CGI::Ex::Auth - Handle logins nicely.


  ### authorize the user
  my $auth = $self->get_valid_auth({
    get_pass_by_user => \&get_pass_by_user,

  sub get_pass_by_user {
    my $auth = shift;
    my $user = shift;
    my $pass = some_way_of_getting_password($user);
    return $pass;


CGI::Ex::Auth allows for auto-expiring, safe and easy web based logins. Auth uses javascript modules that perform MD5 hashing to cram the password on the client side before passing them through the internet.

For the stored cookie you can choose to use cram mechanisms, secure hash cram tokens, auto expiring logins (not cookie based), and Crypt::Blowfish protection. You can also choose to keep passwords plaintext and to use perl's crypt for testing passwords.

A downside to this module is that it does not use a session to preserve state so get_pass_by_user has to happen on every request (any authenticated area has to verify authentication each time). A plus is that you don't need to use a session if you don't want to. It is up to the interested reader to add caching to the get_pass_by_user method.



Constructor. Takes a hashref of properties as arguments.

Many of the methods which may be overridden in a subclass, or may be passed as properties to the new constuctor such as in the following:

        get_pass_by_user => \&my_pass_sub,
        key_user         => 'my_user',
        key_pass         => 'my_pass',
        login_template   => \"<form><input name=my_user ... </form>",

The following methods will look for properties of the same name. Each of these will be defined separately.


Takes either an auth_data object from a auth_data returned by verify_token, or a hashref of arguments.

Possible arguments are:

    user           - the username we are generating the token for
    real_pass      - the password of the user (if use_plaintext is false
                     and use_crypt is false, the password can be an md5sum
                     of the user's password)
    use_blowfish   - indicates that we should use Crypt::Blowfish to protect
                     the generated token.  The value of this argument is used
                     as the key.  Default is false.
    use_base64     - indicates that we should use Base64 encoding to protect
                     the generated token.  Default is true.  Will not be
                     used if use_blowfish is true.
    use_plaintext  - indicates that we should keep the password in plaintext
    use_crypt      - also indicates that we should keep the password in plaintext
    expires_min    - says how many minutes until the generated token expires.
                     Values <= 0 indicate to not ever expire.  Used only on cram
    payload        - a payload that will be passed to generate_payload and then
                     will be added to cram type tokens.  It cannot contain a /.
    prefer_cram    - If the secure_hash_keys method returns keys, and it is a non-plaintext
                     token, generate_token will create a secure_hash_cram.  Set
                     this value to true to tell it to use a normal cram.  This
                     is generally only useful in testing.

The following are types of tokens that can be generated by generate_token. Each type includes pseudocode and a sample of a generated that token.

        user         := "paul"
        real_pass    := "123qwe"
        token        := join("/", user, real_pass);

        use_base64   := 0
        token        == "paul/123qwe"

        use_base64   := 1
        token        == "cGF1bC8xMjNxd2U="

        use_blowfish := "foobarbaz"
        token        == "6da702975190f0fe98a746f0d6514683"

        Notes: This token will be used if either use_plaintext or use_crypt is set.
        The real_pass can also be the md5_sum of the password.  If real_pass is an md5_sum
        of the password but the get_pass_by_user hook returns the crypt'ed password, the
        token will not be able to be verified.

        user        := "paul"
        real_pass   := "123qwe"
        server_time := 1148512991         # a time in seconds since epoch
        expires_min := 6 * 60
        payload     := "something"

        md5_pass    := md5_sum(real_pass) # if it isn't already a 32 digit md5 sum
        str         := join("/", user, server_time, expires_min, payload, md5_pass)
        md5_str     := md5(sum_str)
        token       := join("/", user, server_time, expires_min, payload, md5_str)

        use_base64  := 0
        token       == "paul/1148512991/360/something/16d0ba369a4c9781b5981eb89224ce30"

        use_base64  := 1
        token       == "cGF1bC8xMTQ4NTEyOTkxLzM2MC9zb21ldGhpbmcvMTZkMGJhMzY5YTRjOTc4MWI1OTgxZWI4OTIyNGNlMzA="

        Notes: use_blowfish is available as well

        user        := "paul"
        real_pass   := "123qwe"
        server_time := 1148514034         # a time in seconds since epoch
        expires_min := 6 * 60
        payload     := "something"
        secure_hash := ["aaaa", "bbbb", "cccc", "dddd"]
        rand1       := 3                  # int(rand(length(secure_hash)))
        rand2       := 39163              # int(rand(100000))

        md5_pass    := md5_sum(real_pass) # if it isn't already a 32 digit md5 sum

        sh_str1     := join(".", "sh", secure_hash[rand1], rand2)
        sh_str2     := join(".", "sh", rand1, rand2)
        str         := join("/", user, server_time, expires_min, payload, md5_pass, sh_str1)
        md5_str     := md5(sum_str)
        token       := join("/", user, server_time, expires_min, payload, md5_str, sh_str2)

        use_base64  := 0
        token       == "paul/1148514034/360/something/06db2914c9fd4e11499e0652bcf67dae/sh.3.39163"

        Notes: use_blowfish is available as well.  The secure_hash keys need to be set in the
        "secure_hash_keys" property of the CGI::Ex::Auth object.

