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Published Release Notes

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New JWT access token format: Authorized Access Token

Valid from Pega Version 8.5

Pega Platform™ is changing from using opaque tokens to using JSON Web (JWT) tokens and the JWT access token format: Authorized Access Token (AAT). An AAT enables a client application to validate the server for user permissions and authorizes a specific application to access specific parts of a user’s data.

The major benefits to using the JWT format are:

  • The JWT is a self-contained token that has authentication information, expire time information, and other user-defined claims digitally signed.
  • A single token can be used with multiple applications.
  • The tokens are short-lived and can minimize damage if transport security is compromised, as the token signature is verified.
  • As the token is verified with the signature, there is no need to verify against a database, thus reducing latency (usually important for Web APIs).

For more information, see Understanding authorized access tokens.

Improvements to OAuth 2.0 Services with Token Introspection Service and Token Denylist Service

Valid from Pega Version 8.5

Increase the security of user sessions by using the newly supported Token Introspection and Denylist services for OAuth 2.0.

Token Introspection service

Use the Token Introspection service to validate JSON Web Tokens (JWT). The Token Introspection service requires authentication. 

Pega now uses OAuth 2.0 access tokens called Authorized Access Tokens (AAT). 

Token Introspection service endpoint

The Token Introspection service endpoint provides the information about the status of access token and refresh token. Token introspection can be used to validate if a given token is still active or inactive. The token introspection endpoint determines whether the token is valid. The status indicates whether an access token or refresh token is valid or invalid: 

  • Valid tokens have the “active”:true status
  • Invalid tokens have the “active” :false status.

The inactive status can also be due to revocation. 

Token Denylist service

You can add tokens to the deny list in cases where suspicious activity might have occurred. The Token Denylist service provides a method for denying user access to the application by revoking the user's access token. This service can prevent a token from being used more than the specified number of times, which can be helpful in preventing replay attacks. Stolen tokens should be revoked using this service. A GET API is also available to get the list of denied tokens.

Keys endpoint

Pega Platform™ is changing from using opaque tokens to JSON Web (JWT) tokens. If this JWT is used by any other system, the public key is needed for signature verification. A new endpoint is exposed to provide these public keys in JWK format: https://host:port/prweb/api/oauth2/v1/token/keys.

 

For more information, see OAuth 2.0 Management Services.

Enhanced refresh token strategy

Valid from Pega Version 8.5

You now have more precise control over your refresh token expiration strategy. When a refresh token is enabled, you can choose to set its initial expiration based on the value provided by the IDP. The refresh token expiry can be derived from IDP’s session timeout when SSO is used with external IDP for user authentication in the authorization code grant flow. You can also specify a separate refresh token expiration strategy based on your use-case. 

These can be configured in the OAuth2 Client registration rule form.

For more information, see Enhanced refresh token strategy.

Enhancements to token lifetime limits

Valid from Pega Version 8.5

Pega Platform™ uses OAuth 2.0 authorization codes, access tokens, and refresh tokens to provide flexible token-based security for applications. Expiration settings for these codes and tokens now adhere to certain strict value range based on industry leading practices. For example, the lifetime specified for the authorization code must be in the range 1-600 seconds.

These can be configured in the OAuth2 Client registration rule form.

For more information, see OAuth 2.0 Management Services.

Enabling security policies now requires current password

Valid from Pega Version 7.1.3

As part of Pega’s initiative to protect against malicious attacks, the change password dialog has been enhanced.  When Security Policies have been enabled for your system, new users or those with expired passwords will now be prompted for both their existing password as well as their desired new password.

For more details, review the Designer Studio > System > Settings > Security Policies landing page.

Add custom HTTP response headers in your application

Valid from Pega Version 7.2.1

The Pega 7 Platform supports the addition of custom security HTTP headers that are supported by your browser. For example, you can now create custom X-Frame-Options, X-XSS-Protection, and Strict-Transport-Security headers. These headers improve the security of your application against client-based attacks.

For more information, see Creating a custom application header

Attribute-based access control model

Valid from Pega Version 7.2.1

Attribute-based access control (ABAC) is a security authorization model in which access rights are determined through the use of policies and attributes. A policy decision engine in ABAC evaluates digital policies against available data (attributes) to permit or deny access to the requested resource. For example, you can now determine access rights to cases by examining security attribute values assigned to the user and the case.

For more information, see Attribute-based access control.

Improving basic access control

Valid from Pega Version 8.5

Pega Platform™ has implemented a new basic access control (BAC) to protect your application from unauthorized server calls from otherwise authenticated users.

For more information, see Access Control Checks.

Upgrade impact

After you upgrade to Pega 8.5, all the functionality in the model configurations that use auto-generated controls and actions continues to work as before. However, you must secure any customized JavaScript in your application layer that makes AJAX (server) calls  by using registration or encryption mechanisms.

What steps are required to update the application to be compatible with this change?

After upgrade, to migrate custom JavaScript functionality, see Access Control Checks.

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