Identity Management and Trusted Interaction in Internet and Mobile Computing Audun Jøsang

Identity Management and Trusted Interaction in Internet and Mobile Computing Audun Jøsang
Identity Management and Trusted Interaction
in Internet and Mobile Computing
Audun Jøsang
University of Oslo, Norway
Email: [email protected]
Abstract—The convergence of Internet and mobile computing
enables personalised access to online services anywhere and
anytime. This potent access capability creates opportunities for
new business models which stimulates vigorous investment and
rapid innovation. Unfortunately, this innovation also produces
new vulnerabilities and threats, and the new business models
also create incentives for attacks, because criminals will always
follow the money. Unless the new threats are balanced with
appropriate countermeasures, growth in Internet and mobile
services will encounter painful setbacks. Security and trust are
two fundamental factors for sustainable development of identity
management in online markets and communities. The aim of this
article is to present an overview of central aspects of identity
management in Internet and mobile computing with respect to
security and trust.
Trust is typically interpreted as a subjective belief in the
reliability, honesty and security of an entity on which we
depend for our welfare. In online environments we depend
on a wide specter of things, ranging from computer hardware,
software and data, to people and organisations. A security solution always assumes that certain entities function according
to specific policies. To trust is precisely to make this sort of
assumptions, so a trusted entity is the same as an entity that is
assumed to function according to policy. A consequence of this
is that a trusted component of a system must work correctly
in order for the security of that system to hold, meaning that
when a trusted component fails, then the systems and applications that depend on it can no longer be considered secure. An
often cited articulation of this principle is: ”a trusted system
or component is one that can break your security policy”
(which happens when the trusted system fails) [46] . The same
applies to a trusted party such as a service provider (SP for
short), i.e. it must operate according to the agreed or assumed
policy in order to ensure the expected level of security and
quality of services. A paradoxical conclusion to be drawn
from this analysis is that security assurance may decrease
when increasing the number of trusted components and parties
that a service infrastructure depends on [13]. This is because
the security of an infrastructure consisting of many trusted
components typically follows the principle of the weakest link,
i.e. in many situations the overall security can only be as strong
as the least reliable or least secure of all the trusted component.
We can not avoid using trusted security components, but
IET Information Security. Volume 8, Issue 2, March 2014, pp.67–79.
the fewer the better. This is important to understand when
designing identity management architectures, i.e. the fewer
trusted parties required in an identity management model, the
stronger the security that can be achieved by it [23].
The transfer of the social constructs of identity and trust
into digital and computational concepts help in designing and
implementing large scale online markets and communities,
and also plays an important role in the converging mobile
and Internet environments. Identity management (denoted IdM
hereafter) is about recognising and verifying the correctness of
identities in online environments. Trust management becomes
a component of IdM whenever different parties rely on each
other for identity provision and authentication. IdM and trust
management therefore depend on each other in complex ways
because the correctness of identity itself must be trusted for the
quality and reliability of the corresponding entity to be trusted.
IdM is also an essential concept when defining authorization
policies in personalized services.
Establishing trust always has a cost [23], so that having
complex trust requirements typically leads to high overhead in
establishing the required trust. In order to reduce costs there
will be incentives for stakeholders to ”cut corners” regarding
trust requirements, which could lead to inadequate security.
The challenge is to design IdM systems with relatively simple
trust requirements. Cryptographic mechanisms are often a core
component of IdM solutions, e.g. for entity and data authentication. With cryptography it is often possible to propagate trust
from where it initially exists to where it is needed [41]. The
establishment of initial trust usually takes place in the physical
world, and the subsequent propagation of trust happens online,
often in an automated manner.
Research in identity management must deal with specific
challenges such as usability, robustness, privacy, adaptability,
scalability and trust. Due to the dynamic constraints of mobile
computing environments, limited computing capability, restricted user interface for mobile human-computer interaction,
power management issues, radio signal exposure, network
tracking capabilities and user privacy requirements, all these
challenges are amplified.
This article focuses on security and trust aspects of identity
management in mobile and Internet computing. In order to
set the scene Section II provides a high level overview of the
ICT evolution of the past 40 years. Section III then describes
the main principles of identity management in online environments. Section IV and Section V analyse current technologies
Computer Evolution
Mobile Network Evolution
Radio Network Evolution
Fig. 1.
Mobile & Ubiquitous
Computers, 2005
GSM / 2G
Web 2.0
LTE / 4G
Major innovation steps in the development of computer and network technologies.
for the management of user identities and SP identities respectively. Section VI provides a brief discussion of the main
challenges for identity management with concluding remarks.
The ability to exchange information through spoken and
written communication was an essential factor for the emergence of advanced human civilisations. The invention of the
printing press as a basis for mass distribution of information
was another milestone in the evolution of civilisation. Automated processing of digital information in global computer
networks is the latest addition to our information handling capability which has fundamentally transformed global markets
and social communities, and thereby our whole civilisation, in
a time span of only 40 years. Mobile computing brings this
evolution to an ever higher level through permanent access to
information anytime and anywhere.
A brief retrospective of the past 40 years is interesting for
the purpose of identifying the major technologies that form the
basis for Internet and mobile computing today. Fig.1 illustrates
some important milestones in the evolution of computers, the
Internet, and mobile and radio networks.
The first microprocessors were developed in the
early 1970s1 , and organisations quickly started to use
microprocessor-based computers for relatively intensive
computational tasks. The personal computer was launched by
IBM in 1981, with which digital computing became accessible
to the average consumer. The mobile phone started to become
a fully portable general purpose computing platform for the
average consumer around 20052 . Also somewhere in the
mid 2000s we saw the emergence of embedded computers,
ubiquitous computing and the Internet of Things3 , which
means that sensors, control units and other physical items
equipped with microprocessors could be connected to a local
network or directly to the Internet. During the period from
the 1970 until now, Moore’s law [39] has continued to be
1 An
Personal Computers
ARPANET / Internet
1969 .
