Archive for the 'Federation' Category

March 27, 2013
Third Release Candidates for OpenID Connect Implementer’s Drafts

OpenID logoA third set of Release Candidates for the pending OpenID Connect Implementer’s Drafts have been released. Like the first set, the second set of Release Candidates, which were published earlier this month, also received thorough review, resulting in a smaller set of additional refinements. The changes primarily made some the claim definitions more precise and provided more guidance on support for multiple languages and scripts.

Were it not for a set of pending changes about to be made to the JSON Object Signing and Encryption (JOSE) specifications, this set of specifications would likely actually be the Implementer’s Drafts. However, the OpenID Connect working group made the decision to have those (non-breaking) JOSE changes be applied before we declare that the Implementer’s Drafts are done. Expect announcements about both the JOSE updates and the OpenID Connect Implementer’s Drafts soon.

The new specifications are:

See the History entries in the specs for more details on the changes made.

Thanks again to all who reviewed and implemented the recent drafts!

March 15, 2013
The Emerging JSON/REST-Based Identity Protocol Suite

IETF logo Last week at the Japan Identity and Cloud Symposium I gave a presentation on this topic: A new set of simple, open identity protocols is emerging that utilize JSON data representations and REST-based communication patterns, including OAuth, JSON Web Token (JWT), JSON Object Signing and Encryption (JOSE), and WebFinger. I’ve posted PowerPoint and PDF versions of the presentation.

Thanks again to the organizers of JICS 2013 for a great event!

March 6, 2013
Second Release Candidates for OpenID Connect Implementer’s Drafts

OpenID logoI’m pleased to announce that a second set of Release Candidates for the upcoming OpenID Connect Implementer’s Drafts have been released. The first set of Release Candidates received thorough review, resulting in quite a bit of detailed feedback. The current specs incorporate the feedback received, making them simpler, more consistent, and easier to understand.

Please review these this week – especially if you had submitted feedback. The working group plans to decide whether we’re ready to declare Implementer’s Drafts during the OpenID Meeting before IETF 86 on Sunday.

The new specifications are:

See the History entries in the specs for details on the changes made.

Thanks again to all who did so much to get us to this point, including the spec writers, working group members, and especially the implementers!

February 20, 2013
An update on our war against account hijackers

I recommend reading Google’s post An update on our war against account hijackers. It describes the kinds of measures taken by professionally-run Identity Providers to defend against account takeover.

A message not stated but implied is that consumers and Web sites are far better off depending upon identities provided by organizations with the resources and dedication to successfully fight takeover attempts. Sites with their own username/password login systems without these defenses are vulnerable, and would be better off using federated identities from professionally-run Identity Providers.

January 23, 2013
Release Candidates for OpenID Connect Implementer’s Drafts

OpenID logoI’m pleased to announce that release candidate versions of the soon-to-come OpenID Connect Implementer’s Drafts have been released. All the anticipated breaking changes to the protocol are now in place, including switching Discovery over from using Simple Web Discovery to WebFinger and aligning Registration with the OAuth Dynamic Client Registration draft. While several names changed for consistency reasons, the changes to Discovery and Registration were the only architectural changes.

Please thoroughly review these drafts this week and report any issues that you believe need to be addressed before we release the Implementer’s Draft versions.

Normative changes since the December 27th, 2012 release were:

  • Use WebFinger for OpenID Provider discovery instead of Simple Web Discovery. This also means that account identifiers using e-mail address syntax are prefixed by the acct: scheme when passed to WebFinger.
  • Aligned Registration parameters with OAuth Dynamic Registration draft.
  • Added Implementation Considerations sections to all specifications, which specify which features are mandatory to implement.
  • Removed requirement that the “c_hash” and “at_hash” be computed using SHA-2 algorithms (for crypto agility reasons).
  • Refined aspects of using encrypted ID Tokens.
  • Finished specifying elements of key management for self-issued OPs.
  • Added “display_values_supported”, “claim_types_supported”, “claims_supported”, and “service_documentation” discovery elements.
  • Defined REQUIRED, RECOMMENDED, and OPTIONAL discovery elements.
  • Refined Session Management specification, including descriptions of OP and RP iframe behaviors.
  • Deleted “javascript_origin_uris”, which is no longer present in Session Management.
  • Added new “session_state” parameter to the authorization response for Session Management.
  • Added new “post_logout_redirect_url” registration parameter for Session Management.

