Neo4j Single Sign-On (SSO) configuration
Neo4j supports SSO authentication and authorization through identity providers implementing the OpenID Connect (OIDC) standard. This page features detailed examples of how to configure Single Sign-On (SSO) for several identity providers. It also presents frequently asked questions and solutions to common problems encountered when configuring SSO.
The following configurations are crafted for a Neo4j Browser served on
Therefore, when reproducing them in the identity providers, you must modify the redirect URI to include the URI serving your Neo4j Browser application. For example:
SSO works in the following way:
The server (Neo4j DBMS) contacts the identity provider (Okta, Azure, Google, etc.) and fetches the JSON Web Keys (JWKs) from the provider.
The client (e.g., Bloom, Neo4j Browser, etc.) asks the user for credentials and contacts the identity provider.
The identity provider responds with a JSON Web Token (JWT), a JSON file containing fields (claims) relative to the user (email, audience, groups, etc.).
The client provides the server with the JWT, and the server verifies its signature with the JWKs.
JWTs must always contain a value for
subeven when using a different claim for
username. It is the only claim guaranteed to be unique and stable. Other claims, such as
preferred_usernameare less secure and may change over time. They should not be used for authentication. Neo4j may assign permissions to a user based on this username value in a hybrid authorization configuration. Thus, changing the username claim from
subis not recommended.
This example shows how to configure Okta for authentication and authorization using access tokens.
Configure the client with the appropriate redirect URI. You can skip the group assignments in this step:Figure 1. Okta OIDC client creationFigure 2. Okta OIDC client configuration
Take note of the Client ID and the Okta domain. You will need them later when configuring the Okta parameters and the Well-known OpenID Connect endpoint in the neo4j.conf file:Figure 3. Okta OIDC client configuration
Create groups in Okta, assign users to them (the user can be added to a group either on user creation or editing the group), and map them in the
neo4j.confto native groups:Figure 4. Okta OIDC server groups
Configure the default authorization server (the one that shows
api://defaultas audience) to return the
groupsclaim in access tokens:Figure 5. Okta OIDC authorization serverFigure 6. Okta OIDC server claims
Configure Neo4j to use Okta authentication by configuring the following settings in the neo4j.conf file:
dbms.security.authentication_providers=oidc-okta dbms.security.authorization_providers=oidc-okta dbms.security.oidc.okta.display_name=Okta dbms.security.oidc.okta.auth_flow=pkce dbms.security.oidc.okta.well_known_discovery_uri=https://dev-21056049.okta.com/oauth2/default/.well-known/openid-configuration dbms.security.oidc.okta.audience=api://default dbms.security.oidc.okta.claims.username=sub dbms.security.oidc.okta.claims.groups=groups dbms.security.oidc.okta.params=client_id=0oa3oq6uw3uSOBf8y5d7;response_type=code;scope=openid profile email dbms.security.oidc.okta.authorization.group_to_role_mapping= "engineers" = admin; \ "collaborators" = reader
token_type_authenticationare omitted, meaning access tokens are used instead.
Log in with your Okta SSO credentials using the email of an
engineerrole user that results in an
adminrole in the database:Figure 7. Okta OIDC successful login
This example shows how to configure Okta for authentication and authorization using ID tokens.
Follow the first two steps from the instructions for Access token.
Create the claims as indicated:Figure 8. Okta claim creation panel
In the case of access tokens, a default sub is already provided automatically. However, for ID tokens, the name you give to your claim needs to be also indicated in the configuration
Configure the default authorization server (the one that shows api://default as audience) as indicated:
dbms.security.authentication_providers=oidc-okta, native dbms.security.authorization_providers=oidc-okta dbms.security.oidc.okta.display_name=Okta dbms.security.oidc.okta.auth_flow=pkce dbms.security.oidc.okta.well_known_discovery_uri=https://trial-2696363.okta.com/oauth2/default/.well-known/openid-configuration dbms.security.oidc.okta.audience=0oa42hwrygsUCFlLO697 dbms.security.oidc.okta.claims.username=userid dbms.security.oidc.okta.claims.groups=groups dbms.security.oidc.okta.params=client_id=0oa42hwrygsUCFlLO697;response_type=code;scope=openid profile email dbms.security.oidc.okta.authorization.group_to_role_mapping="admin_group" = admin; dbms.security.oidc.okta.config=token_type_principal=id_token;token_type_authentication=id_token
You should now find the audience under Okta’s sign-on tab:Figure 9. Okta’s sign-on tab
Azure Active Directory (AAD)
This example shows how to configure AAD for authentication and authorization using ID tokens.
