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Project description

This is repoze.who plugin for authentication via Mozilla’s Persona project, a.k.a BrowserID:

It supports verification of BrowserID assertions using the PyBrowserID client library. Currently PyBrowserID defaults to verifying assertions by posting them to the verifier servive, but it also has preliminary support for verifying assertions locally. As the protocol becomes more stable then local verification will become the default.

Configuration of the plugin can be done from the standard repoze.who config file like so:

use = repoze.who.plugins.browserid:make_plugin
audiences =
rememberer_name = authtkt

use = repoze.who.plugins.auth_tkt:make_plugin
secret = My Special Secret

plugins = authtkt browserid

plugins = authtkt browserid

plugins = browserid

Note that we have paired the BrowserID plugin with the standard AuthTkt plugin so that it can remember the user’s login across requests.


The following settings can be specified in the configuration file to customize the behaviour of the plugin:


A space-separated list of acceptable hostnames or glob patterns for the BrowserID assertion audience. Any assertion whose audience does not match an item in the list will be rejected.

You must specify a value for this setting, since it is integral to the security of BrowserID. See the Security Notes section below for more details.


The name of another repoze.who plugin which should be called to remember/forget the authentication. This would typically be a signed-cookie implementation such as the built-in auth_tkt plugin. If unspecificed or None then authentication will not be remembered.


The URL to which BrowserID credentials should be sent for validation. The default value is hopefully conflict free: /repoze.who.plugins.browserid.postback.


The name of the POST form field in which to find the BrowserID assertion. The default value is “assertion”.


The name of the POST form field in which to find the referring page, to which the user will be redirected after processing their login. The default value is “came_from”.


The name of the POST form field in which to find the CSRF protection token. The default value is “csrf_token”. If set to the empty string then CSRF checking is disabled.


The name of the cookie in which to set and find the CSRF protection token. The default cookie name is “browserid_csrf_token”. If set to the empty string then CSRF checking is disabled.


The location at which to find the HTML for the login page, either as a dotted python reference or a filename. The contained HTML may use python string interpolation syntax to include details of the challenge, e.g. use %(csrf_token)s to include the CSRF token.


The PyVEP Verifier object to use for checking assertions, or the dotted python name of such an object. The default value is vep.RemoteVerifier() which should be suitable for most purposes.


Boolean indicating whether to reject login attempts over enencrypted connections. The default value is False.


Boolean indicating whether to reject login attempts where the referer header does not match the expected audience. The default is to perform this check for secure connections only.

Security Notes

CSRF Protection

This plugin attempts to provide some basic protection against login-CSRF attacks as described by Barth et. al. in “Robust Defenses for Cross-Site Request Forgery”:

In the terminology of the above paper, it combines a session-independent nonce with strict referer checking for secure connections. You can tweak the protection by adjusting the “csrf_cookie_name”, “check_referer” and “check_https” settings.

Audience Checking

BrowserID uses the notion of an “audience” to protect against stolen logins. The audience ties a BrowserID assertion to a specific host, so that an attacker can’t collect assertions on one site and then use them to log in to another.

This plugin performs strict audience checking by default. You must provide a list of acceptable audience string when creating the plugin, and they should be specific to your application. For example, if your application serves requests on three different hostnames, and, you might provide:

use = repoze.who.plugins.browserid:make_plugin
audiences = *

If your application does strict checking of the HTTP Host header, then you can instruct the plugin to use the Host header as the audience by leaving the list blank:

use = repoze.who.plugins.browserid:make_plugin
audiences =

This is not the default behaviour since it may be insecure on some systems.

0.5.0 - 2012-09-11

  • Fix javascript to use instead of the deprecated

0.4.0 - 2012-07-17

  • Migrate from PyVEP to PyBrowserID.

0.3.1 - 2012-01-30

  • Don’t choke on unicode in challenge_body; thanks catlee.

  • Update license to MPL 2.0.

0.3.0 - 2012-01-06

  • Update for API compatability with PyVEP>=0.3.0.

0.2.1 - 2011-12-07

  • Update for API compatability with PyVEP>=0.2.0.

0.2.0 - 2011-12-01

  • Refactor verification code into a standand-alone library named “PyVEP”, which is now a dependency.

0.1.0 - 2011-11-15

  • Initial release.

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