Feeds

Liberty Alliance unveils secure sign-on specs

Authentic

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Liberty Alliance duly unwrapped its version 1.0 specifications yesterday, outlining a standard for federated network identity sign-on as a secure method for identifying individuals using any manner of internet-connected devices.

The first phase of work undertaken by Liberty Alliance in its first year has focused on the use of so-called opt-in account-linking so that businesses and customers can share and re-use recognized sign-on procedures and preferences. Once users' accounts are federated, they can log-in and authenticate at one linked account and navigate to another linked account, without having to log in again.

This single sign-on feature is deemed critical to the future success of e-commerce and the concept could play a significant role in the development of web services.

Federated online identities are expected to provide businesses with increased opportunities on the internet, by enabling them to maintain ownership of their customer databases while still being able to work closely with business partners to share customer leads and customer data securely over any access device.

The Liberty version 1.0 specifications do not involve the exchange of personal information. Instead, they involve a format for exchanging authentication information between companies so the identity of the user is held safe, without specific details having to be shared. The user could choose which account or accounts should be linked, but could opt to maintain separate identities in different locations while still benefiting from use of a seamless sign-on.

The version 1.0 specifications will enable consumers to choose their identity provider and benefit from the convenience of simplified sign-on when navigating the internet from any device. Version 1.0 also takes "a first stab at the problems of authentication context," Timo Skytta of Nokia Mobile Software and chairman of the architecture board for Liberty Alliance confirmed to ComputerWire. This is a method that allows companies linking accounts to communicate the type and level of authentication that should be used when a user logs in to different accounts.

Authentication context may incorporate the use of attributes or data such as a mobile telephone user's call number, a digital signature, a user name and password, or some other combination. It will also account for user preferences and whether access is via a fixed or wireless device. It is an ambitious plan: "It is an issue that has not yet been tackled fully by the security vendors," Skytta confirmed to ComputerWire.

The Liberty alliance includes large organizations such as General Motors, American Airlines, and Hertz, and achieving federated identity will require some agreement on standards among these commercial businesses as much as collaboration among numerous hardware and software technology vendors. As a demonstration of the specifications' acceptance among the 65 or so Liberty Alliance member organizations, several concurrently announced plans to deliver Liberty-aware products and services. These vendors include Communicator, Entrust, NeuStar, Novell, OneName, RSA Security and Sun Microsystems.

The first products are expected to be available by the end of 2002 and industry-watchers will want to track vendor-specific "enhancements" to the specification carefully, as first-edition standards will inevitably be inadequate for many requirements and will necessitate vendor-specific approaches to overcome some security concerns.

© ComputerWire

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.