Not leaking credentials when connecting to services

This GraphQL query retrieves credentials from an environment value, and avoids them getting printed in the response or logs, thus avoiding security risks:

query {
githubAccessToken: _env(name: "GITHUB_ACCESS_TOKEN")
@remove

_sendJSONObjectItemHTTPRequest(input:{
url: "https://api.github.com/repos/GatoGraphQL/GatoGraphQL",
method: PATCH,
options: {
auth: {
password: $__githubAccessToken
},
body: "{\"has_wiki\":false}"
}
})
}

Below is an explanation of how this query works.

How could credentials be leaked permalink

We often need to provide credentials when connecting to external services. For instance, GitHub's REST API requires an access token for endpoints where data is private or is mutated:

query {
_sendJSONObjectItemHTTPRequest(input:{
url: "https://api.github.com/repos/GatoGraphQL/GatoGraphQL",
method: PATCH,
options: {
auth: {
password: "{ GITHUB_ACCESS_TOKEN }"
},
body: "{\"has_wiki\":false}"
}
})
}

We need to be careful and avoid exposing our credentials:

  • In the GraphQL query: Credentials must never be embedded in source code, as these will be in plain text, creating a security hazard
  • In the GraphQL response: If the field connecting to the service produces an error, an error message will be added in the GraphQL response under entry errors; this message might print the name of the field that failed alongside its arguments, thus printing the credentials
  • In the server logs: If credentials are accessed via a variable, and this variable is provided as an URL param, then it might be recorded in the webserver's logs

GraphQL query that avoids leaking credentials permalink

This GraphQL query passes the credentials to GitHub's API while avoding leaking the credentials:

query {
githubAccessToken: _env(name: "GITHUB_ACCESS_TOKEN")
@remove

_sendJSONObjectItemHTTPRequest(input:{
url: "https://api.github.com/repos/GatoGraphQL/GatoGraphQL",
method: PATCH,
options: {
auth: {
password: $__githubAccessToken
},
body: "{\"has_wiki\":false}"
}
})
}

This is because:

  • The credentials are retrieved from an environment variable GITHUB_ACCESS_TOKEN, hence they need not be embedded in the source code
  • Field githubAccessToken is @removed, hence it is not printed in the response
  • The _sendJSONObjectItemHTTPRequest(auth:) input references dynamic variable $__githubAccessToken, hence if the field produces an error, it is the literal string "$__githubAccessToken" that will be printed in the error message (not its value)

To demonstrate the latter item, providing the URL of a non-existing repository "leoloso/NonExisting" to GitHub's API raises an error, and we get this response (notice auth: {password: $__githubAccessToken} in the error message):

{
"errors": [
{
"message": "Client error: `PATCH https://api.github.com/repos/leoloso/NonExisting` resulted in a `404 Not Found` response:\n{\"message\":\"Not Found\",\"documentation_url\":\"https://docs.github.com/rest/repos/repos#update-a-repository\"}\n",
"locations": [
{
"line": 21,
"column": 3
}
],
"extensions": {
"path": [
"_sendJSONObjectItemHTTPRequest(input: {url: \"https://api.github.com/repos/leoloso/NonExisting\", method: PATCH, options: {auth: {password: $__githubAccessToken}, body: \"{\"has_wiki\":false}\"}})",
"query { ... }"
],
"type": "QueryRoot",
"field": "_sendJSONObjectItemHTTPRequest(input: {url: \"https://api.github.com/repos/leoloso/NonExisting\", method: PATCH, options: {auth: {password: $__githubAccessToken}, body: \"{\"has_wiki\":false}\"}})",
"id": "root",
"code": "PoP/ComponentModel@e1"
}
}
],
"data": {
"_sendJSONObjectItemHTTPRequest": null
}
}

Extensions referenced in this tutorial permalink

  1. Field Response Removal permalink

    Remove the output of a field from the response.

  2. Field To Input permalink

    Retrieve the value of a field, manipulate it, and input it into another field or directive, all within the same operation.

  3. HTTP Client permalink

    Addition of fields to execute HTTP requests against a webserver and fetch their response.

  4. PHP Constants and Environment Variables via Schema permalink

    Query the value from an environment variable or PHP constant.