Internet Evolution
early example was the Datapoint 2200 Microcomputer, from 1970.
2 The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet, launched in 2005, was the first general
purpose mobile computer, i.e. not just a portable computer.
3 Wireless weather station, invented by Ambient Devices in 2003 was an
early example of the Internet of Things.
valid, which implies doubling of microprocessor complexity
(in terms of number of transistors) every 18 months. By also
accounting for the increase in microprocessor clock speed, we
have been – and still are – witnessing more than a doubling
of the capacity of standard computing platforms every 18
months. In other words, a microprocessor anno 2013 is at
least 228 ≈ 400 million times more powerful than a similarly
sized microprocessor anno 1970. It also means that relatively
powerful microprocessors can be made extremely small and
thereby fit into even the tiniest objects.
The evolution of computer networks has gone through a
parallel and similarly spectacular growth as that of microprocessors. The Internet, which started as ARPANET in 1969 was
mostly used by researchers during the first decade. Uptake
of the Internet by commerce and the average user happened
around 1993 with the launch of the Mosaic web browser4 that
could graphically display digital documents encoded in HTML
format, and that could navigate the World-Wide Web of linked
online documents using the HTTP protocol5 . The emergence
of Web 2.0 from around 2003 transformed what originally was
a Web of mostly static information that could only be passively
read by users, into a Web of information that could be actively
created and edited by users.
In the domain of mobile phone networks, the GSM6
network, standardised by ETSI7 in 1990 and commercially
launched in 1991, was the first fully digital cellular mobile
network. A cellular network consists of adjacent radio coverage areas called cells with a radio coverage radius of between
35km (macro-cell) and 10m (femto-cell), where each cell is
served by a base station. Radio signals can be exchanged
between the base station and the mobile phones within the
cell, and the terminals can keep communicating while moving
between cells. GSM is a so-called 2G (2nd Generation)
network, where 1G (1st Generation) denotes earlier analogue
mobile phone networks, mostly incompatible with each other,
4 Mosaic was developed by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).
5 HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol, Tim Berners-Lee, 1990.
6 GSM: Global System for Mobile Communications. The original meaning
of GSM was Groupe Spécial Mobile.
7 ETSI: European Telecommunications Standards Institute.
that were used in many countries until they were replaced
by GSM technology. A GSM subscriber is able to make
and receive calls in most regions on our planet, a feature
made possible by having compatible technology in every
country, and through roaming agreements between operators
in different countries, whereby subscribers of one operator
are able to access – of course for an additional fee – base
stations and mobile networks belonging to other operators in
different countries. Interestingly, roaming between different
operators within the same country is usually not supported
because competing operators have no commercial incentive to
establish roaming agreements with each other. Unfortunately,
this can be a safety problem in a crisis situation in case one
network stops functioning, and the lack of roaming agreements
prevent subscribers of that network from making emergency
calls through other networks. A simple workaround which can
be used in emergency situations in case the home network
is unaccessible is to remove the SIM card from the phone,
thereby enabling emergency calls through any network. 2G
networks are connection-oriented, meaning that a specific
communication channel (radio frequency and time slot) is
reserved for each call. GPRS-based8 packet switching for
data was introduced with the 2.5G specification (i.e. 2G
with additional features) in 1998, and more widely deployed
with 3G (3rd Generation) cellular networks from 2000, while
still keeping the connection-oriented technology for voice. In
LTE/4G (Long Term Evolution) cellular networks, launched
in 2010, there is no longer any difference between voice and
data, i.e. everything is transmitted as packed switched data.
Mobile networks have the particular characteristic that the
mobile terminal always consists of (at least) two separate
computers. The first computer is a separate mobile microprocessor commonly called SIM9 card, which technically
speaking is a UICC10 , that is owned by the telco operator.
The second computer is the mobile phone itself, which is
owned by the user. A specific SIM card which identifies a
specific subscriber can thus be placed in (and removed from)
any mobile phone. Fig.2 illustrates how the two completely
separate microprocessors can be connected to the Internet
indirectly through the Mobile/PSTN11 network. Each of the
components can be seen as a separate computing platform
consisting of hardware and an appropriate software stack.
The fact that mobile phones contain microprocessors owned
by different parties has the potential to cause conflicts of
interest. Stakeholders in the computing and Internet industry
will try to control aspects of the mobile network infrastructure
of Fig.2 in order to protect and cultivate their own business
models. Mobile phone vendors and mobile app developers
are e.g. interested in having identity management applications
installed on the mobile device, possibly supported by cloud
services, whereas telcos might be interested in having these
Mobile / PSTN
SIM Card
Fig. 2.
Integration of mobile phone networks with the Internet
applications installed on the SIM card supported by the mobile
network infrastructure. Furthermore, organisations that provide
their employees with smartphones might want to control the
types of applications that can be installed, and the location
where data are being processed/stored, whereas employees
might want to install applications of their choice on the
smartphone. Hackers and criminals with malicious interests
are of course in conflict with all the previously mentioned
parties, as illustrated in Fig-3.
User /
Company /
Fig. 3.
