Use internal API in automation

  • last updated: Thu, 01 Dec 2022 14:41:51

We all know the Graph API,, and the Azure management API, Both APIs are used very often and lots of automation tasks depend on those APIs. Also, most PowerShell modules rely on them and, the Graph and Azure management APIs are well documented.

But, there are situations where those APIs are not enough. (see my blog about configuring authentication strength automated). When looking in the Azure portal a lot of information is present and interesting to monitor or create reports. Or, to create resources. But when mapping the browser over the well-documented APIs you will notice not every item is available in the API.

So, how do we get ALL information or, how do we automate if there is none of the API endpoints available?

If it’s in the browser, you can get it out of it.

The Azure steam machine

The answer is in the Azure basement where a steam machine is running called This API isn’t documented but is very useful. A lot of Azure actions still depend on this API and it holds useful information. Use the developer panel in a browser while walking through the Azure portal and you will notice.


How to use the hidden internal Azure API?

Using the endpoint differs from the regular APIs. The biggest difference is authentication. The API does NOT support the use of a service principal and a client_credentials login method like the Graph authentication example below.

$body = @{    
  grant_Type    = "client_credentials"
  scope         = ""
  client_Id     = "appId"
  client_Secret = "appSecret" 
$connectParams = @{
  uri    = "{0}/oauth2/v2.0/token" -f "tenantId"
  method = "POST" 
  body   = $body
$connect = Invoke-RestMethod @connectParams
$authHeader = @{
  'Content-Type' = 'application/json'
  Authorization  = 'Bearer ' + $connect.access_token

Authenticate to

To use the hidden API you MUST log in with a user for the first time. After login and user_impersonation you receive a refresh token. The permissions are based on the user’s role. The refresh token can be used to reauthenticate later interactively without providing credentials. Make sure you put the token in a safe place!! (Azure KeyVault for example).
A refresh token has a 90-day lifetime. If the token is used it refreshes (as the name says) to a new token that needs to be stored again.

How to use in automation?

In this part, I will show the workflow on how to use the access_token and update the refresh tokens in automation tasks. The main components are the script (from above) and, an Azure Key Vault. The idea is to log in as a user for the first time and then write the refresh token to the Azure Key Vault.


After logging in, I use the starting variables below.

$mainUrl = ""
$context = [Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Common.Authentication.Abstractions.AzureRmProfileProvider]::Instance.Profile.DefaultContext
$token = [Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Common.Authentication.AzureSession]::Instance.AuthenticationFactory.Authenticate($context.Account, $context.Environment, $context.Tenant.Id.ToString(), $null, [Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Common.Authentication.ShowDialog]::Never, $null, $mainUrl).AccessToken
$subscriptionId = [Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Common.Authentication.Abstractions.AzureRmProfileProvider]::Instance.Profile.DefaultContext.Subscription.Id
$headers = @{
    'Content-Type' = 'application/json'
    Authorization  = 'Bearer ' + $token
$tenantId = $context.Tenant.Id
$location = "WestEurope"
$method = "PUT"

Authenctication process

The first step is running the initial authentication process. The process needs to run once to get a refresh token. You also get an access token but is not needed in this step.

Inspired by Jos Lieben`s script, I created a script that creates an access token and the refresh token based on a device login and, writes the refresh token back to the Key Vault. The script is stored on my GitHub.

When running the script, on the screen a message returns like below.

device-login-message Follow the link and the wizard in the browser. Select the correct user, and fill in the code from the screen.

azure-powershell-login device-login-browser

Heading back to the PowerShell command box you see a response like below where all the authentication information is returned.


Considering the response the access_token and refresh_token are important. The access_token is used to get access. The ’normal’ token as we know in the Graph and Azure management APIs uses the client_credentials login method.

The refresh_token is important in automation tasks. This is the token that must be used to log in without a user prompt and to receive an access_token.

Store refresh token in Azure Key Vault

To store the refresh tokens for later use, I create an Azure Key Vault and write back the refresh token.

In the initial step, I copied the refresh token manual into the secret.

As mentioned, the refresh token is the user’s password.
Think twice about which user to use for impersonation. If you just need information, use a user with a READER role. That said, the Azure Key Vault becomes an important component. Make sure to restrict access as much as possible.

I created an Azure Key Vault with the code below. Before I did, I logged in with Connect-AzAccount in PowerShell and created a header.
The full script is on my GitHub.

I enabled public network access. This is because otherwise, Azure Functions can not connect to the key vault. Azure Functions is not marked as a trusted Azure Service. Also, the Azure Functions endpoints have a wide range of IP addresses which is hard to enable all IPs in the key vault firewall. I enabled the RBAC authorization instead of access policies. In later steps, a system identity is the Key Vault Contributor role.

$vaultName = "kv-hidden-api"
$uri = "{0}/subscriptions/{1}/resourceGroups/{2}/providers/Microsoft.KeyVault/vaults/{3}?api-version=2021-10-01" -f $mainUrl, $subscriptionId, $resourceGroupName, $vaultName
$kvBody = @{
    location   = "WestEurope"
    properties = @{
        enablePurgeProtection = $true
        enableRbacAuthorization = $true
        publicNetworkAccess = "Enabled"
        tenantId = $tenantId
        sku = @{
            family = "A"
            name = "standard"
} | ConvertTo-Json -Depth 5

$keyVaultParameters = @{
    uri     = $uri
    method  = $method
    headers = $headers
    body    = $kvBody
$kv = Invoke-RestMethod @keyVaultParameters


Create automation task

There are several ways to run tasks in Azure. Think about Azure Functions, Azure Automation and Logic Apps. In this part, I create an Azure Function that sends API requests to get readable license information.

