[OpenID] OpenID Biz Case, etc

Peter Williams pwilliams at rapattoni.com
Wed Apr 1 15:18:52 UTC 2009

OpenID (a websso service for UCI "consumer"  environments) "supports" multiple authentication schemes, including Sign-in via client side SSL Certificates, Image based passwords and recovery,2-factor authentication such as password+text. Go to myopenid.com and see much of that in practice.

OpenId Auth v2 (a particular communications protocol and its extensions, not the service) enables an RP to signal the requirements of an authentication scheme, which may even these days be expressed as specifically as Sign-in via client side SSL Certificates using CA C using TLS ciphersuite EC+AES (by agreement of the parties).

Distinguishing the service from the protocol is important if you are a security architect. OpenID - the service - is analogous to how the internet backbone ISPs use ISO's "CLNS" service to power the routing "supporting" routed protocols (analogous to OpenID Auth protocol) - of which by far the commonest is DARPA's IPv4 - the thing we all know and love for its highly optimal design. In OpenID, the service player known as an OP MAY present consent screens to users - not that that said behavior is in any way part of the "protocol", or even part of a conformance test for a _protocol_.  Is "user consent" to release names and attributes to a given RP "supported by" OpenID? Yes! (It's a fundamental part of the UCI mission). Is it _supported_ by the OpenID auth protocol? No. Is a vendor's storage of "personality"-based lists of attribute to thereafter  be automatically released to a given RP "supported by" the protocol (e.g. myopenid.com's practice  of persisting attribute release authority, by RP)? No.

This "support" distinction between service and protocol is mostly semantics -to be distinguish valuably only if you are a security architect doing design or analysis - e.g. this list. If you are doing system integration analysis for a business problem (e.g. draw folks to your web2.0 site), its rather a distraction. Just focus on a complying vendors pitch (how many schemes does it support?) -  and then find the one that suits your system integration culture the  best. If a solution vendor talks in a business pitch about architecture of secure telematic protocols or how the underlying library is programmed, pick another vendor (my advice).

Measure the vendor's support for OpenID by adherence to the general mission, determine which parts of the mission they specialize in, and then measure then the amount of demonstrated interworking according to open standards principles. As the community matures, also then measure the conformance -as tested by third parties.

AS you can see, the openid vendor community _is_ maturing nicely. Only 12 months ago, "vendors" making money were not discouraged from disclosing that intent, and conformance was a dirty word.

From: general-bounces at openid.net [mailto:general-bounces at openid.net] On Behalf Of Paul Madsen
Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 3:21 AM
To: Jonathan Coffman
Cc: general at openid.net
Subject: Re: [OpenID] OpenID Biz Case, etc

A nit, OpenID does not 'support'

o   Sign-in via client side SSL Certificates
o   Image based passwords and recovery
o   2-factor authentication such as password+text message

but rather is orthogonal (mostly) to the actual authentication mechanism.


Jonathan Coffman wrote:
Hey there all, If you have a moment to breeze through the following I would really appreciate it.

Here's the situation: we're a major media company who is scrapping all prior user authentication systems and building from the ground-up. I'm working to make the case that OpenID absolutely has to be a key component of this new system. Am I missing key points or mis-characterizing the things I've learned? (I've read through many blog posts, watched all kinds of presentations on slideshare, etc to compile the below)

-- btw: I do plan to post this to my blog once it's a little more fleshed out.

OpenID Business Case

Summary: OpenID is an emerging web standard upon which users are able to use existing accounts from major providers, like Google and Yahoo, in order to sign in to other sites. In support of TKTKT commitment to open standards and given that OpenID is quickly becoming a market requirement the TKT Universal Authentication System will take advantage of the technology.

Key Reasons to use OpenID:

*      OpenID is a system for decentralized single sign-on; it solves the technology problem of duplicate usernames and the user problem of having to manage multiple usernames and passwords securely.

*      Users control and manage their own identity, which aligns with the TKTKTK mission of empowering users to participate as well as our dedication to open standards and technology.

*      Simple Registration system in OpenID can help users fill out their registration form with things like their name, email address, location, etc without us having to force them to fill out those fields.

*      The OpenID provider's business is authentication; they can invest much more effort than we can in securing user's data and information than we can.

*      Increase in number of sign-ups due to fewer form fields to fill out during registration, and ease of user interface.
*      Persistent log-ins, each time the user opens the site they don't have to sign-in again.
*      Fewer support resources necessary as users rely on their identity provider of choice.
*      Being an open standard, hundreds of people are working to enhance the technology and TKT has an opportunity to not only participate, but also give back.
*      Marketing and promotional opportunities around TKT adoption of the OpenStack would be seen as an extremely positive move in the technology community and return positive buzz.

User Adoption: There are over 500 million OpenID enabled users originating from the following sites and thousands more:

*      AOL

*      Yahoo

*      Blogger

*      Flickr

*      Livedoor

*      LiveJournal

*      Wordpress.com

*      SmugMug

*      Technorati

*      Orange

*      Vox

*      ClaimID

*      MyOpenID

*      MyID.net

*      Myvidoop

*      Verisign

Market Support:

*      Google, IBM, Microsoft, VeriSign, Yahoo, PayPal, Verisign, and Facebook all have representatives on the OpenID board.
*      Those companies and many more are heavily invested in seeing this standard adopted, and competing technologies have folded into the OpenStack and are concentrating on their own individual niches as enhancements rather than replacements of OpenID (oAuth, ActivityStreams, PortableContacts, MicroFormats).
*      Users expect for their data to be portable between sites, a social network or site with social functionality that does not allow the user to take their information with them across the web is going against the marketplace.
*      Over 35,000 sites currently accept OpenIDs (with sites like Blogger and WordPress being counted as single sites despite having millions of blogs).
*      Whitelabel social networking products have already enabled all of their customers to begin accepting OpenID, including Ning and KickApps, and pbWiki.

TKT Technology Platforms Support - The following software in-use on TKTKTKT and TKTKT web sites support OpenID already:

*      MovableType (out of the box)
*      WordPress (well-tested module)
*      Drupal (out of the box)
*      Joomla (out of the box)
*      Plone (out of the box)
*      Atlassian (JIRA) (out of the box)
*      Basecamp/Backpack/HighRise (out of the box)
*      MediaWiki (extension)

At the end of the list I included some of the products we use internally as well because let's not forget the efficiencies created in utilizing a web standard for our own internal usage as well.

Security Benefits:

*      TKTK doesn't have security efforts, nor should we be in the business of managing user's online identities, especially given the amount of data and information that is collected by systems.
*      OpenID supports alternative methods of authentication beyond anything that we would actually need such as:
o   Sign-in via client side SSL Certificates
o   Image based passwords and recovery
o   2-factor authentication such as password+text message



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