Register the application
Log in to the Azure portal.
Navigate to Azure Active Directory > Overview.
From the Add dropdown menu, select App registration and fill in the following information to create your SSO application:Figure 10. Azure OIDC client creation
The redirect URI
http://localhost:7474/browser/?idp_id=azure&auth_flow_step=redirect_uriis the URI that will accept returned token responses after successful authentication.
After the successful app creation, on the app’s Overview page, find the Application (client) ID value. Use it to configure the following properties in the neo4j.conf file.
dbms.security.oidc.azure.audience=c2830ff5-86d9-4e38-8a2b-9efad6f3d06d dbms.security.oidc.azure.params=client_id=c2830ff5-86d9-4e38-8a2b-9efad6f3d06d;response_type=code;scope=openid profile email
Navigate to Endpoints, to find the OpenID Connect metadata document. Use it to configure the
well_known_discovery_uriin the neo4j.conf file.Figure 11. Azure OIDC client config
Configure Neo4j to use Azure authentication by configuring the following settings in the neo4j.conf file:
dbms.security.authentication_providers=oidc-azure dbms.security.authorization_providers=oidc-azure dbms.security.oidc.azure.display_name=Azure dbms.security.oidc.azure.auth_flow=pkce dbms.security.oidc.azure.config=token_type_principal=id_token;token_type_authentication=id_token
Configure which JWT claim should be used for usernames. Possible values are
subis the only claim guaranteed to be unique and stable. For details, see Microsoft documentation as well as the OpenId spec.
Map Azure groups to Neo4j roles
Decide whether you want to use Azure AD Groups directly or Azure App Roles.
Using AD Groups directly might be convenient if you already have users assigned to relevant AD Groups and want to perform Group-to-Role mapping in Neo4j settings.
Azure App Roles allow a layer of separation between Neo4j roles and AD Groups. When App Roles are used, only the roles relevant to Neo4j are sent in the JWT token. This prevents leaking permissions between applications. JWT tokens also have a limitation of 200 roles per token per user, which can be avoided by sending only the relevant App Roles.
Details about Azure App Roles can be found in the Microsoft documentation.
Using Azure AD Groups directly
Configure the server to return the AD Group Object IDs in the JWT identity tokens. To do this, set
SecurityGroupin the Manifest of the registered application:Figure 12. Azure OIDC server claims
Create groups in the Azure AD console and assign users to them. Take note of the Object Id column. In the next step, you must map these to user roles in the Neo4j settings.Figure 13. Azure OIDC server groups
Configure a mapping from Azure Ad Group Object IDs to Neo4j roles. For details, see Map the Identity Provider Groups to the Neo4j Roles.
dbms.security.oidc.azure.authorization.group_to_role_mapping= "e8b6ddfa-688d-4ace-987d-6cc5516af188" = admin; \ "9e2a31e1-bdd1-47fe-844d-767502bd138d" = reader
Configure Neo4j to use the
groupsfield from the JWT token.
Using Azure App Roles
On the app’s home page, navigate to App roles and add the Neo4j roles to the Azure active directory.Figure 14. Azure OIDC app roles config
The Value column in the App roles config must either correspond to Neo4j Roles or be mapped in the neo4j.conf file. For details, see Map the Identity Provider Groups to the Neo4j Roles.
dbms.security.oidc.azure.authorization.group_to_role_mapping= "managers" = admin; \ "engineers" = reader
Configure Neo4j to use the
rolesfield from the JWT token.
