October 8, 2018
The core Token Binding specs are now RFCs 8471, 8472, and 8473

IETF logoThe IETF Token Binding working group has completed the core Token Binding specifications. These new standards are:

  • RFC 8471: The Token Binding Protocol Version 1.0
  • RFC 8472: Transport Layer Security (TLS) Extension for Token Binding Protocol Negotiation
  • RFC 8473: Token Binding over HTTP

As Alex Simons recently wrote, it’s time for token binding. Especially now that the core specs are done, now’s the time for platforms and applications to deploy Token Binding. This will enable replacing bearer tokens, which can be stolen and reused, with Token Bound tokens, which are useless if stolen. This is a huge security benefit applicable to any tokens used over TLS, including browser cookies, OAuth access tokens and refresh tokens, and OpenID Connect ID Tokens.

Congratulations especially to the editors Andrei Popov, Dirk Balfanz, Jeff Hodges, Magnus Nyström, and Nick Harper and the chairs John Bradley and Leif Johansson for getting this done!

I likewise look forward to timely completion of related Token Binding specifications, which enable use of Token Binding with TLS 1.3, with OAuth 2.0, and with OpenID Connect.

September 29, 2018
Vote to update OpenID IPR Policy document now

A quick reminder that the vote to approve updates to the OpenID IPR Policy document is under way. If you’re an OpenID Foundation member, I encourage you to vote to approve the updates now at https://openid.net/foundation/members/polls/151.

As described in the OpenID Foundation post Proposed Revisions to OpenID IPR Policy Document, the updates enable the use of electronic signatures on contributor agreements instead of requiring on-paper signatures and simplify the descriptions of working group contributors, all without changing the IPR rights of any party.

The foundation needs 30% of the membership to vote in order for the changes to take effect, so please take a moment and vote now. Thanks!

August 29, 2018
The role of standards in accelerating innovation

Use of standards accelerates innovation. Oxymoron? Not at all!

Read Alex Simons’ description of how using robust standards like JWT is accelerating innovation when prototyping decentralized identity systems.

August 21, 2018
It’s Time for Token Binding

IETF logoCheck out Alex Simons’ and Pamela Dingle’s blog post “It’s Time for Token Binding”. Now that the IETF Token Binding specs are essentially done, it’s time to ask those who write TLS software you use to ship Token Binding support soon, if they haven’t already done so.

Token Binding in a nutshell: When an attacker steals a bearer token sent over TLS, he can use it; when an attacker steals a Token Bound token, it’s useless to him.

August 7, 2018
Second W3C Web Authentication (WebAuthn) Candidate Recommendation (CR)

W3C logoW3C has published a second W3C Candidate Recommendation (CR) for the Web Authentication (WebAuthn) specification. The second Candidate Recommendation is at https://www.w3.org/TR/2018/CR-webauthn-20180807/.

This draft contains a few refinements since the first candidate recommendation but no substantial changes. The new CR was needed to fulfill the W3C’s IPR protection requirements. The few changes were based, in part, upon things learned during multiple interop events for WebAuthn implementations. The working group plans to base coming the Proposed Recommendation on this draft.

July 20, 2018
IETF Token Binding specifications sent to the RFC Editor

IETF logoThe three core IETF Token Binding Specifications have been sent to the RFC Editor, which means that their normative content will no longer change. It’s time to move implementations to version 1.0! The abstract of the Token Binding over HTTP specification describes Token Binding as:

This document describes a collection of mechanisms that allow HTTP servers to cryptographically bind security tokens (such as cookies and OAuth tokens) to TLS connections.

We describe both first-party and federated scenarios. In a first-party scenario, an HTTP server is able to cryptographically bind the security tokens it issues to a client, and which the client subsequently returns to the server, to the TLS connection between the client and server. Such bound security tokens are protected from misuse since the server can generally detect if they are replayed inappropriately, e.g., over other TLS connections.

Federated token bindings, on the other hand, allow servers to cryptographically bind security tokens to a TLS connection that the client has with a different server than the one issuing the token.

This document is a companion document to The Token Binding Protocol.