Also, renamed these identifiers for naming consistency reasons:

  • user_jwk -> sub_jwk (used in self-issued ID Tokens)
  • token_endpoint_auth_type -> token_endpoint_auth_method
  • token_endpoint_auth_types_supported -> token_endpoint_auth_methods_supported
  • check_session_iframe_url -> check_session_iframe
  • end_session_endpoint_url -> end_session_endpoint
  • type -> operation (in Registration)
  • associate -> register (in Registration)
  • application_name -> client_name
  • check_session_endpoint -> check_session_iframe

See the History entries in the specifications for more details.

The new specification versions are at:

Thanks to all who did so much to get us to this point, including the spec writers, working group members, and implementers!

January 2, 2013
OAuth 2.0 and Sign-In

OAuth logoI highly recommend a piece that my friend Vittorio Bertocci wrote on the relationship between OAuth 2.0 and sign-in/federation protocols. While OAuth 2.0 can be used to sign in users and the term “OAuth” is often bandied about in identity contexts, as he points out, there’s a lot of details to fill in to make that possible. That’s because OAuth 2.0 is a resource authorization protocol – not an authentication protocol.

Read his post for a better understanding of how OAuth 2.0 relates to sign-in protocols, including a useful discussion of how OpenID Connect fills in the gaps to enable people to sign in with OAuth 2.0 in an interoperable manner.

December 23, 2011
OpenID Connect Implementer’s Draft Review

OpenID logoOpenID Connect is a simple identity layer built on top of OAuth 2.0. It enables clients to verify the identity of and to obtain basic profile information about an end-user. It uses RESTful protocols and JSON data structures to provide a low barrier to entry. The design philosophy behind OpenID Connect is “make simple things simple and make complex things possible”.

OpenID Connect is designed to cover a range of scenarios and use cases including Internet, enterprise, cloud, and mobile, to span security & privacy requirements from non-sensitive information to highly secure, and to span sophistication of claims usage, from basic default claims to specific requested claims to aggregated and distributed claims. It maximizes the simplicity of implementations by reusing existing OAuth 2.0, JWT, and SWD specs and employing a modular structure, allowing deployments to utilize only the pieces they need.

OpenID Connect has a number of key differences from OpenID 2.0. Among them are: support for native client applications, identifiers using e-mail address format, standard UserInfo endpoint for retrieving basic claims about the end-user, being designed to work well on mobile phones, use of JSON/REST rather than XML, support for encryption and higher LoAs, and support for distributed and aggregated claims.

Today marks a milestone in the OpenID Connect specification development: the OpenID Foundation announced that the current set of drafts is being reviewed for approval as Implementer’s Drafts. An Implementer’s Draft is a stable version of a specification intended for implementation and deployment that provides intellectual property protections to implementers of the specification. These drafts are the product of incorporating months of feedback from implementers and reviewers of earlier specification drafts, including feedback resulting from interop testing. Thanks to all of you who contributed to the development of OpenID Connect!

April 4, 2011
AD FS 2.0 Interop Step-By-Step Guide: IBM Tivoli Federated Identity Manager

Microsoft has published the fifth in a series of step-by-step guides on configuring AD FS 2.0 to interoperate with partner products. This guide describes how to configure AD FS 2.0 and IBM Tivoli Federated Identity Manager to federate using the SAML 2.0 protocol. The guide is available in HTML format and soon also Word and PDF. Thanks again to author Dave Martinez for making this series a reality!

November 22, 2010
AD FS 2.0 Interop Step-By-Step Guide: Ping Identity PingFederate

Microsoft has published the fourth in a series of step-by-step guides on configuring AD FS 2.0 to interoperate with partner products. This guide describes how to configure AD FS 2.0 and Ping Identity PingFederate to federate using the SAML 2.0 protocol. The guide is available in Word and PDF formats and also HTML. Thanks again to author Dave Martinez, and special thanks to Ping Identity for sponsoring this guide.

October 21, 2010
AD FS 2.0 Interop Step-By-Step Guide: Shibboleth 2 and the InCommon Federation

Microsoft has published the third in a series of step-by-step guides on configuring AD FS 2.0 to interoperate with partner products. This guide describes how to configure AD FS 2.0 and Shibboleth to federate using the SAML 2.0 protocol. There is also an appendix on federating with the InCommon Federation. The guide is available in Word format and HTML. Thanks again to author Dave Martinez.