Potential conflicts of interest in the mobile computing industry
There are several technologies for radio-based network
access with limited or no support for mobile roaming between
different radio cells/areas. WLAN12 radio networks based on
the IEEE 802.11 standard series is the most used digital radio
access network, originally introduced in 1990. A given WLAN
has an access point that covers an area with a maximum radius
of about 100 meters, typically shorter indoors and potentially
even longer outdoors. WLAN is increasingly replacing traditional cable-based LAN access, because it provides high
convenience and less cable clutter in home and office environments. Bluetooth is a medium range point-to-point radio
technology introduced by Ericsson in 1994 to provide wireless
communication between local devices that are separated by
a few meters, with an upper limit of around 10 meters for
typical battery powered class 2 devices, and of around 100
meters for the more powerful mains powered class 1 devices.
NFC13 is a short range point-to-point radio technology for
communication over a few centimeters up to a maximum of
20 centimeters. NFC was initially specified in 199614 and
was developed in conjunction with passive RFID15 tags that
receive energy through a magnetic field, which make them able
8 General
Packet Radio Service
Subscriber Identification Module.
10 UICC: Universal Integrated Circuit Card. SIM is in reality a software
module residing on the SIM Card.
11 PSTN: Public Switched Telephone Network.
9 SIM:
12 WLAN:
Wireless Local Area Network
Near Field Communication
14 NFC is developed by the Near Field Communication (NFC) Forum
15 RFID: Radio Frequency Identification
13 NFC:
to support contactless communication for identification and
tracking purposes. ZigBee is a low-cost, low-power, medium
range radio mesh network technology introduced in 200516
that can support communication over a few meters up to
a maximum of 75 meters. Since ZigBee is a radio mesh
technology, not just point-to-point, it has a different application
profile than those of WLAN, Bluetooth and NFC.
The combination of powerful ubiquitous microprocessors
with highly flexible wireless networking technologies provide
an extremely fertile ground for innovation and new business
models. However, given the many stakeholders involved, as
well as the increasing value and sensitivity of mobile and
Internet applications, a large number of new and serious threats
are emerging that must be balanced with adequate security
measures. Identity management represents an important class
of technologies for securing mobile and Internet computing.
Trust management can be seen as a general principle for
facilitating collaborations among entities in online environments based on a combination of security services, as well
as the collection, analysis and dissemination of information
about the quality of resources and remote parties. Trust
management stimulates collaboration and supports efficient
decision making. However, without the proper support of
identity management, trust management in online environments becomes impractical. Identity management and trust
management depend on each other in complex ways, e.g.,
because reliable identification is needed for evaluating trust
relationships between entities, and because the correctness of
identity itself must be trusted for accurate search, discovery,
recognition, connection and accounting. Identity management
is also an essential factor for access authorization, authentication, access control and for personalized services.
Research in trust and identity management faces a number of challenges, e.g., with regard to usability, robustness,
privacy, adaptability and scalability issues, etc. Due to the
characteristics of open mobile computing environments, limited computing capability, restricted user interface for mobile
human-computer interaction, power management issues, radio
signal exposure, network tracking capabilities and user privacy requirements, these research challenges become rather
daunting, but also highly interesting. This article provides an
overview of identity management, and discusses the role that
identity management plays for trusted interaction in mobile
and Internet computing.
An identity is a representation of a specific entity such as
a system, human user or a SP organisation within a specific
application domain. An identity consists of a set of attributes
that describe aspects of the entity. A digital identity is a set
of digitally represented attributes of an entity, where one of
the attributes typically is a name that uniquely identifies the
entity within a domain. For example, the registered personal
16 Supported by the ZigBee Alliance, a group of companies that maintain
and publish the ZigBee standard
data of a bank customer, and also the customer’s physical
characteristics that bank staff are able to recognise, constitute
aspects of the identity of the customer within the domain of
that bank. However, only the digitally registered customer data
represents the bank customer’s digital identity.
An essential component of identity management is the
namespace of unique names, which ideally should be global
and memorable. Unfortunately, no namespace can be designed
where names are unique, global and memorable simultaneously, which is one of the main challenges in identity management [10]. The legal name of a person or organisation is
usually not unique, in which case it can not be used to uniquely
identify a person or organisation. Instead some other unique
name such as a number must be used as unique identifier,
but number identifiers are typically hard to memorise, and are
often only applicable within a specif domain.
Identity attributes can have various properties, such as being
unique or ambiguous, transient or permanent, self-selected or
issued by an authority, suitable for human interpretation or
only by computers. The applicable attributes of an identity
depend on the type of entity being identified. For example,
gender applies to a person but not to organisations, whereas a
trademark logo typically applies to a company but usually not
to a person. The relationship between entities, identities and
attributes/names are shown in Fig.4 below.
consist of
Names /
Fig. 4.
Relationships between entities, identities and attributes
A simplifying assumption is that a single identity can not be
associated with more than one entity. Having multiple owners
of the same identity would not only be confusing, it would
also create opportunities for misuse. Shared entities may exist,
for example a family identity that includes several people.
However, from a philosophical point of view a family identity
is still owned by one entity, namely the group of people in the
family, and not by multiple individuals separately.
A person or organisation may have zero, one or more
identities within a given domain. For example, a person may
have two identities in a school system because he or she is
both a parent and a teacher at the school. The rules for registering identities within a domain determine whether multiple
identities for one entity are permitted. Even if prohibited by
policy, multiple identities for the same entity may still occur
in the system, e.g. in error or as a result of a malicious
intent. A person will of course have different identities in
different domains. For example, a person can have one identity
associated with being a customer in a bank, and another
identity associated with being an employee in a company.
Identity management is fundamental to electronic interaction and collaboration by providing a basis for other security
constructs, such as authorisation, access control, and reputation. Processes for IdM and access control can be grouped in
three separate phases, which are the configuration, operation
and termination phases, as illustrated in Fig.5.
of identity
Revocation of
of credentials
of credentials
for access
of identity
Fig. 5.
