enhance security. Here are code snippets in five different programming languages for securely handling a JSON Web Token using HashiCorp Vault.

Remember to replace the VAULT_ADDR and VAULT_TOKEN with your Vault server address and authentication token. The snippets assume that the JSON Web Token is stored under the api_key field within Vault. The specifics of the Vault path and field names should be adjusted to match your Vault setup.

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4. Code snippet to prevent JSON Web Token hardcoding using CyberArk Conjur

Using CyberArk Conjur to manage JSON Web Token is a secure way to handle sensitive data. Here are code snippets in five different programming languages that demonstrate how to retrieve the JSON Web Token from CyberArk Conjur.

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How to generate a JSON Web Token?

Generating a JSON Web Token (JWT) involves creating a token that can be used to securely transmit information between parties. Here is a simple guide for developers on how to generate a JWT:

  1. Choose a library or framework that provides JWT generation functionality, such as jsonwebtoken in Node.js or PyJWT in Python.
  2. Install the chosen library or framework in your project using a package manager like npm or pip.
  3. Import the JWT generation functions provided by the library into your code.
  4. Prepare the payload data that you want to include in the JWT. This can be any JSON data that you want to transmit securely.
  5. Generate a secret key that will be used to sign the JWT. This key should be kept secure and not shared with unauthorized parties.
  6. Use the library's function to create the JWT by passing in the payload data, the secret key, and any optional configuration parameters.
  7. The library will return a string representing the JWT, which can then be used for authentication or data transmission.

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My JSON Web Token leaked, what are the possible reasons?

There are several reasons why a JSON Web Token (JWT) might have been leaked:

  • Weaknesses in the token generation process, such as using predictable or easily guessable values.
  • Improper storage of tokens, such as storing them in client-side storage where they can be accessed by malicious actors.
  • Exposing tokens in logs or error messages, either due to misconfiguration or lack of proper sanitization.
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks that intercept and steal tokens during transmission.
  • Using insecure communication channels, such as sending tokens over unencrypted connections.
  • Compromised servers or databases where tokens are stored, allowing attackers to access them directly.

What are the risks of leaking a JSON Web Token

JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) are a common method for securely transmitting information between parties as a JSON object. However, if a JWT is leaked, it can pose significant security risks. Here are some specific risks associated with leaking a JWT:

  • Unauthorized Access: If a JWT is obtained by an unauthorized party, they can use it to impersonate the legitimate user and gain access to sensitive resources.
  • Data Tampering: A leaked JWT can be modified by an attacker to tamper with the data it contains, leading to potential data integrity issues.
  • Session Hijacking: Attackers can use a leaked JWT to hijack a user's session, allowing them to perform actions on behalf of the user without their consent.
  • Information Disclosure: The information stored in a JWT may include sensitive data such as user credentials or personal information, which can be exposed if the token is leaked.

It is crucial for developers to implement strong security measures to prevent JWT leakage, such as securely storing and transmitting tokens, using encryption, and regularly rotating keys. Additionally, developers should be aware of the risks associated with JWTs and take necessary precautions to protect them from unauthorized access.

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JSON Web Token security best practices

  • Avoid embedding the secret directly in your code. Instead, use environment variables or secrets managers‍
  • Secure storage: store the JSON Web Token in a secure location, such as a password manager or a secrets management service.
  • Regular rotation: periodically rotate the API key to minimize the risk of long-term exposure.
  • Restrict permissions: apply the principle of least privilege by only granting the key the minimum necessary permissions.
  • Monitor usage: regularly check the usage logs for any unusual activity or unauthorized access attempts.
  • Implement access controls: limit the number of users who have access to the secret and enforce strong authentication measures.
  • Use a secrets manager: utilize secret management tools like CyberArk or AWS Secrets Manager for enhanced security.

By adhering to the best practices, you can significantly reduce the risk associated with JSON Web Token usage and improve the overall security of your JSON Web Token implementations.

