Archive for the 'OpenID' Category

September 8, 2015
JSON Web Key (JWK) Thumbprint is now RFC 7638

IETF logoThe JSON Web Key (JWK) Thumbprint specification is now RFC 7638 – an IETF standard. The abstract describes the specification as follows:

This specification defines a method for computing a hash value over a JSON Web Key (JWK). It defines which fields in a JWK are used in the hash computation, the method of creating a canonical form for those fields, and how to convert the resulting Unicode string into a byte sequence to be hashed. The resulting hash value can be used for identifying or selecting the key represented by the JWK that is the subject of the thumbprint.

Thanks to James Manger, John Bradley, and Nat Sakimura, all of whom participated in security discussions that led to the creation of this specification. Thanks also to the JOSE working group members, chairs, area directors, and other IETF members who contributed to the specification.

A JWK Thumbprint is used as the “sub” (subject) claim value in OpenID Connect self-issued ID Tokens.

August 21, 2015
“amr” values “rba” and “sc”

OAuth logoAuthentication Method Reference Values draft -02 changed the identifier for risk-based authentication from “risk” to “rba”, by popular acclaim, and added the identifier “sc” (smart card).

The specification is available at:

An HTML formatted version is also available at:

August 13, 2015
“amr” Values spec updated

OAuth logoI’ve updated the Authentication Method Reference Values spec to incorporate feedback received from the OAuth working group. Changes were:

  • Added the values “mca” (multiple-channel authentication), “risk” (risk-based authentication), and “user” (user presence test).
  • Added citations in the definitions of Windows integrated authentication, knowledge-based authentication, risk-based authentication, multiple-factor authentication, one-time password, and proof-of-possession.
  • Alphabetized the values.
  • Added Tony Nadalin as an author and added acknowledgements.

The specification is available at:

An HTML formatted version is also available at:

July 22, 2015
Authentication Method Reference Values Specification

OAuth logoPhil Hunt and I have posted a new draft that defines some values used with the “amr” (Authentication Methods References) claim and establishes a registry for Authentication Method Reference values. These values include commonly used authentication methods like “pwd” (password) and “otp” (one time password). It also defines a parameter for requesting that specific authentication methods be used in the authentication.

The specification is available at:

An HTML formatted version is also available at:

July 21, 2015
Lots of great data about JWT and OpenID Connect adoption!

JWT logoCheck out the post Json Web Token (JWT) gets a logo, new website and more by Matias Woloski of Auth0. I particularly love the data in the “Numbers speak for themselves” section and the graph showing the number of searches for “JSON Web Token” crossing over the number of searches for “SAML Token”.

Also, be sure to check out, where you can interactively decode, verify, and generate JWTs. Very cool!

July 9, 2015
OAuth 2.0 Dynamic Client Registration Protocol is now RFC 7591

OAuth logoThe OAuth 2.0 Dynamic Client Registration Protocol specification is now RFC 7591 – an IETF standard. The abstract describes it as follows:

This specification defines mechanisms for dynamically registering OAuth 2.0 clients with authorization servers. Registration requests send a set of desired client metadata values to the authorization server. The resulting registration responses return a client identifier to use at the authorization server and the client metadata values registered for the client. The client can then use this registration information to communicate with the authorization server using the OAuth 2.0 protocol. This specification also defines a set of common client metadata fields and values for clients to use during registration.

This specification extracts the subset of the dynamic client registration functionality defined by OpenID Connect Dynamic Client Registration 1.0 that is applicable to any OAuth 2.0 deployment. It is intentionally completely compatible with the OpenID Connect registration spec, yet is also now usable as a basis for dynamic client registration by other OAuth 2.0 profiles.

My personal thanks to Justin Richer, John Bradley, Maciej Machulak, Phil Hunt, and Nat Sakimura for their work on this specification and its precursors. Thanks also to members of the OpenID Connect working group and members of the OAuth working group, as well as its chairs, area directors, and other IETF members who contributed to this specification.

