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The Delegated Account Recovery Rigid Reusable Ruby (aka D.a.r.r.r.r. or "Darrrr") library is meant to be used as the fully-complete plumbing in your Rack application when implementing the Delegated Account Recovery specification. This library is currently used for the implementation at GitHub.

Along with a fully featured library, a proof of concept application is provided in this repo.


An account provider (e.g. GitHub) is someone who stores a token with someone else (a recovery provider e.g. Facebook) in order to grant access to an account.

In config/initializers or any location that is run during application setup, add a file. NOTE: procs are valid values for countersign_pubkeys_secp256r1 and tokensign_pubkeys_secp256r1

Darrrr.authority = "http://localhost:9292"
Darrrr.privacy_policy = "#{Darrrr.authority}/articles/github-privacy-statement/"
Darrrr.icon_152px = "#{Darrrr.authority}/icon.png"

# See script/setup for instructions on how to generate keys
Darrrr::AccountProvider.configure do |config|
  config.signing_private_key = ENV["ACCOUNT_PROVIDER_PRIVATE_KEY"]
  config.symmetric_key = ENV["TOKEN_DATA_AES_KEY"]
  config.tokensign_pubkeys_secp256r1 = [ENV["ACCOUNT_PROVIDER_PUBLIC_KEY"]] || lambda { |provider, context| "you wouldn't do this in real life but procs are supported for this value" }
  config.save_token_return = "#{Darrrr.authority}/account-provider/save-token-return"
  config. = "#{Darrrr.authority}/account-provider/recover-account-return"

Darrrr::RecoveryProvider.configure do |config|
  config.signing_private_key = ENV["RECOVERY_PROVIDER_PRIVATE_KEY"]
  config.countersign_pubkeys_secp256r1 = [ENV["RECOVERY_PROVIDER_PUBLIC_KEY"]] || lambda { |provider, context| "you wouldn't do this in real life but procs are supported for this value" }
  config.token_max_size = 8192
  config.save_token = "#{Darrrr.authority}/recovery-provider/save-token"
  config. = "#{Darrrr.authority}/recovery-provider/recover-account"

The delegated recovery spec depends on publicly available endpoints serving standard configs. These responses can be cached but are not by default. To configure your cache store, provide the reference:

Darrrr.cache ='localhost:11211', options)

The spec disallows http URIs for basic security, but sometimes we don't have this setup locally.

Darrrr.allow_unsafe_urls = true

Provider registration

In order to allow a site to act as a provider, it must be "registered" on boot to prevent unauthorized providers from managing tokens.

# Only configure this if you are acting as a recovery provider

# Only configure this if you are acting as an account provider

Custom crypto

Create a module that responds to Module.sign, Module.verify, Module.decrypt, and Module.encrypt. You can use the template below. I recommend leaving the #verify method as is unless you have a compelling reason to override it.

Global config

Set Darrrr.this_account_provider.custom_encryptor = MyCustomEncryptor Set Darrrr.this_recovery_provider.custom_encryptor = MyCustomEncryptor


Darrrr.with_encryptor(MyCustomEncryptor) do
  # perform DAR actions using MyCustomEncryptor as the crypto provider
  recovery_token, sealed_token = Darrrr..generate_recovery_token(data: "foo", audience: recovery_provider, context: { user: current_user })
module MyCustomEncryptor
  class << self
    # Encrypts the data in an opaque way
    # data: the secret to be encrypted
    # returns a byte array representation of the data
    def encrypt(data)


    # Decrypts the data
    # ciphertext: the byte array to be decrypted
    # returns a string
    def decrypt(ciphertext)


    # payload: binary serialized recovery token (to_binary_s).
    # key: the private EC key used to sign the token
    # returns signature in ASN.1 DER r + s sequence
    def sign(payload, key)


    # payload: token in binary form
    # signature: signature of the binary token
    # key: the EC public key used to verify the signature
    # returns true if signature validates the payload
    def verify(payload, signature, key)
      # typically, the default verify function should be used to ensure compatibility
      Darrrr::DefaultEncryptor.verify(payload, signature, key)

Example implementation

I strongly suggest you read the specification, specifically section 3.1 (save-token) and 3.5 (recover account) as they contain the most dangerous operations.

NOTE: this is NOT meant to be a complete implementation, it is just the starting point. Crucial aspects such as authentication, audit logging, out of band notifications, and account provider persistence are not implemented.

Specifically, the gem exposes the following APIs for manipulating tokens.


Local development assumes a Mac OS environment with homebrew available. Postgres and phantom JS will be installed.

Run ./script/bootstrap then run ./script/server

  • Visit http://localhost:9292/account-provider
  • You'll see some debug information on the page.
    • Click "setup recovery".
  • If recovery setup was successful, click "Recovery Setup Successful"
  • Click the "recover now?" link
  • You'll see an intermediate page, where more debug information is presented. Click "recover token"
  • You should be sent back to your host
    • And see something like Recovered data: <the secret from step 1>


Run ./script/test to run all tests.

Deploying to heroku

Use heroku config:set to set the environment variables listed in script/setup. Additionally, run:

heroku config:set HOST_URL=$(heroku info -s | grep web_url | cut -d= -f2)

Push your app to heroku:

git push heroku <branch-name>:master

Migrate the database:

heroku run rake db:migrate

Use the app!

heroku restart
heroku open


  • Add support for token-status endpoints as defined by the spec
  • Add async API as defined by the spec
  • Implement token binding as part of the async API

Don't want to run ./script entries?

See script/setup for the environment variables that need to be set.




darrrr is licensed under the MIT license.

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