Authenticating using Workload Identity Federation to Cloud Run, Cloud Functions


Authenticating using Workload Identity Federation to Cloud Run, Cloud Functions

This tutorial and code samples cover how customers that use Workload identity federation can authenticate to those GCP Services like Cloud Run and Cloud Functions which accept OpenID Connect (OIDC) tokens.

Basically, this walks you through a self-contained setup where you will:

  1. Configure a fake OIDC identity "provider" on Cloud Run which returns fake OIDC tokens (eg. ambient credentials)
  2. Configure GCP Workload Identity with that OIDC provider
  3. Deploy a Cloud Run application which requires Authentication.
  4. Use Workload Federation and IAM API to exchange the ambient OIDC token from step 1 for a Google-issued OIDC token
  5. Use google id_token from step 4 to access the secure Cloud Run application.

A brief background:

This article combines both where you can use your ambient workload credentials to authenticate to Cloud Run.

  • Why is this different than plain plain Workload Federation?

    Well, the token returned by GCP for workload federation is an oauth2 access_token intended to be used with GCP services

    The token we actually need to access cloud run is an id_token

  • So how do we exchange an access_token for an id_token?

    Its a bit complicated by we need to use the access_token and invoke projects.serviceAccounts.generateAccessToken endpoint.

    That IAM endpoint will generate a google-issued id_token with the user-specified audience that matches the Cloud Run service.

Other usecases

This tutorial runs through setting a fake OIDC server just used for testing...the OIDC token issued by this server is simply used for use with workload federation; it cannot be used for authentication to Cloud Run. To authenticate to Cloud Run we need a google-issued id_token

  • gRPC: If what your ultimately interested in is an id_token for gRPC, follow the step to get an id_token and then supply that to

  • SignedURL If what you really want to use do is issue GCS Signed URLs using workload identity, you need to invoke projects.serviceAccounts.signBlob using the correct payload

  • Domain-wide Delegation: If what want to do is issue a domain-wide delegated credentials (which IMO should be really rare), use projects.serviceAccounts.signJwt with the JWT payload and sub field for the new identity.

For more info see Using Federated Tokens to sign signJWT or get gcp idtokens


As mentioned, there are several preliminary steps involved here which are numbered accordingly.

You will need a GCP project and access to deploy to cloud run (ofcourse)

export PROJECT_ID=`gcloud config get-value core/project`
export PROJECT_NUMBER=`gcloud projects describe $PROJECT_ID --format='value(projectNumber)'`

## Create service account that the google_issued id_token will use
gcloud iam service-accounts create oidc-federated

1. Fake OIDC server

The following will build and deploy the fake OIDC server and allow the service account associated with the federated identity to access the service

cd idp_server/

gcloud run deploy   --platform=managed  \
 --region=us-central1   --allow-unauthenticated  \
 --source .   idp-on-cloud-run

The fake oidc server's

  • /token endpoint will sign whatever well-formed JSON file is sent via POST

  • .well-known/openid-configuration endpoint will print out the standard oidc configuration

  • /certs will return the JWK formatted public key used for JWT verification

gcloud run services describe idp-on-cloud-run --format="value(status.url)"

# export some environment variables
export URL=`gcloud run services describe idp-on-cloud-run --format="value(status.url)"`
export IAT=`date -u +%s`
export EXP=`date -u +%s -d "+3600 seconds"`
export EMAIL="[email protected]"
export SUB="[email protected]"
export ISS=$URL
export NAME="alice"
export WF_AUD="$PROJECT_NUMBER/locations/global/workloadIdentityPools/oidc-pool-run/providers/oidc-provider-1"

## print a sample fake id_token 

curl -s -X POST -d "{  \"name\":\"$NAME\",  \"isadmin\":\"true\", \"mygroups\": [ \"group1\",\"group2\"], \"iss\":\"$ISS\", \"aud\":\"$WF_AUD\",  \"sub\":\"$SUB\", \"iat\":$IAT, \"exp\":$EXP,  \"email\":\"$EMAIL\",  \"email_verified\":true }"  $URL/token  > /tmp/oidccred.txt

