Archive for the 'W3C' Category

August 14, 2020
COSE and JOSE Registrations for Web Authentication (WebAuthn) Algorithms is now RFC 8812

IETF logoThe W3C Web Authentication (WebAuthn) working group and the IETF COSE working group created “CBOR Object Signing and Encryption (COSE) and JSON Object Signing and Encryption (JOSE) Registrations for Web Authentication (WebAuthn) Algorithms” to make some algorithms and elliptic curves used by WebAuthn and FIDO2 officially part of COSE and JOSE. The RSA algorithms are used by TPMs. The “secp256k1” curve registered (a.k.a., the Bitcoin curve) is also used in some decentralized identity applications. The completed specification has now been published as RFC 8812.

As described when the registrations recently occurred, the algorithms registered are:

  • RS256 – RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 using SHA-256 – new for COSE
  • RS384 – RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 using SHA-384 – new for COSE
  • RS512 – RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 using SHA-512 – new for COSE
  • RS1 – RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 using SHA-1 – new for COSE
  • ES256K – ECDSA using secp256k1 curve and SHA-256 – new for COSE and JOSE

The elliptic curves registered are:

  • secp256k1 – SECG secp256k1 curve – new for COSE and JOSE

See them in the IANA COSE Registry and the IANA JOSE Registry.

August 11, 2020
Registries for Web Authentication (WebAuthn) is now RFC 8809

IETF logoThe W3C Web Authentication (WebAuthn) working group created the IETF specification “Registries for Web Authentication (WebAuthn)” to establish registries needed for WebAuthn extension points. These IANA registries were populated in June 2020. Now the specification creating them has been published as RFC 8809.

Thanks again to Kathleen Moriarty and Benjamin Kaduk for their Area Director sponsorships of the specification and to Jeff Hodges and Giridhar Mandyam for their work on it.

June 19, 2020
Registrations for all WebAuthn algorithm identifiers completed

IETF logoWe wrote the specification COSE and JOSE Registrations for WebAuthn Algorithms to create and register COSE and JOSE algorithm and elliptic curve identifiers for algorithms used by WebAuthn and CTAP2 that didn’t yet exist. I’m happy to report that all these registrations are now complete and the specification has progressed to the RFC Editor. Thanks to the COSE working group for supporting this work.

Search for WebAuthn in the IANA COSE Registry and the IANA JOSE Registry to see the registrations. These are now stable and can be used by applications, both in the WebAuthn/FIDO2 space and for other application areas, including decentralized identity (where the secp256k1 “bitcoin curve” is in widespread use).

The algorithms registered are:

  • RS256 – RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 using SHA-256 – new for COSE
  • RS384 – RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 using SHA-384 – new for COSE
  • RS512 – RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 using SHA-512 – new for COSE
  • RS1 – RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 using SHA-1 – new for COSE
  • ES256K – ECDSA using secp256k1 curve and SHA-256 – new for COSE and JOSE

The elliptic curves registered are:

  • secp256k1 – SECG secp256k1 curve – new for COSE and JOSE
May 31, 2020
secp256k1 curve and algorithm registered for JOSE use

IETF logoIANA has registered the “secp256k1” elliptic curve in the JSON Web Key Elliptic Curve registry and the corresponding “ES256K” signing algorithm in the JSON Web Signature and Encryption Algorithms registry. This curve is widely used among blockchain and decentralized identity implementations.

The registrations were specified by the COSE and JOSE Registrations for WebAuthn Algorithms specification, which was created by the W3C Web Authentication working group and the IETF COSE working group because WebAuthn also allows the use of secp256k1. This specification is now in IETF Last Call. The corresponding COSE registrations will occur after the specification becomes an RFC.

May 14, 2020
Nearing completion on two WebAuthn-related specs at the IETF

IETF logoThis week we published updates to two IETF specifications that support the WebAuthn/FIDO2 ecosystem, as well as other uses, such as decentralized identity.

One is COSE and JOSE Registrations for WebAuthn Algorithms. It registers algorithm and elliptic curve identifiers for algorithms used by WebAuthn and FIDO2. The “secp256k1” curve being registered is also used for signing in some decentralized identity applications. The specification has completed the Area Director review and has been submitted to the IESG for publication.

The other is Registries for Web Authentication (WebAuthn). This creates IANA registries enabling multiple kinds of extensions to W3C Web Authentication (WebAuthn) implementations to be registered. This specification has completed IETF last call and is scheduled for review by the IESG.

Thanks to the COSE working group for their adoption of the algorithms specification, and to Ivaylo Petrov and Murray Kucherawy for their reviews of it. Thanks to Kathleen Moriarty and Benjamin Kaduk for their Area Director sponsorships of the registries specification and to Jeff Hodges for being primary author of it.