August 2, 2010
AD FS 2.0 Interop Step-By-Step Guide: Oracle Identity Federation

Microsoft has published the second in a series of step-by-step guides on configuring AD FS 2.0 to interoperate with partner products. This guide describes how to configure AD FS 2.0 and Oracle Identity Federation, as delivered in Oracle Identity Management, to federate using the SAML 2.0 protocol. The guide is available in HTML and Word formats. Thanks again to author Dave Martinez.

July 10, 2010
Using Consumer Identities for Business Interactions

Medtronic, PayPal, Southworks, and Microsoft recently worked together to demonstrate the ability for people to use their PayPal identities for participating in a Medtronic medical device trial, rather than having to create yet another username and password. Furthermore, the demo showed the use of verified claims, where the name, address, birth date, and gender claims provided by PayPal are relied upon by Medtronic and its partners as being sufficiently authoritative to sign people up for the trial and ship them the equipment. I showed this to many of you at the most recent Internet Identity Workshop.

From a technology point of view, this was a multi-protocol federation using OpenID and WS-Federation – OpenID for the PayPal identities and WS-Federation between Medtronic and two relying parties (one for ordering the equipment and one for anonymously recording opinions about the trial). It was also multi-platform, with the Medtronic STS running on Windows and using the Windows Identity Foundation (WIF) and DotNetOpenAuth, the equipment ordering site running on Linux and using simpleSAMLphp, and the opinions site running on Windows and also using WIF. A diagram of the scenario flows is as follows:

Identity Mash-Up Diagram

We called the demo an “identity mash-up” because Medtronic constructed a identity for the user containing both claims that came from the original PayPal identity and claims it added (“mashed-up”) to form a new, composite identity. And yet, access to this new identity was always through the PayPal identity. You can read more about the demo on the Interoperability @ Microsoft blog, including viewing a video of the demo. Southworks also made the documentation and code for the multi-protocol STS available.

I’ll close by thanking the teams at PayPal, Medtronic, and Southworks for coming together to produce this demo. They were all enthusiastic about using consumer identities for Medtronic’s business scenario and pitched in together to quickly make it happen.

Update: Also see related posts by Kim Cameron and Matias Woloski.

July 8, 2010
Identity Interop at Catalyst San Diego, July 2010

OSIS logoI’ll be participating in an Open Identity for Business Interop being held by OSIS at Catalyst in San Diego this month. This multi-protocol interop event includes exercising the US Government identity profiles developed as part of the Open Identity Solutions for Open Government initiative. Microsoft is hosting testing endpoints using AD FS 2.0 and the Card Issuance CTP. The public interop demonstration is on Wednesday, July 28th. Hope to see you there!

Catalyst North America 2010 Interop Banner

July 7, 2010
AD FS 2.0 Interop Step-By-Step Guide: CA Federation Manager

Microsoft has published the first of a series of step-by-step guides on configuring AD FS 2.0 to interoperate with partner products. This guide describes how to configure AD FS 2.0 and CA Federation Manager r12.1 to federate using the SAML 2.0 protocol. The guide is available in HTML and Word format. Thanks go to author Dave Martinez for his expert and detailed treatment of the topic.

May 5, 2010
AD FS 2.0 Has Shipped

Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) 2.0 shipped today. In addition to supporting WS-Federation, as the first version did, this release also supports the SAML 2.0 and WS-Trust protocols.

At this milestone, I’d like to thank the numerous partners who did extensive interop testing with us as AD FS 2.0 was being developed, helping ensure that it works well with other’s products. Milestones along the way included early interop testing with Shibboleth, IBM, and Ping Identity during Beta 1, interop work with CA, Novell, and Sun during Beta 2, the Federation Interop at Catalyst in July 2009, the Liberty Alliance SAML 2.0 testing last summer, and the OASIS IMI interop at RSA in March. Plus, we’re grateful to the numerous customers who test-drove and gave us invaluable feedback on AD FS 2.0 and the other “Geneva” wave products as they were being developed. This release is far stronger because of all of your contributions!

