Microsoft Entra ID Token Protection is a security feature within Microsoft Entra’s Conditional Access that aims to mitigate token theft by ensuring that a token can only be used from the device it was issued to. This is achieved through a process called token binding, which creates a cryptographically secure link between the token and the device. If a threat actor were to steal a token, without the corresponding client secret from the device, the token would be rendered useless.

This protection is particularly important because token theft, while relatively rare, can lead to significant security breaches if the threat actor impersonates the victim until the token expires or is revoked.

How does Microsoft Entra ID Token Protection work

The way Microsoft Entra ID Token Protection works is by requiring that sign-in session tokens, also known as Primary Refresh Tokens (PRTs), are bound to the user’s device. When a user registers a device with Microsoft Entra ID, their primary identity is tied to that device.

Consequently, a policy can be set to ensure that only these bound tokens are used by applications when requesting access to a resource. This means that even if a token is stolen, it cannot be used on any other device than the one it is bound to, thereby preventing unauthorized access.

How to enforce Token Protection via Conditional Access policies

Token Protection in Microsoft Entra ID is still in the Public Preview phase and has its limitations described in the documentation. However, Token Protection in Microsoft Entra ID can already be enforced by conditional access policies.

Create a new policy to target selected users, applications, and platforms. It is important to target only those applications and platforms that support Token Protection, see the linked article above.

Then under Sessions, select Require token protection for sign-in sessions to enforce token protection for the selected scenario.

Benefits of Microsoft Entra ID Token Protection

The benefits of Microsoft Entra ID Token Protection are substantial. It significantly enhances security by reducing the risk of token theft and replay attacks. For organizations, this means better protection for critical resources and high-value data.

It also provides a more robust defense against malware attacks on user devices that could potentially steal tokens, as well as against malicious insider threats. Moreover, it allows for fine-grained control over policy enforcement using Conditional Access, giving organizations the flexibility to apply the necessary security measures tailored to their specific needs.

In summary, Microsoft Entra ID Token Protection is a forward-thinking approach to securing identity and access management. It not only prevents unauthorized access through stolen tokens but also reinforces the overall security posture of an organization by integrating seamlessly with Conditional Access policies to offer a comprehensive defense against identity-based threats.