If your plan is to develop a tool or desktop app instead of a server-side application, the benefits of application default credentials are less obvious and reusing the user’s personal gcloud credentials instead might seem attractive. But there are some pitfalls.
gcloud manages two sets of credentials, your personal credentials and application default credentials. Having two separate credentials might seem redundant and can cause surprises the first time you use one of the Google Cloud client libraries. But the two credentials serve different purposes.
Installing the Remote Desktop Connection Manager requires administrator privileges. That can be a problem in a corporate environment where you might not have local administrator rights. Fortunately, there is an easy way to overcome this limitation by performing an administrative installation.
Google APIs use OAuth 2.0 for authentication and authorization. To call an API, you first have to obtain an access token for the right scope and then pass it to the respective API by using the
Authorization HTTP header.
But the trouble with access tokens is that they are short-lived, and you somehow have to deal with expiring tokens…
Once you’ve signed in on google.com, the Cloud Console, or any other Google site, your browser session remains valid for multiple days. Not being prompted to sign in over and over again is convenient and at least in typical consumer scenarios, the risk that comes along with keeping the session is limited.
Things can look different in a corporate scenario where users might have access to sensitive data. Keeping sessions alive for 14 days (which is the default) might seem a little risky and might not be in line with an enterprise’s idea of security. G Suite Business and Cloud Identity Premium therefore allow you to change the default session length to a different period such as 8 hours. This setting applies to all Google services, not only GCP.
Recently, Google introduced another way to control session lifetime by allowing you to control the session length for Cloud Console and gcloud sessions.
The three main new features in this release are:
- A managed implementation of Cloud IAP TCP tunneling
- OAuth-based authorization.
- Support for custom GCP session lengths.
In the last post, we discussed that each request that Cloud IAP passes to a backend appliation contains a
X-Goog-Iap-Jwt-Assertion header. This header contains an IAP JWT assertion that looks a bit like an IdToken, but is not an IdToken.
Conceptually, you can think of Cloud IAP as a reverse proxy that is deployed in front of your corporate application that intercepts all requests to perform authentication and authorization.
At Google Cloud, we run a series of Cloud Summits each year. A Cloud Summit is essentially a mini-version of Cloud NEXT – it lasts one day, features multiple tracks of technical sessions, and is usually held in a location where there is plenty of space for booths where customers can ask questions.
One question that we frequently get at the Ask an Architect or Ask the Expert booth is about Cloud Identity-Aware Proxy - what is it for, how does it work, and how to use it?
In this series of blog posts, I am going to address these questions, one at a time:
- Part 1: What is it for? – The role of Cloud IAP in zero-trust (this post)
- Part 2: How does it work? – Cloud IAP architecture
- Part 3: How to use it – Integrating with Cloud IAP
A bit over 12 years ago I started this blog to write about Windows development. Back then, I spent the majority of both my free time and time at work developing Win32 and COM-based software and I was just starting to tip my toes into Kernel-mode development.
One year later, in 2008, I begun working on my master’s thesis on function boundary tracing in the Windows kernel, which led to posts about runtime code modification on IA-32, Hotpatching, Detours, NTrace, and other fun stuff.
Things got quiet after 2010 when I changed careers and begun working as a consultant. My focus shifted from Windows development to architecting scalable systems and later led me to entirely different topics such as leading development teams and optimizing the software development lifecycle.
Although I never stopped doing Windows development, it got less over time – and I had less to write about on this blog.
Now it is about time to get more active again on this blog. And as a first step, I moved this blog to a new home.