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My application uses Google's OAuth for authenticating users. For development/debugging purposes I want to be able to run it locally (on my dev. machine). To have the OAuth login functionality work in this mode I can configure the OAuth such that http://localhost:<some_port> is whitelisted as an authorized origin (see screenshot, below).

My questions:

  • What are the security implications of this?
  • Are there any other ways to achieve that? (I believe I can run a local forward proxy but I am not sure how to get it to work with HTTPS)

localhost:3000 whitelisted

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Generally it means that one can trick Google (or another Authorization Server) to send a valid authentication token to localhost, from a client point of view.
Assuming that for that client "localhost" will always resolve to a 127/8 address, and those is handled on a local interface; if another process is listening on that port, it might be able to steal that token.

If, somehow, with a particular configuration your machine would try to append your domain (e.g .domain.com) to "localhost" query; someone could poison that, and you'd send your auth token to an arbitrary host.

  • Thanks! So how would your answer change if instead of "localhost:3000" I would use "127.0.0.1:300" (i.e what are the security risks in whitelisting 127.0.0.1:3000 as an allowed origin)? – Itay Maman Sep 18 '18 at 13:49
  • Same as the "arbitrary process potentially running on that machine", but it solves the DNS issues. – ndrix Sep 18 '18 at 15:57

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