Passport strategy for authenticating using a public/private key pair to sign a nonce challenge.

This module lets you authenticate using a public/private key pair in your Node.js applications. By plugging into Passport, local authentication can be easily and unobtrusively integrated into any application or framework that supports Connect-style middleware, including Express.


$ npm install passport-publickey


Configure Strategy

The public key authentication strategy authenticates users by verifying a signature was made by someone in possession of the private key. The strategy takes in an optional options object, and a required verify callback.

  • The options object accepts to fields (below are the defaults):

    findBy: 'id', // or 'email' or 'nonce' or 'publicKey' or any unique field in your database for your users
    in: 'body' // or 'headers'

    The in parameter specifies where in the request is the authentication data, i.e. in req.body or in req.headers. The findBy parameter specifies by which (unique) field we should find the user in the database.

  • The verify function accepts these credentials and calls done providing a user:

    passport.use(new PublicKeyStrategy(
      findBy: 'email',
      in: 'body'
    function(findByValue, signature, done) {
      User.findOneBy({ email: findByValue }, function (err, user) {
        if (err) { return done(err); }
        if (!user) { return done(null, false); }
        var verifier = crypto.createVerify("RSA-SHA256");
        var publicKeyBuf = new Buffer(user.publicKey, 'base64');
        var result = verifier.verify(publicKeyBuf, signature, "base64");
        if (result) {
          return done(null, user);
        } else {
          return done(null, false);

Authenticate Requests

Use passport.authenticate(), specifying the 'publicKey' strategy, to authenticate requests.

For example, as route middleware in an Express application:'/login', 
  passport.authenticate('publicKey', { failureRedirect: '/login' }),
  function(req, res) {


For an example incorporated inside FeathersJS, please see here


$ npm test