June 1, 2018
OAuth Device Flow spec addressing initial IETF last call feedback

OAuth logoThe OAuth Device Flow specification (full name “OAuth 2.0 Device Flow for Browserless and Input Constrained Devices”) has been updated to address comments received to date from the IETF last call. Thanks to William Denniss for taking the pen for this set of revisions. Changes were:

  • Added a missing definition of access_denied for use on the token endpoint.
  • Corrected text documenting which error code should be returned for expired tokens (it’s “expired_token”, not “invalid_grant”).
  • Corrected section reference to RFC 8252 (the section numbers had changed after the initial reference was made).
  • Fixed line length of one diagram (was causing xml2rfc warnings).
  • Added line breaks so the URN grant_type is presented on an unbroken line.
  • Typos fixed and other stylistic improvements.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

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 18, 2018
Ongoing recognition for the impact of OpenID Connect and OpenID Certification

OpenID logoThis week the OpenID Certification program won the 2018 European Identity and Cloud Award for Best Innovation at the European Identity and Cloud (EIC) conference. This is actually the second award for the OpenID Certification program this year and only the latest in a series awards recognizing the value and impact of OpenID Connect and certification of its implementations.

On this occasion, I thought I’d take the opportunity to recount the awards that OpenID Connect, the specifications underlying it, and its certification program have been granted. To date, they are:

My sincere thanks to Kuppinger Cole for their early recognition of potential of OpenID Connect, for calling out the value of OAuth 2.0, JWT, and JOSE, and to both IDnext and Kuppinger Cole for recognizing the importance and global impact of OpenID Certification!

Speaking of impact, I can’t help but end this note with data that Alex Simons presented at EIC this week. 92% of Azure Active Directory (AAD) authentications use OpenID Connect. There’s no better demonstration of impact than widespread deployment. Very cool!

Alex Simons 92% OpenID Connect

May 17, 2018
OpenID Certification wins 2018 European Identity and Cloud Award

OpenID Certified logoThe OpenID Certification program won the 2018 European Identity and Cloud Award for Best Innovation at the European Identity and Cloud (EIC) conference. See the award announcement by the OpenID Foundation for more details. This is actually the second award this year for the OpenID Certification program.

The award recognizes that the OpenID Certification program has become a significant global force promoting high-quality, secure, interoperable OpenID Connect implementations. Its innovative use of self-certification using freely available online tools has made testing the quality of OpenID Connect implementations simple, effective, and commonplace. Thanks to Kuppinger Cole for recognizing the impact of the OpenID Certification program!

EIC 2018 Award EIC 2018 Award Certificate EIC 2018 Award John Bradley, Mike Jones, Nat Sakimura EIC 2018 Award Don Thibeau EIC 2018 Award State EIC 2018 Award Don Thibeau, George Fletcher, Mike Jones, John Bradley, Nat Sakimura

May 16, 2018
OpenID Presentations at May 2018 European Identity and Cloud Conference (EIC)

OpenID logoI gave the following presentations during the OpenID workshop at the May 2018 European Identity and Cloud Conference (EIC):

May 9, 2018
Security Event Token (SET) updates addressing IESG feedback

IETF logoWe’ve updated the Security Event Token (SET) specification to address feedback received from Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) members. We’ve actually published three versions in quick succession in preparation for tomorrow’s evaluation by the IESG.

Draft -11 incorporated feedback from Security Area Director Eric Rescorla and IANA Designated Expert Ned Freed. Changes were:

  • Clarified “iss” claim language about the SET issuer versus the security subject issuer.
  • Changed a “SHOULD” to a “MUST” in the “sub” claim description to be consistent with the Requirements for SET Profiles section.
  • Described the use of the “events” claim to prevent attackers from passing off other kinds of JWTs as SETs.
  • Stated that SETs are to be signed by an issuer that is trusted to do so for the use case.
  • Added quotes in the phrase ‘”token revoked” SET to be issued’ in the Timing Issues section.
  • Added section number references to the media type and media type suffix registrations.
  • Changed the encodings of the media type and media type suffix registrations to binary (since no line breaks are allowed).
  • Replaced a “TBD” in the media type registration with descriptive text.
  • Acknowledged Eric Rescorla and Ned Freed.