Phases of IdM and access control
In the configuration phase, a digital identity is registered,
and some form of authentication credentials is created and
provided to the user.
The term ”authorization” denotes the process of defining
access policy for an entity subsequently to the registration
of that entity. The authorization policy is typically translated
into formal access control rules that can be automatically
interpreted by a computer system. During operation, the access
control step approves or rejects access based on these access
rules (see e.g. [12, p.387] and [13]).
In the IT security literature the term ”authorization” is often
incorrectly used with the meaning of access approval, in the
sense that the systems grants the user access to the requested
resources, see e.g. RFC2904 [47]. However, the definition
of e.g. confidentiality is that only authorized entities shall
have access to information [20]. The incorrect interpretation
of authorization (i.e. that the system grants access) leads
to bizarre conclusions and disturbing inconsistencies. For
example, assume that a hacker cracks a password, and then
logs on to a system with the cracked password in order
to steal confidential information. According to the incorrect
definition of authorization the hacker would be authorized
when accessing the system with the cracked but correctly
typed password. An absurd consequence of this would be that
theft of information by the hacker does not represent a breach
of confidentiality. A further absurd consequence would be that
if the victim took the hacker to court, the hacker could claim
that he was authorized and thereby innocent, which technically
speaking would be correct. In order to avoid the possibility of
such scenarios it is important that the term authorization is
only used in the sense of access policy definition.
In the operation phase, the subject entity – which e.g. can
be a human user or a system entity – requests access to
resources controlled by an object entity such as a server. An
entity first claims its identity which then is authenticated by
the other entity. Mutual authentication requires that the user
authenticates the server, and the server authenticates the user.
After authenticating the user, the server control the acces
by comparing the requested access with the stored access
authorization policy, resulting in a decision to either approve
or reject access.
During the termination phase, active authorizations for an
identity are revoked and the identity de-registered so that the
identity can no longer be used for accessing resources. When
entities can have multiple identities in a domain it is possible
that an entity with a de-registered identity still has other
identities with active authorizations within the same domain.
The terms client and server are typically used to denote the
peer entities in a communication session, see e.g. the X.800
standard [20]. In reality, client and server systems are only
agents for legal and/or cognitive entities such as persons or
organisations. The human user and the SP organisation are
legal entities as well as cognitive entities. A person is assumed
to be a cognitive entity because is possesses its own nondeterministic free will, in contrast to system entities that are
considered to be deterministic without a free will. A legal
organisation can also be considered to be cognitive in the sense
that its actions are governed and executed by persons who
legally represent the organisation.
The main concern of identity management has traditionally
been efficient and secure management of user identities and
corresponding credentials [25] for user authentication, where
current technical solutions mainly consist of server side processes. However, digital identity management must cover both
user-side and server-side identities [21], resulting in two very
different types of identity management called user IdM and
SP IdM, as illustrated in Fig.6. For each IdM type there are
processes both at the user side and at the SP side.
User Identities
& Credentials
SP Identities
& Credentials
Fig. 6.
User Side
Service Provider Side
Processes for managing
user identities and
credentials on user side
Processes for managing
user identities and
credentials on SP side
Processes for managing
SP identities and
credentials on user side
Processes for managing
SP identities and
credentials on SP side
Identity management types and processes
By taking into account the distinction between system
entity (client or server) and legal/cognitive entity (person or
organisation) there are in fact two entities on each side of
a communication session, as illustrated in Fig.7. With this
general architecture it can be seen that there are 8 distinct
authentication classes. This analysis shows that the implicit
assumption of atomic entities made by the X.800 standard is a
simplifying abstraction which thereby hides important aspects
of entity authentication.
User Side
Server Side
SP Organisation (O)
Human User (U)
Client System (C)
Fig. 7.
Server System (S)
General entity authentication classes
The distinction between the human user and the client
system on the user side, as well as between the SP organisation and the server system on the server side leads to the
conclusion that each of the 4 entities can be authenticated in
2 different ways, resulting in 8 different classes of peer entity
authentication between the two sides, as illustrated in Fig.7
and described in Table I and Table II below.
[U → O]
[U → S]
[C → O]
[C → S]
Authentication of user-side entities
User (U) authentication by the SP organisation (O)
User (U) authentication by the server system (S)
(commonly called user authentication)
Client (C) authentication by the SP organisation (O)
Client (C) authentication by the server system (S)
[O → U]
[O → C]
[S → U]
[S → C]
Authentication of SP-side entities
SP organisation (O) authentication by the human user (U)
SP organisation (O) authentication by the user client (C)
Server (S) authentication by the human user (U)
(called cognitive server authentication)
Server (S) authentication by the user client (C)
Some of the entity authentication classes in Fig.7 are
relatively impractical, such as [C → O] and [O → C], but they
illustrate the generality of entity authentication when assuming
non-atomic user and server sides. The authentication class
[U → O] is e.g. practiced when authenticating customers over
the phone by asking questions about customer number, date of
birth, etc. The X.800 standard focuses on entity authentication
classes [C → S] and [S → C]. However, for online services
applications the entity authentication classes [U → S] (user
authentication) and [S → U] (cognitive server authentication)
are the most relevant. The importance of these authentication
classes emerges from the need for end-to-end security. In the
typical case where a human user accesses an online service,
semantic end-to-end communication takes place between the
human user (U) and the server system (S). It is therefore
pragmatic to require mutual authentication between those
two entities. Traffic encryption and authentication between
the server system (S) and user client (C) typically provides
communication confidentiality, but can not provide cognitive
server authentication in a meaningful way.
