Why I think Authentication Zero is a bad idea

02 Jan 2023

I came across a new authentication gem for Rails, called authentication-zero. The gem generates the authentication code into the application, and once that’s done, it can be even removed from it.

There is a big security issue with this approach because if a security flaw is found in the gem, how will the users know about it? Services like Github’s dependency scanning won’t alert since the gem might be removed from the Gemfile. Also, suppose the developer who added this authentication system to the application has left. In that case, their descendants might not realize that the authentication system has been generated by this gem, and won’t realize that they need to take action when a security problem is announced.

And likely, there will be security issues. I already found a problematic default: https://github.com/lazaronixon/authentication-zero/issues/50

UPDATE:

The author of Authentication Zero decided to add post-install notes to the gem release, which helps with the above described issue.

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