Draft -12 incorporated feedback from Adam Roach, Alexey Melnikov, and Alissa Cooper. Changes were:

  • Removed unused references to RFC 7009 and RFC 7517.
  • Corrected name of RFC 8055 in Section 4.3 to “Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Via Header Field Parameter to Indicate Received Realm”.
  • Added normative references for base64url and UTF-8.
  • Section 5.1 – Changed SHOULD to MUST in “personally identifiable information MUST be encrypted using JWE [RFC7516] or …”.
  • Section 5.2 – Changed “MUST consider” to “must consider”.
  • Acknowledged Adam Roach, Alexey Melnikov, and Alissa Cooper.

Draft -13 incorporated feedback from Martin Vigoureaux. Changes were:

  • Changed a non-normative “MAY” to “may” in Section 1.1.
  • Acknowledged Martin Vigoureux and Mirja Kühlewind.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

May 9, 2018
JWT BCP updates addressing WGLC feedback

OAuth logoThe JSON Web Token (JWT) Best Current Practices (BCP) specification has been updated to address the Working Group Last Call (WGLC) feedback received. Thanks to Neil Madden for his numerous comments and to Carsten Bormann and Brian Campbell for their reviews.

Assuming the chairs concur, the next step should be to request publication.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

May 8, 2018
“CBOR Web Token (CWT)” is now RFC 8392

IETF logoThe “CBOR Web Token (CWT)” specification is now RFC 8392 – an IETF standard. The abstract for the specification is:

CBOR Web Token (CWT) is a compact means of representing claims to be transferred between two parties. The claims in a CWT are encoded in the Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR) and CBOR Object Signing and Encryption (COSE) is used for added application-layer security protection. A claim is a piece of information asserted about a subject and is represented as a name/value pair consisting of a claim name and a claim value. CWT is derived from JSON Web Token (JWT) but uses CBOR rather than JSON.

Special thanks to Erik Wahlström for starting this work and to Samuel Erdtman for doing most of the heavy lifting involved in creating correct and useful CBOR and COSE examples.

Next up – finishing “Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for CBOR Web Tokens (CWTs)”, which provides the CWT equivalent of “Proof-of-Possession Key Semantics for JSON Web Tokens (JWTs)” [RFC 7800].

May 7, 2018
On our journey to deprecate the password: Public Implementation Draft of FIDO2 Client to Authenticator Protocol (CTAP) specification

FIDO logoI’m pleased to report that a public Implementation Draft of the FIDO2 Client to Authenticator Protocol (CTAP) specification has been published. This specification enables FIDO2 clients, such as browsers implementing the W3C Web Authentication (WebAuthn) specification, to perform authentication using pairwise public/private key pairs securely held by authenticators speaking the CTAP protocol (rather than passwords). Use of three transports for communicating with authenticators is specified in the CTAP specification: USB Human Interface Device (USB HID), Near Field Communication (NFC), and Bluetooth Smart/Bluetooth Low Energy Technology (BLE).

This specification was developed in parallel with WebAuthn, including having a number of common authors. This CTAP version is aligned with the WebAuthn Candidate Recommendation (CR) version.

The CTAP Implementation Draft is available at:

Congratulations to the members of the FIDO2 working group for reaching this important milestone. This is a major step in our journey to deprecate the password!

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:

May 1, 2018
Security Event Token (SET) spec addressing additional SecDir review comments

IETF logoAn updated Security Event Token (SET) specification has published to address recent review comments received. Changes were:

  • Incorporated wording improvements resulting from Russ Housley’s additional SecDir comments.
  • Registered +jwt structured syntax suffix.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

April 24, 2018
Late-breaking changes to OAuth Token Exchange syntax

OAuth logoThe syntax of two JWT claims registered by the OAuth Token Exchange specification has been changed as a result of developer feedback. Developers pointed out that the OAuth Token Introspection specification [RFC 7662] uses a “scope” string to represent scope values, whereas Token Exchange was defining an array-valued “scp” claim to represent scope values. The former also uses a “client_id” element to represent OAuth Client ID values, whereas the latter was using a “cid” claim for the same purpose.