December 18, 2009
Updated Federated Identity Product Releases

Today Microsoft announced the availability of new releases of several identity products: Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) 2.0, the Windows Identity Foundation, and CardSpace 2 (which collectively were formerly referred to as “Geneva”), as well as Federation Extensions for SharePoint. See Announcing the AD FS 2.0 Release Candidate and More and Announcing WIF support for Windows Server 2003 for the release announcements as well as links to numerous step-by-step guides, samples, docs, and video. Thanks to all those who did interop work with us (including at Catalyst, Liberty, and pair-wise) to help ensure that these releases will work well with other’s implementations.

September 30, 2009
Liberty Alliance SAML 2.0 Interoperability Testing Results

Liberty Interoperable logoI’m pleased to report that Microsoft passed the Liberty SAML 2.0 interoperability tests that it participated in, as did fellow participants Entrust, IBM, Novell, Ping Identity, SAP, and Siemens. Testing is an involved process, as you can read about on the team blog, with numerous tests covering different protocol aspects and scenarios, which are run “full-matrix” with all other participants. Microsoft participated in the IdP Lite, SP Lite, and eGov conformance modes, which our customers told us were important to them.

As Roger Sullivan reported in the Liberty press release, this round of testing included more vendors than ever before. Related to this, I was pleased that Microsoft decided to let other vendors know up front that it would be participating. (Typically vendors don’t say anything about their participation until there’s an announcement that they’ve passed.) This openness enabled me to personally reach out to others with SAML 2.0 implementations, many of whom did choose to participate (and of course who might have also done so without my encouragement to join the party!).

For more about this accomplishment, see John Fontana’s ComputerWorld story, the Interoperability @ Microsoft blog, Vittorio’s blog, and the full test results.

September 16, 2009
US Government Open Identity Initiative

White House logoIt’s been an open secret in the identity community for the past several months that the US Government has embarked on an initiative to enable people to sign into US Government web sites using commercial identities. The public announcements of the first steps were made last week during the Gov 2.0 Summit. Now that we can write about the initiative, here’s a personal recap of some of the steps that have gotten us here, and thoughts about what comes next.

  • Then-candidate Barack Obama made a commitment to increase people’s access to government services; President Obama issued his Transparency and Open Government memo reinforcing this commitment on his first day in office.
  • The federal CIO, Vivek Kundra, requested that the GSA do the ground work to enable people to log into US government web sites using commercially-issued identities using open protocols.
  • In parallel to this, the Information Card Foundation, and especially Mary Ruddy, had been working with the GSA on a demo of using Information Cards to sign into government sites. The GSA demonstrated using the Equifax card to sign into a mockup of in April at RSA.
  • In April, the GSA, and in particular, the Identity, Credential, and Access Management (ICAM) committee, communicated the need for certification frameworks for identity technologies and identity providers to be used to access government sites. The OpenID Foundation and Information Card Foundation agreed to develop certification programs for their respective technologies and to work with the GSA on profiles for use of the technologies.
  • Not long thereafter, the OpenID Foundation and Information Card Foundation made a key decision to work together on aspects of the profiles and certification programs that can be common between the two technologies. Don Thibeau, the OIDF executive director, and Drummond Reed, the ICF executive director, get enormous credit for this decision, which I believe has served both communities well.
  • The foundations jointly hired John Bradley to develop profiles for the two technologies. They also hired the same lawyer to look at liability issues.
  • The foundations decided to base their profiles as much as possible on the SAML government profile developed by InCommon, so as not to re-invent the wheel.
  • ICAM published its Identity Scheme Adoption Process and Trust Framework Provider Adoption Process documents in July. These established criteria for identity technologies and trust framework providers to be accredited for use at US Government sites.
  • Based on their work together and with the government, the two foundations published the joint whitepaper “Open Trust Frameworks for Open Government”, with its release timed to coincide with the Open Government Identity Management Solutions Privacy Workshop in August. The whitepaper is available on both OIDF site and the ICF site.
  • The privacy characteristics of the draft profiles when used at ICAM Assurance Level 1 (a.k.a. NIST Assurance Level 1) were subjected to public review at the Open Government Identity Management Solutions Privacy Workshop.
  • On September 9th, the two foundations jointly announced the Open Identity for Open Government initiative, with Yahoo!, PayPal, Google, Equifax, AOL, VeriSign, Acxiom, Citi, Privo and Wave Systems participating as identity providers. See the press release on the ICF site or the OIDF site.
  • On September 9th, US federal CIO Vivek Kundra met with the boards of the OpenID Foundation and Information Card Foundation to discuss progress on the initiative to accept commercial identities at government web sites. He endorsed the idea of starting with three pilot projects that would enable privacy, security, and usability issues to be identified and addressed before a broader rollout. He agreed that two of these pilots should be at ICAM Assurance Level 1 and one at Level 2 or 3.
  • The ICAM OpenID 2.0 Profile was published on September 9th.
  • At the Gov 2.0 Summit on September 10th, Vivek Kundra described the identity initiative to attendees. His remarks were in the context of things he is doing to make government’s IT investments more efficient. He gave the example of making campground reservations at, which currently requires you to create an account that you’re unlikely to use again soon. He said that since you already have identities from Google or Yahoo or Microsoft, wouldn’t it be better to let you use those identities at the government site?
  • ICAM updated the Open Identity Solutions for Open Government page on September 10th. This page should continue to reflect the current state of the initiative.