User identity management is frequently discussed in the
identity management literature, whereas SP identity management is mostly discussed in the network security literature.
This article discusses both types because they are both needed
for mutual authentication during online service provision.
There are differences in the principles and technologies
for user and SP identity management, so these are discussed
separately in Section IV and Section V below.
The principles and technologies for managing user identities
and credentials are different from the perspective of the server
side and the user side. On the server side there exist mature solutions such as CRM software17 and database directories such
as LDAP18 for this purpose. Handling of user registration and
password recovery is automated and efficient, and is an integral
part of user identity management on the SP side. However,
there is little technical support for user identity management
on the user side. There are various IdM models, which consist
of specific technologies and network architectures for handling
identities and credentials.
The silo IdM model assumes that each user has a separate
identifier-credential pair for each SP that the user accesses. The
term ”silo” reflects the characteristic that each SP operates an
identity domain like a silo that is isolated from other domains.
In this model the trust requirements between user and SP are
simple and well understood in the form of specific security
and privacy assumptions. In addition, the industry has had
several decades of experience with this model, and users are
familiar with it. The silo model has traditionally been used for
all types of access to online services and resources because it
has been relatively simple for SPs, but it is rapidly becoming
unmanageable for users. The extreme growth in the number
of online services based on the silo model has resulted in
identity overload and password fatigue. This is a form of
tragedy of the commons [15] which is the situation in case of
a common resource, such as a common village green, without
any centralised or common control. In the original case of the
tragedy of the commons the lack of centralised control resulted
in too many cows being allowed to graze on the common
green. The analogy between the tragedy of the commons and
the silo identity management model is that the human brains
represent the ”common”, and all SPs want to store user Ids
and passwords in each ”common brain”, but the SPs have no
common control of how many identities and passwords that
each brain has to remember. In this sense a password is the
analogy of a cow in the tragedy of the commons.
17 CRM:
18 LDAP:
Customer Relationship Management
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol
® 1999
WS Federation
Liberty 1.0
SAML 1.0
SAML 2.0
Shibboleth 2.0
V 2005
OpenID 1.0
OpenID 2.0
V 2010
OAuth 1.0
OAuth 2.0
TPM 2.0
Evolution of standards and technologies for user identity management.
In order to improve the user experience, and also for the
purpose of coordinating related services from different SPs,
new identity management models are being proposed and
implemented. Some of these models have relatively complex
trust requirements which can be a disadvantage for security.
Fig.8 illustrates the evolution of models and technologies for
user identity management over the last couple of decades.
Microsoft’s Passport model introduced in 1999 was among
the earliest attempts to solve the identity overload problem
for open networks. Passport assumed that every user would
register a unique Passport identity, and that SPs would let
users access their services with this identity. This also implied
that Microsoft would authenticate every user on behalf of the
SP (Service Provider). The online industry generally rejected
the Passport model because of the market power that this
model would have given to Microsoft. Due to minimal market
adoption Microsoft abandoned Passport in 2005.
The concept of federated identity management enables
different SPs to authenticate users on behalf of each other, and
implies some form of shared or mapped user identities so that
users can be recognised across different service domains. Identity federation also implies legal contracts between parties that
join a particular federation, in order to establish the required
trust for accepting authentication and security assertions from
each other. Shibboleth is a software implementation of identity
federation, and was first released in 2000. In later releases
Shibboleth has been adapted to comply with SAML19 , first
published in 2002 which is the most prominent standard for
identity federation. Parallel but incompatible standardisation
initiatives such as Liberty Federation20 started in 2002, and
WS Federation21 started in 2003, have been abandoned as a
result of the widespread acceptance of SAML. Parts of the
Liberty Alliance’s technical specifications have been integrated
in SAML 2.0 published in 2005. The Liberty Alliance changed
its name to the Kantara Initiative in 2010, and operates as an
industry policy group rather than a technical standardisation
OpenId is a model for identity federation where any party
can act as an identity provider, and as such is completely open
and distributed. OpenId has attracted considerable interest and
adoption in the market. However, OpenId in its original form
has severe trust and security weaknesses, so a specific usage
of OpenId often puts restrictions on which parties are allowed
to act as identity providers. CardSpace was a software module
integrated with the Explorer browser to support a new version
of Passport adapted to a federated identity model, and being
compatible with the OpenId model. This effort was again
rejected by the industry, and therefore abandoned in 2011. As a
replacement for CardSpace Microsoft announced in 2010 the
launch of the U-Prove identity and authorization model. UProve supports authentication of any type of identity attribute,
such as age and gender, not just a name. In case a websites
wants to restrict access to services and content based on user
characteristics such as age, U-Prove would represent a solution
for users to prove their age while remaining anonymous.
As a response to the need to allow closer integration of Web
2.0 services, the recent OAuth22 standard specifies methods for
third party access authorization that e.g. can give a social web20 Liberty
Federation was published by the Liberty Alliance.
Federation was developed and published by Microsoft and IBM.
22 OAuth: Open Authorization.
21 WS
19 SAML:
Card Space
TPM 1.2
Fig. 8.
V 2007
Shibboleth 1.2
WS Federation
Shibboleth 1.0
Security Assertions Markup Language, published by OASIS.
site (such as Facebook) access to e.g. a user’s address book at
an email SP (such as Gmail) without giving away the password
for the email provider. As a result of the explosive growth in
popularity of social websites, combined with technical IdM
solutions such as OpenId and OAuth, certain prominent social
websites such as Facebook and Twitter have become de facto
federated identity providers for large user groups, although this
was never intended when these websites were first started. It
is interesting to see that Microsoft was never able to become
a major federated identity provider in the same way despite
its efforts through Passport and CardSpace.
