[keycloak-dev] Realm key rotation support

Stian Thorgersen sthorger at redhat.com
Tue Sep 13 09:29:21 EDT 2016

To be able to gracefully rotate the realm keys periodically a realm needs
to have more than one keypair. One keypair that is active and will be used
to issue new cookies and tokens. Also, one or more keypairs that are
inactive that can be used to verify old cookies and tokens.

I'm going to start work on this soon, but here's some initial thoughts:

* Realm keys will have a list of keypairs rather than just one. Only one
can be active. There will also be an expiration time on the inactive
keypairs. Once expired and inactive keypair is no longer usable.
* There will also be an option to automatically generate a new key every N
* If a session cookie is signed with an inactive pair the cookie will be
refreshed so it's signed with the active keypair
* Token introspect endpoint will allow any token that is signed with any
keypair that is not expired
* If a refresh token is signed with an inactive pair the new tokens
(including refresh token) will be signed with the active keypair
* Secret used to generate client code will be linked to the keypair. I'll
need a way to specify what secret it was signed with so codes are still
valid even if they where signed with an old.

This is only for login cookie and OIDC protocol. Is it even necessary to
have support for multiple certificates for SAML? SAML doesn't have a token
introspection or refresh of the assertions right, so not sure it's needed.

With regards to the applications. Marek has already added support for
clients to fetch new keypairs for the realm. See his email on keycloak-dev
for details around that.
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