This is a huge step towards cryptographically protecting data structures that had previously been bearer tokens, such as browser cookies, refresh tokens, access tokens, ID Tokens, etc., so that they can only be used by the intended party. Congratulations especially to the editors Andrei Popov, Dirk Balfanz, and Jeff Hodges, as well as the chairs John Bradley and Leif Johansson for getting us to this important milestone!

The three specifications are:

July 10, 2018
Security Event Token (SET) is now RFC 8417

IETF logoThe Security Event Token (SET) specification is now RFC 8417. The abstract describes the specification as:

This specification defines the Security Event Token (SET) data structure. A SET describes statements of fact from the perspective of an issuer about a subject. These statements of fact represent an event that occurred directly to or about a security subject, for example, a statement about the issuance or revocation of a token on behalf of a subject. This specification is intended to enable representing security- and identity-related events. A SET is a JSON Web Token (JWT), which can be optionally signed and/or encrypted. SETs can be distributed via protocols such as HTTP.

SETs are already in use to represent OpenID Connect Back-Channel Logout tokens and to represent Risk and Incident Sharing and Coordination (RISC) events. Thanks to my co-editors, members of the IETF ID Events mailing list, and members of the IETF Security Events working group for making this standard a reality!

July 1, 2018
OpenID Connect Token Binding Specification Updated

OpenID logoThe OpenID Connect Token Bound Authentication specification has been updated in response to developer feedback and in anticipation of the IETF Token Binding specifications finishing. Changes were:

  • Adjusted the metadata to indicate supported confirmation method hash algorithms for Token Binding IDs in ID Tokens.
  • Updated references for draft-ietf-tokbind-protocol to -19, draft-ietf-tokbind-https to -17, draft-ietf-oauth-token-binding to -07, and draft-ietf-oauth-discovery to -10.
  • Explicitly stated that the base64url encoding of the “tbh” value doesn’t include any trailing pad characters, line breaks, whitespace, etc.

(The representation of the Token Binding ID in the ID Token is unchanged.)

Thanks to Brian Campbell for doing the editing for this draft.

The specification is available at:

June 29, 2018
Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for CBOR Web Tokens (CWTs) spec addressing WGLC comments

IETF logoA new draft of the Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for CBOR Web Tokens (CWTs) specification has been published that addresses the Working Group Last Call (WGLC) comments received. Changes were:

Thanks to Samuel Erdtman and Hannes Tschofenig for contributing to the editing for this version and to Jim Schaad and Roman Danyliw for their review comments.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

June 28, 2018
OAuth 2.0 Authorization Server Metadata is now RFC 8414

OAuth logoThe OAuth 2.0 Authorization Server Metadata specification is now RFC 8414. The abstract describes the specification as:

This specification defines a metadata format that an OAuth 2.0 client can use to obtain the information needed to interact with an OAuth 2.0 authorization server, including its endpoint locations and authorization server capabilities.

The specification defines a JSON metadata representation for OAuth 2.0 authorization servers that is compatible with OpenID Connect Discovery 1.0. This specification is a true instance of standardizing existing practice. OAuth 2.0 deployments have been using the OpenID Connect metadata format to describe their endpoints and capabilities for years. This RFC makes this existing practice a standard.

Having a standard OAuth metadata format makes it easier for OAuth clients to configure connections to OAuth authorization servers. See https://www.iana.org/assignments/oauth-parameters/oauth-parameters.xhtml#authorization-server-metadata for the initial set of registered metadata values.

Thanks to all of you who helped make this standard a reality!

June 24, 2018
OpenID Connect News, Overview, Certification, and Action Items at June 2018 Identiverse Conference

OpenID logoI gave the following presentation during the June 2018 Identiverse Conference:

News included:

Action items included:

June 1, 2018
OAuth Device Flow spec addressing initial IETF last call feedback

OAuth logoThe OAuth Device Flow specification (full name “OAuth 2.0 Device Flow for Browserless and Input Constrained Devices”) has been updated to address comments received to date from the IETF last call. Thanks to William Denniss for taking the pen for this set of revisions. Changes were:

  • Added a missing definition of access_denied for use on the token endpoint.
  • Corrected text documenting which error code should be returned for expired tokens (it’s “expired_token”, not “invalid_grant”).
  • Corrected section reference to RFC 8252 (the section numbers had changed after the initial reference was made).
  • Fixed line length of one diagram (was causing xml2rfc warnings).
  • Added line breaks so the URN grant_type is presented on an unbroken line.
  • Typos fixed and other stylistic improvements.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

May 22, 2018
Deprecating the Password: A Progress Report

EIC logoI gave the well-received presentation “Deprecating the Password: A Progress Report” at the May 2018 European Identity and Cloud Conference (EIC). The presentation is available as PowerPoint (large because of the embedded video) and PDF.