The massive popularity of the Facebook social community
has enabled Facebook to define and impose their own IdM and
authorization framework called Facebook Connect. Originally,
Facebook Connect was only a user authentication platform that
was quickly adopted by many other online service providers,
enabling users to access multiple different online services
by using their Facebook identities. More recently Facebook
Connect has also implemented functionality similar to that of
OAuth, which enables a user to authorize others to access
specific personal data stored in online accounts belonging to
the user.
The IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) introduced with GSM in 1991 is a unique identifier for mobile subscribers in any mobile network globally. The IMSI contains up
to 15 digits, where the first 3 digits represent the MCC (Mobile
Country Code), the next 2 digits represent the MNC (Mobile
Network Code) within the country, followed by up to 10 digits
representing the identification number of the subscriber within
the network. The IMSI is privacy protected, so the identity of
a subscriber is represented by a derived TMSI (Temporary
Mobile Subscriber Identity) which changes every time the
subscriber accesses a new mobile network. The IMSI stored on
the SIM card, combined with related cryptographic technology
running on the SIM card, provides reliable authentication of
the subscriber, and has a great potential as a general identifier
for user authentication in mobile and Internet applications [26].
However, due to the competitive advantage this would give to
the mobile operators, other stakeholders in the Internet and
financial industry have resisted initiatives aimed at using the
IMSI as a general purpose identifier in online IdM.
As a first approach to more general SIM-based IdM several
mobile operators have since 2008 started collaboration with
e.g. national authorities and the financial industry to store
private keys on the SIM card. A corresponding public-key
certificate is issued by the Id provider, which e.g. can be
the national government or a private bank, which thereby
represents a PKI commonly called a SIM PKI. The private
keys and their public-key certificates support strong user
authentication and digital signatures. It is interesting to note
that the IMSI is not the unique name stored in SIM PKI
certificates, instead the Id provider will use a unique name
related to their application, e.g. a social security number or a
bank customer number. The low degree of integration between
the GSM Id model, and Id models for Internet applications
reflects the conflict between stakeholders in the industry as
illustrated in Fig.3.
The TPM (Trusted Platform Module) is mentioned here as
part of user IdM because it provides a method for cryptographic authentication of the client platforms. The term ”TPM”
is at the same time the name of a set of specifications [45]
issued by the Trusted Computing Group, as well as the name
of the hardware chip that implements these specifications.
TPM chips are commonly installed in computer systems
shipped since 2006, with the purpose of providing a robust
hardware based mechanism for obtaining security assurance
about various integrity aspects of systems. The TPM chip
can e.g. be used to verify that the OS loader has not been
modified by malware, and can also be used to authenticate
(client) systems to external parties, which corresponds to client
authentication (class [C → S]) in Fig.7. TPM based system
authentication relies on the EK (Endorsement Key) pair which
is a public/private key pair that is unique for each TPM,
generated and installed by the manufacturer or the vendor
of the TPM. The EK pair is non-migratable and can only
be used in carefully controlled ways. Because the TPM chip
is physically mounted on the motherboard of the computer
system, the EK-pair uniquely identifies the same system. There
has so far been limited use of TPM functionality in the
industry. One reason for this is that there currently is no
PKI for validating data that has been signed by the private
key of the EK-pair. Although the principle of TPM-based
security and integrity assurance is powerful in theory, the
logistics, practical and political issues related to implementing
and rolling out TPM-based security solutions are relatively
complex, and failures could totally disrupt a system protected
by the TPM.
The term User-Centric Identity Management is often used
in the literature with different meanings. In the most general
sense it means identity management that enhances the user
experience. The federated identity models described above fall
under this category. In a more specific sense user-centric identity management means that there exists technology locally on
the client side that assists the users in managing identities, as
e.g. proposed in [25], and the term local user-centric identity
management can be used to designate this interpretation.
Modern IdM solutions based on the above mentioned standards and technologies are currently being implemented by
many solutions vendors and deployed in real environments
[44]. However, there are still many challenges, as reflected by
the many research projects focusing on IdM [34]. One particular area worth mentioning is that of password management
which recently has attracted increased interest [17], [1]. While
password management is a major security challenge for most
people, it is paradoxical that there are hardly any standards or
well recognised technologies for personal password management. It is for example a fundamental problem that passwords
need to be typed into online terminals where they reside in
system memory in cleartext format, which means that they
are exposed to potential malware residing on the terminal.
A golden principle – which unfortunately is challenging to
follow– is that passwords should never be present in cleartext
in client terminals that are online. Encrypting passwords would
not help, because a password will be present in cleartext
every time it gets decrypted to be used in an application.
As mobile devices have become general purpose computing
devices, they are affected with the same security vulnerabilities
as traditional commercial computers [11], so it is reasonable to
assume that every computer will be infected with some sort of
malware after being connected to the Internet over some time.
In order to avoid exposing passwords in online terminals, the
passwords must be stored in an offline terminal, e.g. in form
of the OffPad, an offline personal authentication device [33].
The challenge is then to find practical and user-friendly ways
of integrating a device like the OffPad with online identity
management solutions.
With regard to trust requirements in user IdM, the silo
model is clearly the simplest because it only depends on trust
between the SP and the user, whereas federated models require
relatively complex trust relationships between multiple parties.
However, the advantage of simple trust requirements for the
silo model comes at the cost of poor usability and scalability.
The aim of local user-centric IdM is to combine the advantage
of usability and simple trust relationships.
