Trezor home
Trezor home

Understanding OAuth2: A secure authorization protocol

yellow image of blockchain
Trezor home

In today's digital world, where countless applications require access to personal data and resources, ensuring secure login control is crucial. OAuth2, an open standard protocol, provides a framework for granting secure connections to resources without exposing sensitive information. This article will delve into what it is, its key features, its benefits, and how it works.

## What is OAuth2?

OAuth2 stands for 'Open Authorization'. It is a framework that enables users to grant restricted access to their protected resources to third-party applications, such as social media profiles, cloud storage, or online banking accounts, without sharing their credentials. This framework separates the roles of the resource owner, the client application, and the resource server, ensuring a secure and controlled access mechanism.

Key Components of OAuth2

diagram of oauth2 protocol

  • Resource Owners: These are the users who possess the data that needs to be accessed by a third-party application. For example, the user's social media account.

  • Client: This application requests entry to the user's resources, such as a mobile app.

  • Authorization Server: Its primary responsibility is to verify the users' identities and issue an access token to the client once the authentication process is completed.

  • Resource Server: This hosts the protected resources that the requesting application wants to gain entry on behalf of the user. It verifies the access token and grants a gateway to the requested resources if valid.

OAuth2 flow

The platform provides different flows, or grant types, that determine how applications can obtain connection tokens and authenticate themselves to access protected resources. The most commonly used flows are:

  • Authorization Code Flow: This flow is commonly used for web applications. The client redirects the users to the authorization server, where they provide consent. Upon consent, they are redirected back to the application with a passage code, which then exchanges this code for a connection token, which is used to gain admission to the protected resources.

  • Implicit Flow: This flow is suitable for mobile and single-page applications. The access token is returned directly to the applications after the users' consent without an intermediate login control code.

  • Client Credentials Flow: This flow is used for machine-to-machine communication. The application directly authenticates itself using its credentials, such as an API key or secret, to obtain a passage token.

Trezor home

Benefits of using OAuth2

There are several benefits brought to developers, users, and service providers from using OAuth2:

  • Security: It protects users' privacy by not requiring them to share their passwords with third-party applications.

  • Efficiency: It is a more efficient way to login into user accounts than traditional methods, such as username and password authentication.

  • Flexibility: It can be used to gain entry to a wide range of services, including social networks, email providers, and cloud storage services.

  • Simplified integration: It provides a standardized and well-documented framework for developers to implement authentication and entry control.

  • Single sign-on (SSO) capability: It supports single sign-on, enabling users to authenticate once and connect to multiple applications seamlessly.

How does OAuth2 work

The Authorization Server verifies and identifies the Client, providing it with credentials (ID and secret) as part of the authentication process. The application, such as a mobile app or website, initiates the access request, following these steps for token request, exchange, and response.

flow diagram

  • Client requests access: The entity seeking access submits a request to the Authorization Server, providing its identification and secret credentials for authentication purposes. The entity specifies the desired scopes and supplies a redirect URI, indicating the location where the Access Token or Code should be sent.

  • Authenticating the client: It verifies the authenticity of the application and checks if the requested scopes are permitted.

  • Resource owner grants access: The individual who owns the resource engages with the Authorization Server to authorize access permissions for logging in.

  • Redirecting back to the Client: After the interaction with the Authorization Server, the application is redirected back, receiving either an Access Code or a Token for passage (depending on the grant type). Additionally, a Refresh Token may also be returned for future use.

  • Client requests resource access: With the passage Token in hand, the application requests to the Resource Server, seeking a connection to the desired resource.

It's important to note that the above steps outline the general flow of the platform, and the specifics may vary depending on the chosen grant type.

Implementing OAuth2: Common use cases

The common OAuth2 uses are as follows:

  • Social media integration: Enabling users to log in to third-party apps using their social media accounts, granting entry to basic profile information.

  • Mobile applications: It enables secure connection for mobile apps accessing APIs or user data on different servers.

  • Enterprise integration: The framework simplifies service and app integration within an enterprise, enhancing security and user experience.

  • Internet of Things (IoT): It authenticates and authorizes devices, enabling secure interactions between IoT devices and services.

OAuth2 Conclusion

By implementing OAuth2, organizations can enhance security, improve user experience, and foster interoperability in today's interconnected digital landscape.

Trezor home
Nancy Lubale

Nancy Lubale

Nancy is a self-taught crypto, blockchain and tech news author and researcher with more than six years of experience producing news coverage in the cryptocurrency, NFT, the Metaverse, blockchain technology, investing and technology fields. Driven by her passion for technology, she has worked for top crypto companies, including Business2Community, Kraken Learn, InsideBitcoins,, Vauld Insights, Coingape, Forexcrunch, and Economywatch. Her research interests are in technical analysis of crypto assets, DeFi, NFTs, and on-chain data analysis and of late tech and AI news.

This site uses cookies, please see ourCookie Policyfor more information.