The presentation abstract is:

If you ask almost anyone you meet if they have too many passwords, if they have trouble remembering their passwords, or if they are reusing the same passwords in multiple places, you’re likely to get an ear-full. People intuitively know that there has to be something better than having to have a password for everything they do!

The good news is that passwords are being used for fewer and fewer identity interactions. They are being replaced by biometrics (sign into your phone, your PC, or your bank with your face or fingerprint), local PINs (prove it’s you to your device and it does the rest), and federation (sign in with Facebook, Google, Microsoft, etc.). This presentation will examine the progress we’ve made, the standards and devices making it possible, and stimulate a discussion on what’s left to do to deprecate the password.

Key takeaways are:

    There are good alternatives to passwords in use today.
    Passwords are being used for fewer and fewer identity interactions.
    Devices are increasingly enabling authentication without passwords.
    New standards are enabling cross-platform password-less authentication.
    The days of having to use passwords for everything you do are numbered!

Thanks to Steve Hutchinson for this photo from the presentation and his vote of confidence.
Mike presenting at EIC 2018

Extra: See all the Microsoft presentations at EIC 2018, including videos of Joy Chik’s and Kim Cameron’s keynotes.

May 18, 2018
Ongoing recognition for the impact of OpenID Connect and OpenID Certification

OpenID logoThis week the OpenID Certification program won the 2018 European Identity and Cloud Award for Best Innovation at the European Identity and Cloud (EIC) conference. This is actually the second award for the OpenID Certification program this year and only the latest in a series awards recognizing the value and impact of OpenID Connect and certification of its implementations.

On this occasion, I thought I’d take the opportunity to recount the awards that OpenID Connect, the specifications underlying it, and its certification program have been granted. To date, they are:

My sincere thanks to Kuppinger Cole for their early recognition of potential of OpenID Connect, for calling out the value of OAuth 2.0, JWT, and JOSE, and to both IDnext and Kuppinger Cole for recognizing the importance and global impact of OpenID Certification!

Speaking of impact, I can’t help but end this note with data that Alex Simons presented at EIC this week. 92% of Azure Active Directory (AAD) authentications use OpenID Connect. There’s no better demonstration of impact than widespread deployment. Very cool!

Alex Simons 92% OpenID Connect

May 17, 2018
OpenID Certification wins 2018 European Identity and Cloud Award

OpenID Certified logoThe OpenID Certification program won the 2018 European Identity and Cloud Award for Best Innovation at the European Identity and Cloud (EIC) conference. See the award announcement by the OpenID Foundation for more details. This is actually the second award this year for the OpenID Certification program.

The award recognizes that the OpenID Certification program has become a significant global force promoting high-quality, secure, interoperable OpenID Connect implementations. Its innovative use of self-certification using freely available online tools has made testing the quality of OpenID Connect implementations simple, effective, and commonplace. Thanks to Kuppinger Cole for recognizing the impact of the OpenID Certification program!

EIC 2018 Award EIC 2018 Award Certificate EIC 2018 Award John Bradley, Mike Jones, Nat Sakimura EIC 2018 Award Don Thibeau EIC 2018 Award State EIC 2018 Award Don Thibeau, George Fletcher, Mike Jones, John Bradley, Nat Sakimura

May 16, 2018
OpenID Presentations at May 2018 European Identity and Cloud Conference (EIC)

OpenID logoI gave the following presentations during the OpenID workshop at the May 2018 European Identity and Cloud Conference (EIC):

May 9, 2018
Security Event Token (SET) updates addressing IESG feedback

IETF logoWe’ve updated the Security Event Token (SET) specification to address feedback received from Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) members. We’ve actually published three versions in quick succession in preparation for tomorrow’s evaluation by the IESG.