The risk level of a specific service reflects the potential negative impact in case of wrong authentication. Several national
governments have specified requirements for user authentication in order to balance the risk with appropriate authentication
assurance. Frameworks for user authentication in the public
sector typically specify a set of AALs (Authentication Assurance Levels). The requirements for each AAL are roughly
harmonized across the various national or regional frameworks
although there can be minor differences in interpretation. We
briefly review the following five national/regional frameworks
for user authentication.
• US EAG. Title: Electronic Authentication Guideline
(NIST SP800-63-1) [5]. Describes technical requirements
for user authentication assurance levels that are specified
in the E-Authentication Guidance for U.S. Federal Agencies [4].
• EU IDABC. Title: eID Interoperability for PEGS (PanEuropean eGovernment services): Proposal for a multilevel authentication mechanism and a mapping of existing
authentication mechanisms [14]. In principle only a proposed framework for user authentication across the EU,
but is nevertheless still widely adopted by subsequent EU
policies and technical requirements, such as the STORK
Quality authenticator scheme [19].
• Norwegian FANR. Title: Framework for Authentication
and Non-Repudiation in Electronic Communication with
and within the Public Sector [38]. User authentication
framework for the Norwegian Government sector, similar
to the NIST framework, but containing less details.
• Australian NeAF. Title: National e-Authentication
Framework [8]. Detailed and well structured framework
for user authentication published by the federal government of Australia. NeAF explicitly includes AAL-0
aimed at anonymous access as well as pseudonymous
user authentication.
Indian ePramaan. Title: ePramaan: Framework for eAuthentication [37]. Concise e-authentication framework
published by the Indian Government. Includes AAL-0
similarly to the earlier Australian NeAF.
The assurance level alignment of the above referenced
authentication frameworks is illustrated in Table III below.
The specific terms used for each level may differ, and the
same term is sometimes used for different levels in different
frameworks, which can be a source of confusion. However it
can be seen that there is a general consensus regarding the
numerical levels. In order to minimize confusion the easiest is
to simply refer to user authentication levels by their number,
e.g. as AAL-3, because it has the same meaning approximately
in every framework.
Authentication Assurance Levels
Little or no assurance
(USA) 2006
(EU) 2007
Little or no assurance
(Norway) 2008
(Australia) 2009
(India) 2012
Very High
Very Strong
The user authentication frameworks listed in Table III
describe various factors that contribute to the robustness of
the overall user authentication solution, such as
• Authentication Method Strength: The intrinsic robustness of the specific solution used for authentication,
such as password based, token based or biometrics based
authentication, as well as any combination of these to
form 2-factor solutions.
• Credential Management Assurance: The estimated reliability and security of creation, distribution, usage and
storage of the authentication credentials such as passwords, tokens and biometric profiles.
• Identity Registration Assurance: The thoroughness of
the process for enrolling new entities that are to be
authenticated by the system. In case an entity is to
be registered with identity attributes from other identity
domains, such as name and postal address, then the
registration strength will depend on the correctness of
these attributes when they are imported.
Authentication frameworks typically define a practical
scheme for determining the AAL as a function of the basic
authentication assurance factors. For example, in order to
achieve a specific AAL, there are minimum requirements for
the authentication method(s) used, for credentials management
and for identity registration.
1980 - 1989
1990 - 1999
Petname Model
Fig. 9.
Petname Toolbar
3G Network
Evolution of standards and technologies for SP identity management.
Service providers have identities and credentials that need
adequate management. Interestingly, the technologies used for
SP IdM are very different from those used for user IdM, because traditional server authentication (class [S → C]) mainly
takes place on the transport layer, whereas user authentication
(class [U → S]) mainly takes place on the application layer.
Fig.9 illustrates the evolution of fundamental standards and
technologies for SP IdM over the last four decades.
The names used to uniquely identity SPs online are typically
domain names and IP addresses that are managed under the
DNS23 which was introduced in 1983 to handle the growing
number of host names on the Internet. The mnemonic quality
of domain names with their mapping to numerical addresses
became a practical necessity when in the early 1980s the
Internet technology moved out of the research labs into mainstream society, and the user base started to grow exponentially.
Many new companies and organisations became known to their
customers by their distinctive domain names (e.g.
or, and almost any other organisation needed to
select a domain name that appeared as attractive as possible
while at the same time being syntactically distinct from all
other domain names. Consequently, domain names gained
economic, social, cultural as well as political value, and often
became the object of competition and dispute. This source
of conflict still puts the management and the evolution of the
DNS, a central element of Internet governance, under constant
political and legal pressure. The DNS has to be carefully
developed and managed to best serve its billions of users of all
nationalities with their different languages and special needs.
Security threats against the DNS are many [3], [32], which
reduces the assurance in DNS responses such as IP address
translations from domain names. The technical solution to this
problem is DNSSEC (DNS Security Extension), described in
RFC4033 [2], which was designed to protect Internet resolvers
(clients) from forged DNS data, e.g. due to DNS cache
Domain Name System
Extended Validation
X.509 Certificates
23 DNS:
2010 - 2019
2000 - 2009
poisoning attacks. All answers received with DNSSEC are
digitally signed. Through validation of the digital signature a
DNS resolver gets the assurance that the information received
is identical (correct and complete) to the information on the
authoritative DNS server, i.e. that the information has not
been corrupted. While protecting the integrity of returned IP
addresses is the immediate concern for many users, DNSSEC
can protect other information too, and RFC4398 describes
how to use it to protect standard public-key certificates stored
as CERT records [31], thereby making it possible to use
DNSSEC to distribute such certificates. However, the scheme
proposed in RFC4398 [31] does not exploit the potential of
DNSSEC for direct certification of domain names and IP
addresses. The recent RFC6698 [18] proposes the ”DANE
TLSA” protocol which uses DNSSEC as a basis for distributing certificates for TLS. This would allow the elimination of
trust required in third party CAs, and would therefore provide
a significantly stronger security assurance than that which
currently can be provided by the browser PKIX [7], the PKI
with X.509 certificates currently used with web browsers. With
a proper implementation and widespread deployment of the
DANE TLSA protocol it would be possible to phase out the
problematic browser PKIX described below.