April 30, 2015
Perspectives on the OpenID Connect Certification Launch

OpenID Certified logoMany of you were involved in the launch of the OpenID Foundation’s certification program for OpenID Connect Implementations. I believe that OpenID Certification is an important milestone on the road to widely-available interoperable digital identity. It increases the likelihood that OpenID Connect implementations by different parties will “just work” together.

A fair question is “why do we need certification when we already have interop testing?”. Indeed, as many of you know, I was highly involved in organizing five rounds of interop testing for OpenID Connect implementations while the specs were being developed. By all measures, these interop tests were highly effective, with participation by 20 different implementations, 195 members of the interop testing list, and over 1000 messages exchanged among interop participants. Importantly, things learned during interop testing were fed back into the specs, making them simpler, easier to understand, and better aligned with what developers actually need for their use cases. After improving the specs based on the interop, we’d iterate and hold another interop round. Why not stop there?

As I see it, certification adds to the value already provided by interop testing by establishing a set of minimum criteria that certified implementations have been demonstrated meet. In an interop test, by design, you can test the parts of the specs that you want and ignore the rest. Whereas certification raises the bar by defining a set of conformance profiles that certified implementations have been demonstrated to meet. That provides value to implementers by providing assurances that if their code sticks to using features covered by the conformance tests and uses certified implementations, their implementations will seamlessly work together.

The OpenID Foundation opted for self-certification, in which the party seeking certification does the testing, rather than third-party certification, in which a third party is paid to test the submitter’s implementation. Self-certification is simpler, quicker, and less expensive than third-party certification. Yet the results are nonetheless trustworthy, both because the testing logs are made available for public scrutiny as part of the certification application, and because the organization puts its reputation on the line by making a public declaration that its implementation conforms to the profile being certified to.

A successful certification program doesn’t just happen. At least a man-year of work went into creating the conformance profiles, designing and implementing the conformance testing software, testing and refining the tests, testing implementations and fixing bugs found, creating the legal framework enabling self-certification, and putting it all in place. The OpenID Connect Working Group conceived of a vision for a simple but comprehensive self-certification program, created six detailed conformance profiles based on the requirements in the specs, and quickly addressed issues as participants had questions and identified problems during early conformance testing. Roland Hedberg did heroes’ work creating the conformance testing software and responding quickly as issues were found. Don Thibeau shared the vision for “keeping simple things simple” and extended that mantra we employed when designing OpenID Connect to the legal and procedural frameworks enabling self-certification. And many thanks to the engineers from Google, ForgeRock, Ping Identity, NRI, PayPal, and Microsoft who rolled up their sleeves and tested both their code and the tests, improving both along the way. You’ve all made a lasting contribution to digital identity!

I think the comment I most appreciated about the certification program was made by Eve Maler, herself a veteran of valuable certification programs past, who said “You made it as simple as possible so every interaction added value”. High praise!

Here’s some additional perspectives on the OpenID Certification launch:

April 6, 2015
OpenID Connect working group presentation at April 6, 2015 OpenID workshop

OpenID logoI’ve posted the OpenID Connect working group presentation that I gave at the April 6, 2015 OpenID Workshop. It covers the current specification approval votes for the OpenID 2.0 to OpenID Connect Migration and OAuth 2.0 Form Post Response Mode specifications, the status of the session management/logout specifications, and OpenID Connect Certification. It’s available as PowerPoint and PDF.

March 6, 2015
HTTP-Based OpenID Connect Logout Spec

OpenID logoA new HTTP-Based OpenID Connect Logout spec has been published at This can coexist with or be used instead of the current HTML postMessage-based Session Management Spec.

The abstract for the new spec states:

This specification defines an HTTP-based logout mechanism that does not need an OpenID Provider iframe on Relying Party pages. Other protocols have used HTTP GETs to RP URLs that clear cookies and then return a hidden image or iframe content to achieve this. This specification does the same thing. It also reuses the RP-initiated logout functionality specified in Section 5 of OpenID Connect Session Management 1.0 (RP-Initiated Logout).

