Posts about authentication

SSO with Authentik

SSO all the things A while back I wrote about minimising my attack surface by utilising default deny and whitelists in Nginx. Now I've gotten into the weeds with authentication and deployed an SSO (Signle sign-on) service on my selfhosted infrastructure.

What is Authentik?

Authentik is a SSO (Single Sign on) provider, much like with Google's services you sign in once and then you can access all your services. This has been a big bugbear with selfhosted applications, with Roundcubemail TTRSS plugin, auto authentication for Tiny Tiny RSS against an IMAP Server and Codiad External Authentication via IMAP to name a few work arounds to the issue I have hacked together over the years.

Most importantly for my use case is the single pane of glass to access my services:

A nice dashboard really brings it all together

The Issues

Introducing a SSO system introduces complexity and potential problems so it's not all smooth sailing, passwords are a thing still as they are simple and reliable and understandable.

New Project new problems, limited reviews

Authentik's first beta release was in Jan 2020 so it's very new and has had a few teething issues and quite a few bugs. I highly recommend utilising additional security methods in front of authentik (IDS/IPS, Geo Blocking and ideally using a VPN to access) until it reaches maturity.

Poor Documentation

Quite frankly the documentation isn't great if you are attempting to figure out HOW it’s supposed to work. Thankfully they have integration guides included in the docs that covers the gaps, so some reading between the lines is needed for a while yet.

Limited compatibility

Not everything has SSO support (SAML, Oauth/OpenidConnect or reverse Proxy Authentication), thankfully this isn't as hard to deal with as it once was:

The main issue I have faced is with HomeAssistant. The developers have been reluctant/resistant to adding additional authentication methods to the project. There is the hass-auth-header project created by the developer of Authentik, however the HomeAssistant Android app is frustratingly a major sticking point.

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