Giving temporary access to your ASP.NET Web API with Hawk

One of the features supported by Hawk, an HTTP authentication protocol based on HMAC, is to provide read-only access to a Web API for a short period time.  That’s performed through a token called “bewit” that a Web API can provide to a client. That token is only valid for Http GET calls and it can be used for a limited period of time.

I already implemented this feature in my Hawk port for .NET. A bewit token can be generated as it is shown below,

var credential = new HawkCredential
     Id = "dh37fgj492je",
     Key = "werxhqb98rpaxn39848xrunpaw3489ruxnpa98w4rxn",
     Algorithm = "hmacsha256",
     User = "steve"

var bewit = Hawk.GetBewit("localhost", 
  new Uri("http://localhost:8091/Api/HelloWorld"), 

The GetBewit method expects the following arguments,

  • The host name
  • The complete request URI
  • The Hawk credentials with information about the key and algorithm to use
  • A time-to-live setting in seconds for the token

That token is an string representation that you can add as a additional query string in the Web API call.

new HttpRequestMessage(HttpMethod.Get, 
  "http://localhost:8091/Api/HelloWorld?bewit=" + bewit);

In that way, you can share a link to your Web API with a limited access for a period of time to someone without having to share any security credentials.

On the service side is as simple as configuring the HawkMessageHandler as part of the Web API configuration,

var handler = new HawkMessageHandler((id) =>
     return new HawkCredential
           Id = id,
           Key = "werxhqb98rpaxn39848xrunpaw3489ruxnpa98w4rxn",
           Algorithm = "hmacsha256",
           User = "steve"


The handler will automatically detect a bewit token in the query string, and it will performed all the required validations.

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