You can view the contents of the JWT by decoding /tmp/oidccred.txt using debugger

A sample JWT may look like

  "alg": "RS256",
  "kid": "123456",
  "typ": "JWT"
  "aud": "",
  "email": "[email protected]",
  "email_verified": true,
  "exp": 1644598160,
  "iat": 1644594560,
  "isadmin": "true",
  "iss": "",
  "mygroups": [
  "name": "alice",
  "sub": "[email protected]"

2. Configure Workload Identity

Now configure workload identity to use the fake oidc server's JWT's

gcloud iam workload-identity-pools create oidc-pool-run  \
   --location="global" \
   --description="OIDC Pool"  \
   --display-name="OIDC Pool" \
   --project $PROJECT_ID

gcloud iam workload-identity-pools providers create-oidc oidc-provider-1  \
     --workload-identity-pool="oidc-pool-run"     --issuer-uri="$ISS"   \
      --location="global"  \
      --attribute-mapping="google.subject=assertion.sub,attribute.isadmin=assertion.isadmin,attribute.aud=assertion.aud" \
      --attribute-condition="attribute.isadmin=='true'" \
      --project $PROJECT_ID

# write the GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIAL file to /tmp/sts.creds
gcloud iam workload-identity-pools create-cred-config \
     projects/$PROJECT_NUMBER/locations/global/workloadIdentityPools/oidc-pool-run/providers/oidc-provider-1  \
     --output-file=/tmp/sts-creds.json  \

## Associate the federated identity ([email protected]) the permission to impersonate the service account
gcloud iam service-accounts add-iam-policy-binding [email protected]$ \
    --role roles/iam.workloadIdentityUser \
    --member "principal://$PROJECT_NUMBER/locations/global/workloadIdentityPools/oidc-pool-run/subject/[email protected]"

Note that the /tmp/sts-creds.json file does NOT specify a service account since IAMCredentials API support direct federation. Also note that were instructing the credential to find the ambient credential set at /tmp/oidccred.txt

  "type": "external_account",
  "audience": "//",
  "subject_token_type": "urn:ietf:params:oauth:token-type:jwt",
  "token_url": "",
  "credential_source": {
    "file": "/tmp/oidccred.txt"

If you're on the cloud console, your configuration should look like


3. Deploy secure Cloud Run application

Now deploy an application that is secure. This is the app we want to access using the google id_token

cd server

gcloud run deploy   --platform=managed \
   --region=us-central1  \
   --no-allow-unauthenticated \
   --source .   federated-auth-cloud-run

export TEST_URL=`gcloud run services describe federated-auth-cloud-run --format="value(status.url)"`

# verify that you can't access the service
curl -s $TEST_URL

# allow the service account we will eventually use for access to the cloud run service
gcloud run services add-iam-policy-binding federated-auth-cloud-run \
  --member="serviceAccount:[email protected]$" \

4. Use Workload Federation and IAM API to create a google id_token

GCP Auth libraries automatically 'understand' the specific external identity provided by federation.

For us, export the variable

export GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS=/tmp/sts-creds.json 

Then when application default is used to call generateIdToken()....well,

see the flow described here

5. Use google id_token to access cloud_run

Now that we have a Google-issued id_token, use that to access Cloud Run

The full flow in python is like this"

from google.auth import credentials
from import  iam_credentials_v1

import google.auth
import google.oauth2.credentials

from google.auth.transport.requests import AuthorizedSession, Request

url = ""
aud = ""
service_account = '[email protected]'

client =

name = "projects/-/serviceAccounts/{}".format(service_account)
id_token = client.generate_id_token(name=name,audience=aud, include_email=True)


creds = google.oauth2.credentials.Credentials(id_token.token)
authed_session = AuthorizedSession(creds)
r = authed_session.get(url)

Test Clients

This repo woudn't be a repo without samples, see the clients/ folder for a language of your choice.

Note that for each, you must edit the source file and specify the url audience and service account you used.

Also remember to set export GOOGLE_APPLICATION_CREDENTIALS=/tmp/sts-creds.json

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