Instance Public methods
authenticate(controller, realm, &password_procedure)

Returns false on a valid response, true otherwise

# File actionpack/lib/action_controller/http_authentication.rb, line 175
def authenticate(controller, realm, &password_procedure)
  authorization(controller.request) && validate_digest_response(controller.request, realm, &password_procedure)
authentication_header(controller, realm)
# File actionpack/lib/action_controller/http_authentication.rb, line 237
def authentication_header(controller, realm)
  controller.headers["WWW-Authenticate"] = %Q(Digest realm="#{realm}", qop="auth", algorithm=MD5, nonce="#{nonce}", opaque="#{opaque}")
authentication_request(controller, realm, message = nil)
# File actionpack/lib/action_controller/http_authentication.rb, line 241
def authentication_request(controller, realm, message = nil)
  message ||= "HTTP Digest: Access denied.\n"
  authentication_header(controller, realm)
  controller.__send__ :render, :text => message, :status => :unauthorized
# File actionpack/lib/action_controller/http_authentication.rb, line 179
def authorization(request)
  request.env['HTTP_AUTHORIZATION']   ||
  request.env['X-HTTP_AUTHORIZATION'] ||
  request.env['X_HTTP_AUTHORIZATION'] ||
# File actionpack/lib/action_controller/http_authentication.rb, line 229
def decode_credentials(header)
  header.to_s.gsub(/^Digest\s+/,'').split(',').inject({}.with_indifferent_access) do |hash, pair|
    key, value = pair.split('=', 2)
    hash[key.strip] = value.to_s.gsub(/^"|"$/,'').gsub(/'/, '')
# File actionpack/lib/action_controller/http_authentication.rb, line 225
def decode_credentials_header(request)
encode_credentials(http_method, credentials, password, password_is_ha1)
# File actionpack/lib/action_controller/http_authentication.rb, line 220
def encode_credentials(http_method, credentials, password, password_is_ha1)
  credentials[:response] = expected_response(http_method, credentials[:uri], credentials, password, password_is_ha1)
  "Digest " + credentials.sort_by {|x| x[0].to_s }.inject([]) {|a, v| a << "#{v[0]}='#{v[1]}'" }.join(', ')
expected_response(http_method, uri, credentials, password, password_is_ha1=true)

Returns the expected response for a request of http_methodto uriwith the decoded credentialsand the expected passwordOptional parameter password_is_ha1is set to trueby default, since best practice is to store ha1 digest instead of a plain-text password.

# File actionpack/lib/action_controller/http_authentication.rb, line 210
def expected_response(http_method, uri, credentials, password, password_is_ha1=true)
  ha1 = password_is_ha1 ? password : ha1(credentials, password)
  ha2 = ::Digest::MD5.hexdigest([http_method.to_s.upcase, uri].join(':'))
  ::Digest::MD5.hexdigest([ha1, credentials[:nonce], credentials[:nc], credentials[:cnonce], credentials[:qop], ha2].join(':'))
ha1(credentials, password)
# File actionpack/lib/action_controller/http_authentication.rb, line 216
def ha1(credentials, password)
  ::Digest::MD5.hexdigest([credentials[:username], credentials[:realm], password].join(':'))
nonce(time =

Uses an MD5 digest based on time to generate a value to be used only once.

A server-specified data string which should be uniquely generated each time a 401 response is made. It is recommended that this string be base64 or hexadecimal data. Specifically, since the string is passed in the header lines as a quoted string, the double-quote character is not allowed.

The contents of the nonce are implementation dependent. The quality of the implementation depends on a good choice. A nonce might, for example, be constructed as the base 64 encoding of

> time-stamp H(time-stamp “:” ETag “:” private-key)

where time-stamp is a server-generated time or other non-repeating value, ETag is the value of the HTTP ETag header associated with the requested entity, and private-key is data known only to the server. With a nonce of this form a server would recalculate the hash portion after receiving the client authentication header and reject the request if it did not match the nonce from that header or if the time-stamp value is not recent enough. In this way the server can limit the time of the nonce's validity. The inclusion of the ETag prevents a replay request for an updated version of the resource. (Note: including the IP address of the client in the nonce would appear to offer the server the ability to limit the reuse of the nonce to the same client that originally got it. However, that would break proxy farms, where requests from a single user often go through different proxies in the farm. Also, IP address spoofing is not that hard.)

An implementation might choose not to accept a previously used nonce or a previously used digest, in order to protect against a replay attack. Or, an implementation might choose to use one-time nonces or digests for POST or PUT requests and a time-stamp for GET requests. For more details on the issues involved see Section 4 of this document.

The nonce is opaque to the client. Composed of Time, and hash of Time with secret key from the Rails session secret generated upon creation of project. Ensures the time cannot be modifed by client.

# File actionpack/lib/action_controller/http_authentication.rb, line 279
def nonce(time =
  t = time.to_i
  hashed = [t, secret_key]
  digest = ::Digest::MD5.hexdigest(hashed.join(":"))
  Base64.encode64("#{t}:#{digest}").gsub("\n", '')

Opaque based on random generation - but changing each request?

# File actionpack/lib/action_controller/http_authentication.rb, line 298
def opaque()

Set in /initializers/session_store.rb, and loaded even if sessions are not in use.

# File actionpack/lib/action_controller/http_authentication.rb, line 303
def secret_key
validate_digest_response(request, realm, &password_procedure)

Returns false unless the request credentials response value matches the expected value. First try the password as a ha1 digest password. If this fails, then try it as a plain text password.

# File actionpack/lib/action_controller/http_authentication.rb, line 189
def validate_digest_response(request, realm, &password_procedure)
  credentials = decode_credentials_header(request)
  valid_nonce = validate_nonce(request, credentials[:nonce])
  if valid_nonce && realm == credentials[:realm] && opaque == credentials[:opaque]
    password =[:username])
    return false unless password
    method = request.env['rack.methodoverride.original_method'] || request.env['REQUEST_METHOD']
    uri    = credentials[:uri][0,1] == '/' ? request.request_uri : request.url
   [true, false].any? do |password_is_ha1|
     expected = expected_response(method, uri, credentials, password, password_is_ha1)
     expected == credentials[:response]
validate_nonce(request, value, seconds_to_timeout=5*60)

Might want a shorter timeout depending on whether the request is a PUT or POST, and if client is browser or web service. Can be much shorter if the Stale directive is implemented. This would allow a user to use new nonce without prompting user again for their username and password.

# File actionpack/lib/action_controller/http_authentication.rb, line 291
def validate_nonce(request, value, seconds_to_timeout=5*60)
  return false if value.nil?
  t = Base64.decode64(value).split(":").first.to_i
  nonce(t) == value && (t - <= seconds_to_timeout