Special thanks to Brian Campbell, Torsten Lodderstedt, and John Bradley for their insights that led to some of the decisions in the spec.

February 5, 2015
2015 OpenID Foundation Board Election Results

OpenID logoThanks to those of you who re-elected me to a two-year term on the OpenID Foundation board of directors. As I wrote in my candidate statement, while OpenID is having notable successes, our work is far from done. Taking it to the next level will involve both additional specifications and strategic initiatives by the foundation. I plan to continue taking an active role in making open identity solutions even more successful, valuable, and ubiquitous. Thanks for placing your trust in me!

I’d like to also take this opportunity to congratulate my fellow board members who were also re-elected: Torsten Lodderstedt, John Bradley, and George Fletcher. See the OpenID Foundation’s announcement of the 2015 election results for more information.

November 21, 2014
A JSON-Based Identity Protocol Suite

quillMy article A JSON-Based Identity Protocol Suite has been published in the Fall 2014 issue of Information Standards Quarterly, with this citation page. This issue on Identity Management was guest-edited by Andy Dale. The article’s abstract is:

Achieving interoperable digital identity systems requires agreement on data representations and protocols among the participants. While there are several suites of successful interoperable identity data representations and protocols, including Kerberos, X.509, SAML 2.0, WS-*, and OpenID 2.0, they have used data representations that have limited or no support in browsers, mobile devices, and modern Web development environments, such as ASN.1, XML, or custom data representations. A new set of open digital identity standards have emerged that utilize JSON data representations and simple REST-based communication patterns. These protocols and data formats are intentionally designed to be easy to use in browsers, mobile devices, and modern Web development environments, which typically include native JSON support. This paper surveys a number of these open JSON-based digital identity protocols and discusses how they are being used to provide practical interoperable digital identity solutions.

This article is actually a follow-on progress report to my April 2011 position paper The Emerging JSON-Based Identity Protocol Suite. While standards can seem to progress slowly at times, comparing the two makes clear just how much has been accomplished in this time and shows that what was a prediction in 2011 is now a reality in widespread use.

September 10, 2014
General Availability of Microsoft OpenID Connect Identity Provider

Microsoft has announced that the Azure Active Directory OpenID Connect Identity Provider has reached general availability. Read about it in Alex Simons’ release announcement. The OpenID Provider supports discovery of the provider configuration information as well as session management (logout). The team participated in public OpenID Connect interop testing prior to the release. Thanks to all of you who performed interop testing with us.

August 20, 2014
Microsoft JWT and OpenID Connect RP libraries updated

This morning Microsoft released updated versions of its JSON Web Token (JWT) library and its OpenID Connect RP library as part of today’s Katana project release. See the Microsoft.Owin.Security.Jwt and Microsoft.Owin.Security.OpenIdConnect packages in the Katana project’s package list. These are .NET 4.5 code under an Apache 2.0 license.

For more background on Katana, you can see this post on Katana design principles and this post on using claims in Web applications. For more on the JWT code, see this post on the previous JWT handler release.

Thanks to Brian Campbell of Ping Identity for performing OpenID Connect interop testing with us prior to the release.

March 20, 2014
Growing list of OpenID Connect libraries available

OpenID logoAs described in today’s post, a growing list of OpenID Connect and JWT/JOSE libraries are available. Check them out at

February 26, 2014
OpenID Connect Specifications are Final!

OpenID logoThe OpenID Connect Core, OpenID Connect Discovery, OpenID Connect Dynamic Registration, and OAuth 2.0 Multiple Response Types specifications are now final! These are the result of almost four years of intensive work, both by specification writers including myself, and importantly, by developers who built, deployed, and interop tested these specifications throughout their development, significantly improving the quality of both the specs and their implementations as a result.

