Tag Archives: OAuth

Consensual impersonation is delegation done very wrong

I’ve got a new post up on the Forrester blogs about “consensual impersonation”, which is what happens when you give your password to someone else so they can do something from your account. As Paul Madsen points out, it’s “another manifestation of the password anti-pattern”, and it’s a use case whose legitimacy — at least some of the time — we haven’t really thought about. Head over there to see if I manage to avoid mentioning UMA. (Hint…)

New post: Venn of access control for the API economy

Up on the Forrester blogs, I present a new Venn diagram that compares OAuth, OpenID Connect, and UMA. A number of people contributed to the final form of this one, which we presented in a Google Tech Talk a couple of weeks back. Thanks to all of the following folks (listed in no particular order) for their feedback!

By the way, we’ve got another UMA Twitter chat coming up this Wednesday morning at 9am Pacific. For details, visit http://tinyurl.com/umachat. Spread the word, join us, and get all your questions answered…

New: Report contemplating OAuth and “Zero Trust identity”

Is it possible for an enterprise to turn itself inside-out? Apparently so. I’ve got a new post up on the Forrester blogs that discusses the “Zero Trust” aspect of enterprise security that a number of companies are addressing with various clever uses of OAuth.

New: “Participating In Markets For Portable Identities In The Cloud: What’s The Coin Of Your Realm?”

I’ve got a new post up on the Forrester blogs, discussing a “markets for portable identity” angle on my latest research report (which is full of Venn goodness!), and how SAML, OAuth, and OpenID are “hard currencies.”

You could take this theme pretty far. Does SAML-OAuth bridging have any elements of arbitrage about it? Is assurance leakage in protocol translation like the lousy currency exchange rates at those little van kiosks in airports? Maybe that’s far enough…

New: “Protecting Internal APIs – Is OAuth Ready For Its Closeup?”

Check out my new post on the Forrester blog, looking to hear about your experience and opinions on the use of OAuth to secure your internal app landscape. You know you have stories. I know you have stories. So why not share them??

I hosted a session at IIW last week to start collecting data around this topic, impishly/illicitly called Two Legs Good? (since the OAuth community keeps trying to quit the “legs” habit but can’t seem to manage it). Session notes are at the link. IIW totally rocked this time; thanks to the organizers and all who contributed to making it great!

In order to encourage you to comment over on the other site, I’ve turned off comments here (boy, does that feel weird…). If you prefer to weigh in with 140 characters’ worth of wisdom, just be sure to use the hashtag #Forr2Legs so I’ll see it.

How UMA deals with scopes and authorization

The UMA group has been quite busy of late. Like several other efforts (don’t miss John Bradley’s OpenID ABC post or anything Mike Jones has been blogging in the last few months), we’ve been gearing up for IIW 12 as a great place to try out our newest work, figure out the combinatorial possibilities with all the other new stuff going on, and get feedback.

Newcastle University’s SMART project team will be in Mountain View again, discussing their UMA implementation and UX work. And vice-chair Maciej Machulak and I plan to convene a session to share our draft solution for loosely coupling an OAuth authorization server and resource server to solve for externalized authorization and interoperable scoped access in the UMA context.

Back in February, a bunch of us tried discussing this very subject in Twitter and got pretty far, but it took Paul Madsen to put the whole story together in his blog post Way more than 140. And loving it. Check it out.

Essentially, UMA is choosing to give the host (resource server) more autonomy than it would typically have in a tightly coupled environment, so that it’s not entirely accurate to say it’s a mere policy enforcement point (PEP) and the authorization manager (authz server) is a full policy decision point (PDP). This seems to make good sense in a totally open-Web environment. However, “the full PDP” is an optional feature we could probably add if there’s interest.

The really interesting thing is that, to make externalized authorization work, we’ve had to go “radically claims-based”. The model seems very powerful and generative — it gives the power to upgrade and downgrade granted scopes at will! But it does take a step or two back from pure OAuth 2.0 as a result. This is something I’m keen to discuss with folks in and around IIW; we’ll be presenting these slides to that end.