Exposing secrets on GitHub: What to do after leaking Credential and API keys

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JSON Web Token leak remediation: what to do

What to do if you expose a secret: How to stay calm and respond to an incident [cheat sheet included]

How to check if JSON Web Token was used by malicious actors

  • Review Access Logs: Check the access logs of your JSON Web Token account for any unauthorized access or unusual activity. Pay particular attention to access from unfamiliar IP addresses (if you haven’t set up a specific allow list) or at odd hours.
  • Monitor Usage Patterns: Look for anomalies in the usage patterns, such as unexpected spikes in data access or transfer.
  • Check Active Connections and Operations: Review the list of active connections and recent operations on your database. Unusual or unauthorized operations might indicate malicious use.
  • Audit API Usage: If possible, audit the usage of your API key through any logging or monitoring services you have integrated with JSON Web Token. This can give insights into any unauthorized use of your key.

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Steps to revoke the JSON Web Token

Generate a new JSON Web Token:

  • Log into your JSON Web Token account.
  • Navigate to the API section and generate a new API key.

Update Services with the new key:

  • Replace the compromised key with the new key in all your services that use this API key.
  • Ensure all your applications and services are updated with the new key before deactivating the old one.

Deactivate the old JSON Web Token:

  • Once the new key is in place and everything is functioning correctly, deactivate the old API key.
  • This can typically be done from the same section where you generated the new key.

Monitor after key rotation:

  • After deactivating the old key, monitor your systems closely to ensure that all services are running smoothly and that there are no unauthorized access attempts.

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How to understand which services will stop working

  • Inventory of services: keep an inventory of all services and applications that utilize your JSON Web Token.
  • Communication and documentation: Ensure that your team is aware of which services are dependent on the key. Maintain documentation for quick reference.
  • Testing: before deactivating the old key, test your services with the new key in a staging environment. This helps in identifying any services that might face issues post rotation.
  • Fallback strategies: Have a fallback or emergency plan in case a critical service fails after the key rotation. This might include temporary measures or quick rollback procedures.

In summary, the remediation process involves identifying potential misuse, carefully rotating the key, and ensuring minimal disruption to services. Being proactive and having a well-documented process can greatly reduce the risks associated with a compromised API key.

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What about other secrets?

GitGuardian helps developers keep 350+ types of secrets out of source code. GitGuardian’s automated secrets detection and remediation solution secure every step of the development lifecycle, from code to cloud:

  • On developer workstations with git hooks (pre-commit and pre-push);
  • On code sharing platforms like GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket;
  • In CI environments (Circle CI, Travis CI, Jenkins CI, GitHub Actions, and many more);
  • In Docker images.

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Environment Variables
Environment Variables
Environment Variables

charge

nullable string

For card errors, the ID of the failed charge.

payment_method_type

nullable string

If the error is specific to the type of payment method, the payment method type that had a problem. This field is only populated for invoice-related errors.

doc_url

nullable string

A URL to more information about the error code reported.

request_log_url

nullable string

A URL to the request log entry in your dashboard.

charge

nullable string

If the error is specific to the type of payment method, the payment method type that had a problem. This field is only populated for invoice-related errors.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

charge

nullable string

If the error is specific to the type of payment method, the payment method type that had a problem. This field is only populated for invoice-related errors.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

payment_intent

nullable object

The PaymentIntent object for errors returned on a request involving a PaymentIntent.

setup_intent

nullable object

The SetupIntent object for errors returned on a request involving a SetupIntent.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

CLIENT LIBRARIES

$ gem install stripe
$ pip install stripe
$ composer require stripe/stripe-php
MAVEN
<dependency>
  <groupId>com.stripe</groupId>
  <artifactId>stripe-java</artifactId>
  <version>24.16.0</version>
</dependency>

GRADLE
compile "com.stripe:stripe-java:24.16.0"
$ npm install --save stripe
$ go get github.com/stripe/stripe-go/v76
$ nuget install Stripe.net
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