The specifications are available at:

January 27, 2020
COSE and JOSE Registrations for WebAuthn Algorithms spec adding explanatory comments on design decisions

IETF logoThe “COSE and JOSE Registrations for WebAuthn Algorithms” specification has been updated to add explanatory comments on design decisions made that were discussed on the mailing list that Jim Schaad requested be added to the draft.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

October 24, 2019
COSE and JOSE Registrations for WebAuthn Algorithms spec addressing WGLC comments

IETF logoThe “COSE and JOSE Registrations for WebAuthn Algorithms” specification has been updated to address working group last call (WGLC) feedback received. Thanks to J.C. Jones, Kevin Jacobs, Jim Schaad, Neil Madden, and Benjamin Kaduk for their useful reviews.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

October 10, 2019
Using OpenID Connect Self-Issued to Achieve DID Auth

OpenID logoMy co-authors and I recently competed the paper Using OpenID Connect Self-Issued to Achieve DID Auth, which was created as a result of discussions at the eighth Rebooting the Web of Trust workshop. The paper’s abstract is:

Proving control of a DID requires proving ownership of a private key corresponding to a public key for the DID. Of course, this could be done with a new DID-specific protocol. However, standard protocols for proving ownership of a public/private key pair already exist.

This paper describes how to reuse the Self-Issued OpenID Connect (SIOP) specification and related protocol messages to prove control of a DID. It describes both why and how to do this. Related topics, such as release of claims, are also touched upon.

Several people came to the workshop wanting to explore how to use the OpenID Connect Self-Issued OpenID Provider functionality to prove control of a Decentralized Identifier (DID), including myself. The paper describes the approach being taken by a number of groups using DIDs, including Microsoft. The paper’s publication is timely, as the W3C DID Working Group has just formed to create a DID standard. Microsoft is an active member of the working group.

Special thanks to Dmitri Zagidulin for getting the paper over the finish line!

July 8, 2019
Refinements to COSE and JOSE Registrations for WebAuthn Algorithms

IETF logoThe “COSE and JOSE Registrations for WebAuthn Algorithms” specification has been updated to address feedback received since working group adoption. The one breaking change is changing the secp256k1 curve identifier for JOSE from “P-256K” to “secp256k1”, for reasons described by John Mattsson. The draft now also specifies that the SHA-256 hash function is to be used with “ES256K” signatures – a clarification due to Matt Palmer.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

May 22, 2019
W3C WebAuthn and FIDO 2.0 win 2019 European Identity and Cloud Award

EIC logoThe W3C WebAuthn and FIDO 2.0 standards have won the 2019 European Identity and Cloud Award for Best Future Technology / Standard Project at the European Identity and Cloud (EIC) conference. This award recognizes the significance of these recently-approved standards, which enable password-less sign-in with platform authenticators, mobile devices, and security keys. They provide a huge step forward for online security, privacy, and convenience.

Thanks to Kuppinger Cole for recognizing the importance and impact of these important new standards!

EIC 2019 Award EIC 2019 Award Certificate

March 27, 2019
Working group adoption of “COSE and JOSE Registrations for WebAuthn Algorithms”

IETF logoI’m pleased to report that the IETF COSE Working Group has adopted the specification “COSE and JOSE Registrations for WebAuthn Algorithms”. An abstract of what it does is:

This specification defines how to use several algorithms with COSE [RFC8152] that are used by implementations of the W3C Web Authentication (WebAuthn) [WebAuthn] and FIDO2 Client to Authenticator Protocol (CTAP) [CTAP] specifications. These algorithms are to be registered in the IANA “COSE Algorithms” registry [IANA.COSE.Algorithms] and also in the IANA “JSON Web Signature and Encryption Algorithms” registry [IANA.JOSE.Algorithms], when not already registered there.

The algorithms registered are RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 with four different hash functions and signing with the secp256k1 curve. Note that there was consensus in the working group meeting not to work on registrations for the Elliptic Curve Direct Anonymous Attestation (ECDAA) algorithms “ED256” and “ED512”, both because of issues that have been raised with them and because they are not in widespread use.

The -01 version will address the review comments received on the mailing list from Jim Schaad and John Mattsson.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

March 11, 2019
Additional COSE algorithms used by W3C Web Authentication (WebAuthn)

IETF logoThe new COSE working group charter includes this deliverable:

4. Define the algorithms needed for W3C Web Authentication for COSE using draft-jones-webauthn-cose-algorithms and draft-jones-webauthn-secp256k1 as a starting point (Informational).