Draft -11 incorporated feedback from Security Area Director Eric Rescorla and IANA Designated Expert Ned Freed. Changes were:

  • Clarified “iss” claim language about the SET issuer versus the security subject issuer.
  • Changed a “SHOULD” to a “MUST” in the “sub” claim description to be consistent with the Requirements for SET Profiles section.
  • Described the use of the “events” claim to prevent attackers from passing off other kinds of JWTs as SETs.
  • Stated that SETs are to be signed by an issuer that is trusted to do so for the use case.
  • Added quotes in the phrase ‘”token revoked” SET to be issued’ in the Timing Issues section.
  • Added section number references to the media type and media type suffix registrations.
  • Changed the encodings of the media type and media type suffix registrations to binary (since no line breaks are allowed).
  • Replaced a “TBD” in the media type registration with descriptive text.
  • Acknowledged Eric Rescorla and Ned Freed.

Draft -12 incorporated feedback from Adam Roach, Alexey Melnikov, and Alissa Cooper. Changes were:

  • Removed unused references to RFC 7009 and RFC 7517.
  • Corrected name of RFC 8055 in Section 4.3 to “Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Via Header Field Parameter to Indicate Received Realm”.
  • Added normative references for base64url and UTF-8.
  • Section 5.1 – Changed SHOULD to MUST in “personally identifiable information MUST be encrypted using JWE [RFC7516] or …”.
  • Section 5.2 – Changed “MUST consider” to “must consider”.
  • Acknowledged Adam Roach, Alexey Melnikov, and Alissa Cooper.

Draft -13 incorporated feedback from Martin Vigoureaux. Changes were:

  • Changed a non-normative “MAY” to “may” in Section 1.1.
  • Acknowledged Martin Vigoureux and Mirja Kühlewind.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

May 9, 2018
JWT BCP updates addressing WGLC feedback

OAuth logoThe JSON Web Token (JWT) Best Current Practices (BCP) specification has been updated to address the Working Group Last Call (WGLC) feedback received. Thanks to Neil Madden for his numerous comments and to Carsten Bormann and Brian Campbell for their reviews.

Assuming the chairs concur, the next step should be to request publication.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

May 8, 2018
“CBOR Web Token (CWT)” is now RFC 8392

IETF logoThe “CBOR Web Token (CWT)” specification is now RFC 8392 – an IETF standard. The abstract for the specification is:

CBOR Web Token (CWT) is a compact means of representing claims to be transferred between two parties. The claims in a CWT are encoded in the Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR) and CBOR Object Signing and Encryption (COSE) is used for added application-layer security protection. A claim is a piece of information asserted about a subject and is represented as a name/value pair consisting of a claim name and a claim value. CWT is derived from JSON Web Token (JWT) but uses CBOR rather than JSON.

Special thanks to Erik Wahlström for starting this work and to Samuel Erdtman for doing most of the heavy lifting involved in creating correct and useful CBOR and COSE examples.

Next up – finishing “Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for CBOR Web Tokens (CWTs)”, which provides the CWT equivalent of “Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for JSON Web Tokens (JWTs)” [RFC 7800].

May 7, 2018
On our journey to deprecate the password: Public Implementation Draft of FIDO2 Client to Authenticator Protocol (CTAP) specification

FIDO logoI’m pleased to report that a public Implementation Draft of the FIDO2 Client to Authenticator Protocol (CTAP) specification has been published. This specification enables FIDO2 clients, such as browsers implementing the W3C Web Authentication (WebAuthn) specification, to perform authentication using pairwise public/private key pairs securely held by authenticators speaking the CTAP protocol (rather than passwords). Use of three transports for communicating with authenticators is specified in the CTAP specification: USB Human Interface Device (USB HID), Near Field Communication (NFC), and Bluetooth Smart/Bluetooth Low Energy Technology (BLE).

This specification was developed in parallel with WebAuthn, including having a number of common authors. This CTAP version is aligned with the WebAuthn Candidate Recommendation (CR) version.

The CTAP Implementation Draft is available at:

Congratulations to the members of the FIDO2 working group for reaching this important milestone. This is a major step in our journey to deprecate the password!

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