After consulting with the working group, the OAuth Token Exchange claim names have been changed to “scope” and “client_id”. Thanks to Torsten Lodderstedt for pointing out the inconsistencies and to Brian Campbell for seeking consensus and making the updates.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

April 23, 2018
OAuth Device Flow spec addressing Area Director comments

OAuth logoThe OAuth 2.0 Device Flow for Browserless and Input Constrained Devices specification has been updated to address feedback by Security Area Director Eric Rescorla about the potential of a confused deputy attack. Thanks to John Bradley for helping work out the response to Eric and to William Denniss for reviewing and publishing the changes to the draft.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

April 17, 2018
Security Event Token (SET) spec addressing Area Director review comments

IETF logoThe Security Event Token (SET) specification has been updated to address Area Director review comments from Benjamin Kaduk. Thanks for the thorough and useful review, as always, Ben.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

April 4, 2018
Security Event Token (SET) spec addressing SecDir review comments

IETF logoA new draft of the Security Event Token (SET) specification has published that addresses comments from Russ Housley, who reviewed the spec for the IETF Security Directorate (SecDir). Changes were:

  • Incorporated wording improvements resulting from Russ Housley’s SecDir comments.
  • Acknowledged individuals who made significant contributions.

The specification is available at:

An HTML-formatted version is also available at:

April 3, 2018
OpenID Presentations at April 2018 OpenID Workshop and IIW

OpenID logoI gave the following presentations at the Monday, April 2, 2018 OpenID Workshop at Oracle:

I also gave the following invited “101” session presentation at the Internet Identity Workshop (IIW) on Tuesday, April 3, 2018:

March 29, 2018
OpenID Certification wins the 2018 Identity Innovation Award

OpenID Certified logoI’m thrilled that the OpenID Certification program has won the 2018 Identity Innovation Award at the IDnext conference. See the award announcement by the OpenID Foundation for more details.

The award recognizes that the OpenID Certification program has become a significant global force promoting high-quality, secure, interoperable OpenID Connect implementations. Its innovative use of self-certification using freely available online tools has made testing the quality of OpenID Connect implementations simple, effective, and commonplace. Thanks to IDnext for recognizing the impact of the OpenID Certification program!

Also, see the IDnext press release announcing the award and its description of the opinion of the award committee:

The significant global impact of the OpenID Certification program was a reason for its selection for the Identity Innovation Award. It recognizes that the innovative use of self-certification, with freely available testing tools, has resulted in substantial participation in the certification program, improving the security, quality, and interoperability of OpenID Connect implementations worldwide.

Identity Innovation Award

Identity Innovation Award Presentation

Finally, here’s the presentation that I gave at the IDnext conference making the case for the award (pptx) (pdf).

March 28, 2018
What Does Logout Mean?

OAuth logoDigital identity systems almost universally support end-users logging into applications and many also support logging out of them. But while login is reasonable well understood, there are many different kinds of semantics for “logout” in different use cases and a wide variety of mechanisms for effecting logouts.

I led a discussion on the topic “What Does Logout Mean?” at the 2018 OAuth Security Workshop in Trento, Italy, which was held the week before IETF 101, to explore this topic. The session was intentionally a highly interactive conversation, gathering information from the experts at the workshop to expand our collective understanding of the topic. Brock Allen – a practicing application security architect (and MVP for ASP.NET/IIS) – significantly contributed to the materials used to seed the discussion. And Nat Sakimura took detailed notes to record what we learned during the discussion.

Feedback on the discussion was uniformly positive. It seemed that all the participants learned things about logout use cases, mechanisms, and limitations that they previously hadn’t previously considered.

Materials related to the session are:

March 23, 2018
JWT BCP draft adding Nested JWT guidance

OAuth logoThe JSON Web Token (JWT) Best Current Practices (BCP) specification has been updated to add guidance on how to explicitly type Nested JWTs. Thanks to Brian Campbell for suggesting the addition.

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.

Next »