Create and assign the system identity to Key Vaults Secrets Officer

At first, we need a resource with a system identity. The system identity is assigned to the Key Vaults Secrets Officer role. Due to the length of the blog post, I skip the resource creation. I used the code below to assign the resource’s system identity to the Key Vault Secrets Officer role (id: b86a8fe4-44ce-4948-aee5-eccb2c155cd7). See

The scope is set to the key vault only. I used the $ from the earlier key vault creation.

$roleGuid = (New-Guid).Guid
$roleUri = "{0}/{1}/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/roleAssignments/{2}?api-version=2018-01-01-preview" -f $mainUrl, $, $roleGuid
$roleBody = @{
    properties = @{
        roleDefinitionId = "/subscriptions/{0}/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/roleDefinitions/b86a8fe4-44ce-4948-aee5-eccb2c155cd7" -f $subscriptionId ## b86a8fe4... guid is the buildin role ID Key Vault Secrets Officer
        principalId = "system identity ID" ## This is the system identity id or the resource (I used the .id object from the )
} | ConvertTo-Json -Depth 5

$roleParameters = @{
    uri     = $roleUri
    method  = $method
    headers = $headers
    body    = $roleBody
$role = Invoke-RestMethod @roleParameters

For more information about Key Vaults roles please check:

The principal ID in the body properties is the resource’s system identity ID. hidden-api-sp

After the assignment, check the Azure role assignments role-assignment

Get and set the refresh token from Key Vault

Now the resource has proper permissions to the Key Vault we can update secrets. In the example below I created a PowerShell function Within the Azure Functions resource. At first, the function is logging in as a system identity and creating an authentication header for requesting the Key Vault

$azureAccount = Connect-AzAccount -Identity
$accessToken = Get-AzAccessToken -ResourceUrl $resource -DefaultProfile $azureAccount
$authHeader = @{
  'Content-Type' = 'application/json'
  Authorization  = 'Bearer {0}' -f $accessToken.Token

To get and set the secret I use the code below. I set the audience to Which was earlier for example. To get the value I use the GET method, in the case of setting a new value you need the PUT method.

$vaultUrl = ""
$getMethod = "GET"
$token = [Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Common.Authentication.AzureSession]::Instance.AuthenticationFactory.Authenticate($context.Account, $context.Environment, $context.Tenant.Id.ToString(), $null, [Microsoft.Azure.Commands.Common.Authentication.ShowDialog]::Never, $null, $vaultUrl).AccessToken
$headers = @{
    'Content-Type' = 'application/json'
    Authorization  = 'Bearer ' + $token
$kvSecretName = "RefreshToken"
$secretUri = "{0}/secrets/{1}?api-version=7.3" -f $, $kvSecretName
$secretBody = @{
    value = $resourceToken
} | ConvertTo-Json -Depth 5

$secretParameters = @{
    uri     = $secretUri
    method  = $getMethod
    headers = $headers
    body    = $secretBody
$secret = Invoke-RestMethod @secretParameters

Log in with the refresh token

To log in with the refresh token I request the page and provide the refresh token. With the response, I create a header with an access_token. I use the $tenant from above. The $clientId is the Microsoft Azure PowerShell id that was used in the initial script. In the response also the new refresh token is provided. Use the code above to set the new refresh token in the key vault for later use.

$response = (Invoke-RestMethod "$tenantId/oauth2/token" -Method POST -Body "resource=74658136-14ec-4630-ad9b-26e160ff0fc6&grant_type=refresh_token&refresh_token=$refreshToken&client_id=$clientId&scope=openid" -ErrorAction Stop)
$resourceToken = $response.access_token
$headers = @{
    "Authorization"          = "Bearer " + $resourceToken
    "Content-type"           = "application/json"
    "X-Requested-With"       = "XMLHttpRequest"
    "x-ms-client-request-id" = [guid]::NewGuid()
    "x-ms-correlation-id"    = [guid]::NewGuid()

For more information about how to set keys, check:

Request hiddden API

With the header, we can request In the example below, I request all assigned account SKU’s. These are assigned licenses with also a readable display name. Something that isn’t available in the Graph API.

$uri = ""
Invoke-RestMethod -Method get -uri $uri -header $headers


The full Azure function is stored here:
The script to deploy a resource group, key vault, and set the correct RBAC role is stored here:


In the blog post, I showed how to use the hidden in automation with the use of Azure Functions and PowerShell. The main ’trick’ is to log in with the refresh token to get an access token returned to log in. The new refresh token is saved in the Key Vault.

As mentioned earlier, the refresh token is the new password. Keep it safe and make sure to use an account with as less permissions as possible. Due to the length of the blog post, I’m planning a new post on how to use this method in Logic Apps.

Thank you for reading my blog use internal api in automation.
I hope you got a bit inspired. Enjoy your day and happy automating 👋

comments powered by Disqus

Related Posts

Deploy and monitor conditional access authentication strength automated

Conditional access is an indispensable configuration setting in Azure AD. Conditional Access policies are in basic if-then statements, if a user wants to access a resource, then they must complete an action.

Read more

Monitor and get alerts from Microsoft Endpoint Manager

Out of the box, Microsoft Endpoint Manager has a reporting platform where lots of information is stored. Think about device management or endpoint analytics. For troubleshooting, reports can help.

Read more

Monitor security baselines in Endpoint Security

A security baseline has some values which are interesting to know. It has a status that tells us the current deployment status if a profile is assigned or is deprecated.

Read more