The OpenID Foundation Launches the OpenID Connect Standard 25


Providing Increased Security, Usability, and Privacy on the Internet

RSA 2014 and Mobile World Congress- San Francisco, CA, and Barcelona, Spain – Feb. 26, 2014 – The OpenID Foundation announced today that its membership has ratified the OpenID Connect standard.  Organizations and businesses can now use OpenID Connect to develop secure, flexible, and interoperable identity Internet ecosystems so that digital identities can be easily used across websites and applications via any computing or mobile device. OpenID Connect has been implemented worldwide by Internet and mobile companies, including Google, Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom, salesforce.com, Ping Identity, Nomura Research Institute, mobile network operators, and other companies and organizations. It will be built into commercial products and implemented in open-source libraries for global deployment.

“Widely-available secure interoperable digital identity is the key to enabling easy-to-use, high-value cloud-based services for the devices and applications that people use,” said Alex Simons, Director of Program Management for Microsoft Active Directory. “OpenID Connect fills the need for a simple yet flexible and secure identity protocol and also lets people leverage their existing OAuth 2.0 investments. Microsoft is proud to be a key contributor to the development of OpenID Connect, and of doing our part to make it simple to deploy and use digital identity across a wide range of use cases.”

OpenID Connect is an efficient, straightforward way for applications to outsource the business of signing users in to specialist identity service operators, called Identity Providers (IdPs). Most importantly, applications still manage their relationships with their customers but outsource the expensive, high-risk business of identity verification to those better equipped to professionally manage it.

The Strength of Mobile Identity

Mobile operators are placed ideally to offer identity services with their differentiated assets such as the SIM card, strong registration process, authentication, and fraud detection and mitigation processes. They have the ability to provide sufficient authentication to enable consumers, businesses and governments to interact in a private, trusted and secure environment and enable access to services. The GSMA earlier this week announced the launch of the Mobile Connect service, a collaborative initiative, supported by leading mobile operators, to develop an innovative new service that will allow consumers to securely access a wide array of digital services using their mobile phone account for authentication.

“The GSMA’s role is to work with the Mobile Operators to deliver relevant services to their customers; one such area that is growing in importance is the use of the mobile phone for authentication or identification purposes,” said Marie Austenaa, Head of Personal Data, GSMA. “In order to achieve global scale and ease of implementation both for Mobile Operators and for the Service Providers, it is important to have a consistent approach and this is what OpenID Connect provides.”

“Today is an important milestone in the evolution of online identity; the launch of OpenID Connect provides an open standard enabling global interoperability,” said Don Thibeau, Executive Director of the OpenID Foundation. “The strength of the standard is validated by industry competitors cooperating to lead the development and adoption of OpenID Connect. It is further validated by the plans for adoption by the GSMA, which represents over 800 global Mobile Network Operators.”

OpenID Connect Makes Online Transactions Easier and More Secure

OpenID Connect is the third generation of OpenID technology. Its predecessors, OpenID 1.1 and OpenID 2.0, were well received and are in production today by many well-known Internet companies worldwide.

“Google is betting big on OpenID Connect because it’s simple for developers to understand and makes it easy to federate with identity providers. It also protects users by only sharing account information that users explicitly tell us to,” said Eric Sachs, Group Product Manager for Identity. “As of today, Google offers support for OpenID Connect as an identity provider and we are excited to see how this standard will make Internet use easier for users without having to enter passwords.”

“Salesforce.com is committed to unlocking new ways for companies to build meaningful relationships with their customers, and that engagement starts with standards-based identity,” said Chuck Mortimore, vice president, Identity product management, salesforce.com. “We’ve built OpenID Connect into the core of the Salesforce1 customer platform, allowing companies to connect the next generation of apps, devices and products—delivering a unified customer experience through a single identity.

“Today’s ratification of OpenID Connect is a big step forward in making business interaction easier and more secure,” said Ping Identity CTO Patrick Harding. “Standards are critical to supporting a new era of identity-centric business. OpenID Connect spans Web, API and mobile, making it an especially important protocol in our collective efforts to move identity from application to infrastructure.”

The formalization of OpenID Connect as an open global standard allows developers, businesses, governments, accreditors, and other interested parties to build creation and adoption of sector-specific OpenID Connect profiles into 2014 plans and priorities. Next week in London at the GSMA Headquarters, OpenID Foundation Members including Google, Microsoft, Ping Identity and others will meet with counterparts at the GSMA to begin work on ensuring interoperability across global Mobile Network Operators. The OpenID Foundation, the Open Identity Exchange, and the GSMA are collaborating on pilot and discovery projects and in 2014 will begin testing how OpenID Connect implementations can enhance online choice, efficiency, security, and privacy.

Internet identity initiatives like the UK Identity Assurance Program (IDAP) rely on open standards. The UK Cabinet Office has been a global leader in discovering how commercial identity providers and mobile network operators can contribute to the goals of its Digital By Default Strategy. The GSMA, OpenID Foundation, the Open Identity Exchange, and four leading Mobile Network Operators are collaborating on a set of tests in support of the UK IDAP program using open standards.

Why OpenID Connect?

Barely a week goes by without another news story about some Internet-facing organization suffering a damaging data breach, often including passwords, sometimes numbering in the tens of millions. The constant drumbeat of data breaches is damaging organizations’ reputations, the Internet as a whole, and in particular, the trust of Internet users worldwide.

OpenID Connect provides a simple, standard way to outsource site and application login to operators who continually invest in sophisticated authentication infrastructure and who have the specialized skills required to securely manage sign-in and detect abuse. That investment is coupled with the increased cost of helping users with lost-account recovery, password changes, and so on. The organizations that contributed to OpenID Connect are leading the way in the development of advanced authentication technologies such as risk-based authentication and multi-factor authentication and deploying them at their OpenID Connect IdPs. This ongoing investment in technology and expertise is increasingly beyond the reach of most application providers. It is not a core competence, and is thus an excellent candidate for outsourcing.

OpenID Connect builds on the foundation of successful open identity and security standards like OAuth 2.0 and TLS (also known as SSL or “https”). As a result, it has the advantage is that it is substantially easier for developers to implement and deploy than other identity protocols, enabling simpler deployments without sacrificing security.

“NRI has been actively involved in developing OpenID Connect as one of the authors. We have deployed an open source implementation of OpenID Connect as a backend technology provider for media companies, mobile operators, credit card and commerce companies,” said Nat Sakimura, Senior Researcher of Nomura Research Institute, Ltd.

OpenID Connect was developed by a working group of independent security experts and specialists from several continents at companies including Microsoft, Google, salesforce.com, Ping Identity, AOL, Nomura Research Institute, and Deutsche Telekom and tested for interoperability among over 20 implementations.

About The OpenID Foundation

The OpenID Foundation is an international non-profit organization of individuals and companies committed to enabling, promoting and protecting OpenID technologies. Formed in June 2007, the foundation serves as a public trust organization representing the open community of developers, vendors, and users. The OIDF assists the community by providing needed infrastructure and help in promoting and supporting expanded adoption of OpenID technologies. This entails managing intellectual property and brand marks as well as fostering viral growth and global participation in the proliferation of OpenID.

# # #

News Media Contacts:

Jeff Fishburn

OnPR for OpenID Foundation

jefff@onpr.com