Token Authentication

hydrus provides an Authorization/Authentication procedure that allow operations on endpoints using a simple Two-Factor Authentication method.

This page explains the authentication options that can be applied to any hydrus-deployed API.

How to enable authentication?

Authentication can be enabled while setting up the API using two simple commands:

    # Add authorised users to the API.
    add_user(id_=1, paraphrase="test", session=session)
    with set_authentication(app, True):
        # Use authentication for all requests
        with set_token(app, True):
        #Add token based authorization
  • add_user(id_=1, paraphrase="test", session=session): This function adds authorized user credentials in the database.
  • with set_authentication(app, True): This function sets the authentication appcontext variable to use authentication for each request. Set it to False if authentication is not needed for the endpoints.
  • with set_token(app, True): Once authentication is set for endpoints, this function can enable a basic token based authorization for the users.

Authentication system of the API

Currently, the API uses a basic two factor authentication to authenticate the users to the API. user nonce and credentials are used during this process. Here is a step by step explanation of the authentication system :

  • The user requests the server for a protected resource.
  • The server responds with a 401 response along with a nonce-value in the X-Authentication header as X-Authentication: nonce-value and a basic authentication challenge.
  • The client has to provide the user credentials in the Authorization header encoded in the basic authentication format (i.e base64) as Authorization: Basic encoded-credentials where the encoded-credentials string is generated as
  • Along with the credentials, the client has to provide the nonce value obtained from the server in the X-Authentication header of the previous response. The nonce is valid for 1 min and for 1 request only. The client shall get a unique nonce everytime the server sends a 401 response.
  • After successful authentication, the server responds with the user token(if enabled) or the response data.

Here is an example of server failed authentication response:

 Content-type: application/ld+json
 WWW-Authenticate: Basic realm="Login required"
 X-Authentication: ea2ab992-ba92-45ff-89da-2a8e2adce4c1
 Link: <http://localhost:8080/serverapi/vocab>; rel=""
 Access-Control-Allow-Origin: *
 Content-Length: 48
 Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2018 18:28:04 GMT
  "401": "Need credentials to authenticate"

Here is the corresponding user request to successfully authenticate with the server:

 GET /serverapi/DroneCollection HTTP/1.1
 Host: localhost:8080
 User-Agent: curl/7.47.0
 Accept: */*
 Authorization: Basic MTp0ZXN0

Token based authorization system

Once the client is authenticated, the API assigns a unique time-bound token to the client. This token can now be used by the client to access any protected endpoint within the token-expiry time which is set to 45 min. The user can request for the token by successfully authenticating with the server, and the token alone can be used to access any resource without any further authentication.

Here is a step by step explanation to the token-based authorisation system:

  • The server sends a 200 response with the token value in the X-Authorization header.
  • The client can now request any resource just by adding the token in the X-Authorization request header.

Here is the token generation response after client successfully authenticates in the above request:

 HTTP/1.1 200 OK
 Content-type: application/ld+json
 X-Authorization: f93046c97070998142cbbf8fb42886
 Link: <http://localhost:8080/serverapi/vocab>; rel=""
 Access-Control-Allow-Origin: *
 Content-Length: 36
 Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2018 18:30:31 GMT
  "200": "User token generated"

This is the sample format of a user request to access any protected endpoint:

 GET /serverapi/DroneCollection HTTP/1.1
 Host: localhost:8080
 User-Agent: curl/7.47.0
 Accept: */*