Throughout the development of OpenID Connect, we applied the design philosophy “keep simple things simple”. While being simple, OpenID Connect is also flexible enough to enable more complex things to be done, when necessary, such as encrypting claims, but this flexibility doesn’t come at the cost of keeping simple things simple. Its simplicity is intended to make it much easier for deployers to adopt than previous identity protocols. For instance, it uses straightforward JSON/REST data structures and messages, rather than XML/SOAP or ASN.1.

I want to take this opportunity to thank several key individuals without whose enthusiastic participation and expertise OpenID Connect wouldn’t have come into being. Nat Sakimura and John Bradley were there every step of the way, both motivating the features included and providing their insights into how to make the result both highly secure and very usable. Breno de Medeiros and Chuck Mortimore were also key contributors, bringing their practical insights informed by their implementation and deployment experiences throughout the process. I want to acknowledge Don Thibeau’s leadership, foresight, wisdom, and perseverance in leading the OpenID Foundation throughout this effort, bringing us to the point where today’s completed specifications are a reality. Numerous people at Microsoft deserve credit for believing in and supporting my work on OpenID Connect. And finally, I’d like to thank all the developers who built OpenID Connect code, told us what they liked and didn’t, and verified that what was specified would actually work well for them in practice.

Of course, final specifications are really just the beginning of the next journey. I look forward to seeing how people will use them to provide the Internet’s missing identity layer, making people’s online experiences, both on the Web and on their devices, easier, safer, and more satisfying!

February 11, 2014
Vote to Approve Final OpenID Connect Specifications Under Way

OpenID logoThe vote to approve final OpenID Connect Core, OpenID Connect Discovery, OpenID Connect Dynamic Registration, and OAuth 2.0 Multiple Response Types specifications is now under way, as described at The OpenID Connect Session Management and OAuth 2.0 Form Post Response Mode specifications are also being approved as Implementer’s Drafts. Voting closes on Tuesday, February 25, 2014.

Please vote now!

February 6, 2014
Congratulations to Torsten Lodderstedt on his election to the OpenID Board

OpenID logoMy congratulations to Torsten Lodderstedt on his election to the OpenID Board on behalf of Deutsche Telekom. And my thanks to Lasse Andresen of ForgeRock and Chuck Mortimore of Salesforce for also being willing to serve. I look forward to serving on the board with Torsten and agree with Chuck’s comment that any of these candidates would do a fine job!

December 20, 2013
Public review of proposed Final OpenID Connect Specifications has begun

OpenID logoI’m thrilled that OpenID Connect is significantly closer to being done today. Proposed final specifications were published yesterday and the 60 day public review period, which leads up a membership vote to approve the specifications, began today. Unless recall-class issues are found during the review, this means we’ll have final OpenID Connect specifications on Tuesday, February 25, 2014!

My sincere thanks to all of you who so generously shared your vision, expertise, judgment, and time to get us to this point – both those of you who worked on the specs and those who implemented and deployed them and tested your code with one another. I consider myself privileged to have done this work with you and look forward to what’s to come!

December 19, 2013
Fourth and possibly last Release Candidates for final OpenID Connect specifications and Notice of 24 hour review period

OpenID logoThe fourth and possibly last set of release candidates for final OpenID Connect specifications is now available. Per the decision on today’s working group call, this message starts a 24 hour final working group review period before starting the 60 day public review period. Unless significant issues are raised during the 24 hour review period, we will announce that these specifications are being proposed as Final Specifications by the working group.

The release candidates for Final Specification status are:

Accompanying release candidates for Implementer’s Draft status are:

Accompanying Implementer’s Guides are:

December 18, 2013
Third Release Candidates for final OpenID Connect specifications

OpenID logoThe third set of release candidates for final OpenID Connect specifications is now available. The changes since the second release candidates have mostly been to incorporate review comments on the Discovery, Dynamic Registration, and Multiple Response Types specifications. All known review comments have now been applied to the specifications.

The release candidates for Final Specification status are:

Accompanying release candidates for Implementer’s Draft status are:

Accompanying Implementer’s Guides are:

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