I have written draft-jones-cose-additional-algorithms, which combines these starting points into a single draft, which registers these algorithms in the IANA COSE registries. When not already registered, this draft also registers these algorithms for use with JOSE in the IANA JOSE registries. I believe that this draft is ready for working group adoption to satisfy this deliverable.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

March 9, 2019
FIDO2 Client to Authenticator Protocol (CTAP) standard published

FIDO logoI’m thrilled to report that the FIDO2 Client to Authenticator Protocol (CTAP) is now a published FIDO Alliance standard! Together with the now-standard Web Authentication (WebAuthn) specification, this completes standardization of the APIs and protocols needed to enable password-less logins on the Web, on PCs, and on and mobile devices. This is a huge step forward for online security, privacy, and convenience!

The FIDO2 CTAP standard is available in HTML and PDF versions at these locations:

March 4, 2019
The W3C Web Authentication (WebAuthn) specification is now a standard!

W3C logoI’m thrilled to report that the Web Authentication (WebAuthn) specification is now a W3C standard! See the W3C press release describing this major advance in Web security and convenience, which enables logging in without passwords. Alex Simons, Microsoft Vice President of Identity Program Management is quoted in the release, saying:

“Our work with W3C and FIDO Alliance, and contributions to FIDO2 standards have been a critical piece of Microsoft’s commitment to a world without passwords, which started in 2015. Today, Windows 10 with Microsoft Edge fully supports the WebAuthn standard and millions of users can log in to their Microsoft account without using a password.”

The release also describes commitments to the standard by Google, Mozilla, and Apple, among others. Thanks to all who worked on the standard and who built implementations as we developed the standard – ensuring that that the standard can be used for a broad set of use cases, including password-less sign-in with platform authenticators, mobile devices, and security keys.

January 17, 2019
W3C Web Authentication (WebAuthn) advances to Proposed Recommendation (PR)

W3C logoThe World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published a Proposed Recommendation (PR) for the Web Authentication (WebAuthn) specification, bringing WebAuthn one step closer to becoming a completed standard. The Proposed Recommendation is at https://www.w3.org/TR/2019/PR-webauthn-20190117/.

The PR contains only clarifications and editorial improvements to the second Candidate Recommendation (CR), with no substantial changes. The next step will be to publish a Recommendation – a W3C standard – based on the Proposed Recommendation.

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.

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 2, 2018
Additional RSA Algorithms for COSE Messages Registered by W3C WebAuthn

W3C logoThe WebAuthn working group has published the “COSE Algorithms for Web Authentication (WebAuthn)” specification, which registers COSE algorithm identifiers for RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 signature algorithms with SHA-2 and SHA-1 hash algorithms. RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 with SHA-256 is used by several kinds of authenticators. RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 with SHA-1, while deprecated, is used by some Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs). See https://www.iana.org/assignments/cose/cose.xhtml#algorithms for the actual IANA registrations.

Thanks to John Fontana, Jeff Hodges, Tony Nadalin, Jim Schaad, Göran Selander, Wendy Seltzer, Sean Turner, and Samuel Weiler for their roles in registering these algorithm identifiers.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

March 20, 2018
W3C Web Authentication (WebAuthn) specification has achieved Candidate Recommendation (CR) status

W3C logoThe W3C Web Authentication (WebAuthn) specification is now a W3C Candidate Recommendation (CR). See the specification at https://www.w3.org/TR/2018/CR-webauthn-20180320/ and my blog post announcing this result for the WebAuthn working group at https://www.w3.org/blog/webauthn/2018/03/20/candidate-recommendation/.

This milestone represents a huge step towards enabling logins to occur using privacy-preserving public/private key pairs securely held by authenticators, rather than passwords. Its contents have been informed by what we learned during several rounds of interop testing by multiple browser and authenticator vendors. The Web Authentication spec has also progressed in parallel with and been kept in sync with the FIDO2 Client To Authenticator Protocol (CTAP) specification, so that they work well together.

March 6, 2018
W3C Web Authentication (WebAuthn) specification almost a Candidate Recommendation (CR)

W3C logoThe eighth working draft of the W3C Web Authentication (WebAuthn) specification has been published. The WebAuthn working group plans to submit this draft for approval by the W3C Director (Tim Berners-Lee) to become a W3C Candidate Recommendation (CR), after a few days’ review by the working group.

This milestone represents a huge step towards enabling logins to occur using public/private key pairs securely held by authenticators, rather than passwords. Its contents have been informed by what we learned during several rounds of interop testing by multiple browser and authenticator vendors. The Web Authentication spec has also progressed in parallel with and been kept in sync with the FIDO 2 Client To Authenticator Protocol (CTAP) specification, so that they work well together.

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