Performs the core logic. Returns an auth object on successful login. Returns false on errored login (with the details of the error stored in $@). If a false value is returned, execution of the CGI should be halted. get_valid_auth WILL NOT automatically stop execution.

  $auth->get_valid_auth || exit;

Optionally, the class and a list of arguments may be passed. This will create a new object using the passed arguments, and then run get_valid_auth.

  CGI::Ex::Auth->get_valid_auth({key_user => 'my_user'}) || exit;

Called if login errored. Defaults to printing a very basic (but adequate) page loaded from login_template..

You will want to override it with a template from your own system. The hook that is called will be passed the step to print (currently only "get_login_info" and "no_cookies"), and a hash containing the form variables as well as the following:


Passed to the template swapped during login_print.

    %$form,            # any keys passed to the login script
    error              # The text "Login Failed" if a login occurred
    login_data         # A login data object if they failed authentication.
    key_user           # $self->key_user,        # the username fieldname
    key_pass           # $self->key_pass,        # the password fieldname
    key_time           # $self->key_time,        # the server time field name
    key_save           # $self->key_save,        # the save password checkbox field name
    key_payload        # $self->key_payload,     # the payload fieldname
    key_redirect       # $self->key_redirect,    # the redirect fieldname
    form_name          # $self->form_name,       # the name of the form
    script_name        # $self->script_name,     # where the server will post back to
    path_info          # $self->path_info,       # $ENV{PATH_INFO} if any
    md5_js_path        # $self->js_uri_path ."/CGI/Ex/md5.js", # script for cramming
    use_plaintext      # $self->use_plaintext,   # used to avoid cramming
    $self->key_user    # $data->{'user'},        # the username (if any)
    $self->key_pass    # '',                     # intentional blankout
    $self->key_time    # $self->server_time,     # the server's time
    $self->key_payload # $data->{'payload'}      # the payload (if any)
    $self->key_expires_min # $self->expires_min  # how many minutes crams are valid

If the form hash contains a true value in this field name, the current user will be logged out. Default is "cea_logout".

The name of the auth cookie. Default is "cea_user".


A field name used during a bounce to see if cookies exist. Default is "cea_verify".


The form field name used to pass the username. Default is "cea_user".


The form field name used to pass the password. Default is "cea_pass".


Works in conjunction with key_expires_min. If key_save is true, then the cookie will be set to be saved for longer than the current session (If it is a plaintext variety it will be given a 20 year life rather than being a session cookie. If it is a cram variety, the expires_min portion of the cram will be set to -1). If it is set to false, the cookie will be available only for the session (If it is a plaintext variety, the cookie will be session based and will be removed on the next loggout. If it is a cram variety then the cookie will only be good for expires_min minutes.

Default is "cea_save".


The name of the form field that contains how long cram type cookies will be valid if key_save contains a false value.

Default key name is "cea_expires_min". Default field value is 6 * 60 (six hours).

This value will have no effect when use_plaintext or use_crypt is set.

A value of -1 means no expiration.


Number of seconds to sleep if the passed tokens are invalid. Does not apply if validation failed because of expired tokens. Default value is 0. Setting to 0 disables any sleeping.


The name of the html login form to attach the javascript to. Default is "cea_form".


This method verifies the token that was passed either via the form or via cookies. It will accept plaintext or crammed tokens (A listing of the available algorithms for creating tokes is listed below). It also allows for armoring the token with base64 encoding, or using blowfish encryption. A listing of creating these tokens can be found under generate_token.


Called by verify_token. Default is to do no modification. Allows for usernames to be lowercased, or canonized in some other way. Should return the cleaned username.


Called by verify_token. Single argument is the username. May or may not be an initial check to see if the username is ok. The username will already be cleaned at this point. Default return is true.


Called by verify_token. Given the cleaned, verified username, should return a valid password for the user. It can always return plaintext. If use_crypt is enabled, it should return the crypted password. If use_plaintext and use_crypt are not enabled, it may return the md5 sum of the password.


Returns a CGI::Ex object.


A hash of passed form info. Defaults to CGI::Ex::get_form.


The current cookies. Defaults to CGI::Ex::get_cookies.


Should return either a template filename to use for the login template, or it should return a reference to a string that contains the template. The contents will be used in login_print and passed to the template engine.

Default login_template is the values of login_header, login_form, login_script, and login_script concatenated together.

Values from login_hash_common will be passed to the template engine, and will also be used to fill in the form.

The basic values are capable of handling most needs so long as appropriate headers and css styles are used.


Should return a header to use in the default login_template. The default value will try to PROCESS a file called that should be located in directory specified by the template_include_path method.

It should ideally supply css styles that format the login_form as desired.

Same as login_header - but for the footer. Will look for by default.


An html chunk that contains the necessary form fields to login the user. The basic chunk has a username text entry, password text entry, save password checkbox, and submit button, and any hidden fields necessary for logging in the user.


Contains javascript that will attach to the form from login_form. This script is capable of taking the login_fields and creating an md5 cram which prevents the password from being passed plaintext.


Paul Seamons <perlspam at seamons dot com>

1 POD Error

The following errors were encountered while parsing the POD:

Around line 1083:

You forgot a '=back' before '=head1'