New: “CardSpace Is Dead. Long Live Back-Channel Access.”

I’ve got a new post up on my Forrester blog, commenting on CardSpace and the important trends to pay attention to at this juncture.

New: “OpenID, Successful Failures And New Federated Identity Options”

Though there’s still a creepy fuzzy anonymous head where my picture is supposed to be, I’ve got my first post up on the Forrester Research Security & Risk blog. It discusses the recent 37signals decision to stop using OpenID and the larger “button-based login” environment in which OpenID can be considered a positive influence. As a bonus, it provides a new Venn diagram comparing features of OpenID + attribute exchange, the SAML web browser SSO profile, and OAuth + “connect”-style login.

Later: Neat, it’s been cross-posted to the CSO Online blog as well.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, user-managed new year

UMA Christmas tree 2010

Thanks to Domenico Catalano (@DomCat) for putting together this lovely and geeky holiday message! And thanks to all the UMAnitarians for their contributions of passion, business problem-solving, and technical know-how to the User-Managed Access work.

The end of 2010 has brought new progress on several fronts. The UMA-friendly Java-based OAuth leeloo implementation was released as open source; we’ve begun solving some hard problems in defining interoperable interfaces between OAuth authorization servers and resource servers; we’ve been teasing out the implications of trusted claims as the basis for user-centric access control; and we saw two significant submissions in response to the UMA validation bounty program. We’re grateful to submitters Cordny Nederkoorn, whose interest in UMA grew as a result of his explorations into cloud identity, and Project hData, a unique and important effort that seeks to make electronic health data amenable to RESTful web app treatment.

We’ve got lots more developments in store for the coming months, and we welcome your involvement. From our Kantara home page you can join the group (no membership fees!), subscribe to our mailing list, and check out the latest news, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Happy holidays!

Making identity portable in the cloud

Yesterday I had the opportunity to contribute to BrightTALK’s day-long Cloud Security Summit with a webcast called Making Identity Portable in the Cloud.

Some 30 live attendees were very patient with my Internet connection problems, meaning that the slides (large PDF) didn’t advance when they were supposed to and I couldn’t answer questions live. However the good folks at BrightTALK fixed up the recording to match the slides to the audio, and I thought I’d offer thoughts here on the questions raised.

“Framework provider – sounds suspiciously like an old CA (certificate authority) in the PKI world! Why not just call it a PKI legal framework?” Yeah, there’s nothing new under the sun. The circles of trust, federations, and trust frameworks I discussed share a heritage with the way PKIs are managed. But the newer versions have the benefit of lessons learned (compare the Federal Bridge and the Open Identity Solutions for Open Government initiative) and are starting to avail themselves of technologies that fit modern Web-scale tooling better (like the MDX metadata exchange work, and my new favorite toy, hostmeta). PKI is still quite often part of the picture, just not the whole picture.

“How about a biometric binding of the individual to the process and the requirement of separation of roles?” I get nervous about biometric authentication for many purposes because it binds to the bag of protoplasm and not the digital identity (and because some of the mechanisms are actually rather weak). If different roles and identities could be separated out appropriately and then mapped, that helps. But with looser coupling come costs and risks that have to be managed.

“LDAP, AD, bespoke, or a combination?” Interestingly, this topic was hot at the recent Cloud Identity Summit (a F2F event, unlike the BrightTALK one). My belief is that some of today’s tiny companies are going to outsource all their corporate functions to SaaS applications; they will thrive on RESTfulness, NoSQL, and eventual consistency; and some will grow large, never having touched traditional directory technology. I suspect this idea is why Microsoft showed up and started talking about what’s coming after AD and touting OData as the answer. (Though in an OData/GData deathmatch, I’d probably bet on the latter…)

Thanks to all who attended, and keep those cards and letters coming.