Of course, despite all the activity above, this is really just the beginning. No government relying parties are yet live, the identity provider certification programs are still being developed, and the Information Card profile is not yet final. Only once sites go live will data start to come in about whether people are able to successfully use commercially-issued identities at the sites, and whether they find this capability useful.

Finally, I’ll note that while government sites will always be only a small fraction of the sites that people use on the Internet, and will typically not be on the cutting edge of innovation, I believe that that this is one of the relatively rare moments where a government initiative is serving as a useful focal point for action within private enterprise. A diverse set of companies and organizations have come together to meet this challenge in a way that would be hard to imagine happening without the government initiative to serve as a catalyst. That’s all good.

We still have a lot to learn and a lot to do. I’m glad we’re getting started.

September 7, 2009
CA and Microsoft Identity Products Interop

Microsoft logoCA logoCA and Microsoft have published a whitepaper describing interop work the two companies have done between their identity products, ensuring that they work well together. SiteMinder and CA Federation Manager from CA and Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) 2.0 and Windows Identity Foundation from Microsoft were the products tested. The interop work covered both the SAML 2.0 protocol and the WS-Federation protocol, with each companies’ products configured in both Identity Provider and Relying Party roles. For instance, one scenario tested was using using a CA-hosted identity to access a SharePoint 2007 installation via the Windows Identity Foundation using the WS-Federation protocol. You can download the whitepaper either from CA or from Microsoft.

I’d like to thank Dave Martinez for all the expert work he put into getting this done, which included configuring products, running tests, doing the writing, and herding cats! I’d also like to extend my sincere thanks to Wes Dunnington, Mark Palmer, and Jeff Broberg of CA, who have been exemplary and diligent partners throughout this effort, rolling up your sleeves and working closely with your Microsoft counterparts to diagnose issues that arose, until we demonstrated all the scenarios working.

I’ll close by quoting a note that Wes sent to both teams upon the successful conclusion of our work together:

We are truly happy that this joint effort has resulted in the successful interop between our two products. This kind of work is crucial to get more and more businesses to adopt standards based solutions as they start to reach across the Internet for their application needs.

I couldn’t agree more!

August 28, 2009
Catalyst Federation Interop

I’m writing to thank the Burton Group for sponsoring the federation interop demonstration at the 2009 Catalyst Conference in San Diego. As you can see from the logos, they attracted an impressive set of interop participants. It was great working with the knowledgeable and enthusiastic colleagues from other companies to assure that our products will work together for our customers.

Catalyst North America 2009 Interop Banner

Microsoft demonstrated SAML 2.0 interoperation using our forthcoming Active Directory Federation Services 2.0 product (no, it’s not named “Geneva” Server anymore). We federated both to and from numerous other implementations. For instance, those attending in person got to watch yours truly demonstrate using AD FS 2.0 to log into and WebEx, among other scenarios.

But why write about this now, one might ask? Isn’t the interop done? Not necessarily! In fact, one of the cool things about online interops is that the participants can continue testing well after “the event” is over. For instance, we’ve done some WS-Federation testing with participants since Catalyst, as well as just invited participants to re-test with a more recent drop of our server bits if they’d like to.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the Eternal Optimist herself for doing the work to enable the Catalyst interop to be hosted the OSIS wiki. Doing the interop online with public endpoint information helped the work go as smoothly as possible.

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