The 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!
I’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.
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.
I’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.”
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.
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,
The 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.
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.
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.
Twitter Cards are around for some time now and I recently wondered how commonly used they are?
There is a nice blog post on Blogger on how to integrate them there but clearly there should be ways for e.g. newspapers to promote their reports by providing summaries and a main image and author information that is not @Twitter specific? Microformats and schema.org to the rescue?
IIW is always a whirlwind and this one was no exception. The good thing was that even with it being the biggest one yet it was the most organized with the most team members. Phil and I were the executive producers. Doc played is leadership role. Heidi did an amazing job with production coordinating the catering, working with the museum and Kas did a fabulous job leading the notes collection effort and Emma who works of site got things up on the wiki in good order.
We are working on pulling one together in Toronto Canada in
early February, and Australia in Late March.
ID Collaboration Day is February 27th in SF (we are still Venue hunting).
I am learning that some wonder why I have such strong opinions about standards...the reason being they define the landscape of possibility for any given protocol. When we talk about standards for identity we end up defining how people can express themselves in digital networks and getting it right and making the range of possibility very broad is kinda important. If you are interested in reading more about this I recommend Protocol: and The Exploit. This quote from Bruce Sterling relative to emerging AR [Augmented Reality] Standards.
If Code is Law then Standards are like the Senate.