Showing posts from March, 2018

The LDAP ‘authentication’ anti-pattern

You could walk into just about any organization today, and you’re bound to find an LDAP directory populated with its users. Look a bit further, and you’ll likely find one or more applications using that directory for ‘authentication’. I say 'authentication' with quotes, because LDAP authentication is something of a misnomer. LDAP is a directory access protocol, designed for reading, writing, and searching a directory service. It's not an authentication protocol. LDAP authentication typically refers to the part of the protocol (binding) that is meant to establish who you are in order to determine what privileges you have to the information in the directory. 
Over time, it’s become a de facto authentication service. The wide-spread availability of LDAP services, such as Active Directory, has turned it into an easy win for software developers who are looking to build authentication into their products. LDAP client libraries are available for just about any framework, and it’…