This example shows how to use Google OpenID Connect for authentication using ID tokens in conjunction with native authorization.
Configure the client and the redirect URI:Figure 15. Google OIDC client creationFigure 16. Google OIDC client configuration
SSO authorization does not work with Google, as the JWT returned by Google does not contain information about the groups that a user belongs to, and cannot be configured to. Therefore, it is recommended to use native (or another flavor) authorization by creating a native version of the user in Neo4j.
The role assigned to the email used to log in with SSO, in this case,
email@example.com, must have
GRANT ROLEpermissions in the database (
nativeauthentication temporarily enabled):
CREATE USER `firstname.lastname@example.org` SET PASSWORD 'secretpassword'; GRANT ROLE admin to `email@example.com`;
Configure Neo4j to use Google authentication by configuring the following settings in the neo4j.conf file:
dbms.security.authentication_providers=oidc-google dbms.security.authorization_providers=native dbms.security.oidc.google.display_name=Google dbms.security.oidc.google.auth_flow=pkce dbms.security.oidc.google.well_known_discovery_uri=https://accounts.google.com/.well-known/openid-configuration dbms.security.oidc.google.audience=345461137297-v9brpjmgbvbm3d5s9fq65tktevosd3rn.apps.googleusercontent.com dbms.security.oidc.google.claims.username=email dbms.security.oidc.google.params=client_id=345461137297-v9brpjmgbvbm3d5s9fq65tktevosd3rn.apps.googleusercontent.com;response_type=code;scope=openid profile email dbms.security.oidc.google.token_params=client_secret=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 dbms.security.oidc.google.config=token_type_principal=id_token;token_type_authentication=id_token
Log in with your Google SSO credentials using the email address and get the
adminrole when doing so:Figure 17. Azure OIDC successful login
The native authentication is disabled to prevent someone from logging in to firstname.lastname@example.org with the set password.
pkce be used as auth flow?
Assuming the client (Neo4j Browser or Bloom) can be accessed through the public internet, always use
pkce auth-flow rather than
implicit because the latter requires the client’s secret to be available to the public client.
In general, if both flows are available, it is recommended to opt for
pkce because it is more secure than
Is Google authentication secure if it has a client secret listed in the config?
Google uses the pkce flow, but identity providers sometimes also use a client secret to ensure the client asking for a token is the one using it (pkce does not guarantee that).
The client secret does not add any additional security as it is public but the
pkce flow provides sufficient security.
Could not parse JWT of type "access_token"
When getting the message
Failed to get credentials: Could not parse JWT of type "access_token" on Browser, it probably means the provider only accepts ID tokens.
Change to ID tokens in your neo4j.conf:
When should identity tokens vs. access tokens be used?
It is generally safer to use access tokens when possible due to being shorter-lived. If authorization permissions change on the identity provider, Neo4j will fail authorization. Neo4j Browser will try to reconnect and reflect the changed permissions faster than if ID tokens were used.
Debug logging of JWT claims
While setting up an OIDC integration, it is sometimes necessary to perform troubleshooting.
In these cases, it can be useful to view the claims contained in the JWT supplied by the identity provider.
To enable the logging of these claims at
DEBUG level in the security log, set dbms.security.logs.oidc.jwt_claims_at_debug_level_enabled to
true and the security log level to
Make sure to set dbms.security.logs.oidc.jwt_claims_at_debug_level_enabled back to
How to debug further problems with the configuration
Apart from the logs available in logs/debug.log and logs/security.log in the Neo4j path, you can also use the web-development console in your web browser when doing the SSO authentication flow with Bloom or Neo4j Browser. This could reveal potential problems, such as the one presented below with an example identity provider and the Cross-Origin Request policy:
The solution involves adding the redirect domain to the list of allowed domains in the provider (in this case,
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