Since its introduction in 1995, TLS/SSL combined with
PKIX based on X.509 public-key certificates has been the
most common form of server authentication. While TLS
provides cryptographically strong server authentication, and
optionally client authentication as well, it provides very weak
real authentication in a semantic sense. This is because the
actual implementation of TLS and PKIX has vulnerabilities
that make them relatively easy targets of attack.
Fig.10 illustrates the PKIX implementation in browsers
which consists of multiple hierarchical PKIs where each
root certificate is stored in the browser, thereby enabling the
browser to automatically validate any certificate issued under
any of the roots [28].
The fact that PKIX in browsers consists of multiple separate independent PKIs means that its reliability follows the
Pre-stored certificates
Root CA
Intermediate CA
Server certificates
Automatic validation
Fig. 10.
Browser PKIX trust structure
principle of the weakest link, i.e. the whole PKIX is only as
secure as the weakest of each separate PKI, and each separate
PKI is only as strong as the weakest of its CA members. In
other words, each CA is a single point of failure as explained
in [16], [42].
The PKIX certificate market is primarily held by a small
number of multinational companies. This market has significant barriers to entry since new providers must undergo
annual security audits (such as WebTrust24 for Certification
Authorities) to be included in the list of web browser trusted
authorities. Once approved as a provider of PKIX certificates
for browsers, a CA will get its root certificate distributed with
the major browsers to billions of users worldwide. More than
50 root certificates are installed and thereby automatically
trusted in the most popular web browser versions. A 2009
market share report from Netcraft [35] showed that VeriSign
and its acquisitions (which include Thawte and Geotrust) held
a 47.5% share of the PKIX certificate market, followed by
GoDaddy (23.4%), and Comodo (15.44%).
Crititicism of the relatively weak authentication assurance
provided by PKIX prompted the CA industry to introduce the
so-called Extended Validation (EV) Certificates in 2007. An
EV Certificate is an X.509 public key certificate that contains
an additional tag to indicate that it is issued according to a
specific policy that sets requirements for verifying the real
world identity of the requesting entity before an EV certificate
is issued. In case of EV certificates the owner domain name
can be traced back to a real world legal entity. When a https
connection is based on an EV certificate the browser typically
displays the address line on a green background instead of the
normal white background. EV certificates are more expensive
than ordinary certificates due to the required additional identity
check of certificate owners. The CA industry promotes EV
certificates by saying that they provide higher trust than
traditional certificates. Some websites – such as online banks
– feel forced to buy EV certificates because they assume
that customers expect to see the green address line as a sign
of trustworthiness, so that they could lose customers by not
buying EV certificates. However, criminal organisations can
also buy EV certificates, so an EV certificate obviously gives
no indication with regard to the honesty and reliability of the
certificate owner. EV certificates are also affected by the same
vulnerabilities as those of traditional certificates described
above. EV certificates represent a source of increased revenue
for the CA industry, but do not make PKIX any more secure.
Despite being based on strong cryptography, there are a
number of security exploits that TLS combined with PKIX
can not prevent [27]. For example, phishing attacks normally
start by sending email messages that trick people to access
a fake web site masquerading as a genuine web site that
e.g. prompts the user to provide user Id and password. In
a technical sens the fake phishing website can be correctly
authenticated through TLS. However, from a semantic point
of view this is not authentication because the website’s identity
is different from that of the intended website. The problem is
due to the poor authentication usability provided by current
implementations of TLS [22], [24].
According to the X.800 standard [20], entity authentication is defined as: ”The corroboration that a peer entity
in an association is the one claimed”. So in case a victim
user intends to connect to https:\\,
but is tricked into connecting to a phishing website called
https:\\, then the server certificate
claims that the server identity is which
then is correctly authenticated according to X.800. Nevertheless, something is clearly wrong here, and the failure to capture
this security failure indicates that the above definition of entity
authentication is inadequate. What is needed is a stronger
modality of authentication called cognitive authentication [30],
[29] which can be defined as follows: ”The verification by the
cognitive relying party that the identity of the other entity in
a communication session is as claimed, and in addition the
examination by the cognitive relying party of the true nature
of the other entity in order to decide if it is acceptable to
connect to that entity.”
When analysing the current browser implementation of TLS
from a security usability perspective it can be seen that it
provides week assurance of cognitive server authentication,
which is precisely why phishing attacks often succeed [30].
Most phishing sites are set up without server certificates, but
some phishing sites do use server certificates that normally
are automatically validated by the browser. Most attackers
probably see server certificates as an unnecessary expense
because phishing works fine without certificates anyway. The
typical phishing victim often does not know the difference
between a http connection (without certificate) and a https connection (with certificate and TLS). The above example clearly
shows that current certificate based TLS implementations in
browsers do not provide practical server authentication. It
would make sense to use TLS in Anonymous Diffie-Hellman
mode without server certificates because it provides communication encryption without the cost of buying certificates.
However, the Anonymous Diffie-Hellman mode is disabled
by default in most browsers, presumably because theoretically
it does not support server authentication. Ironically, current
browser implementations of TLS with certificates also do not
support server authentication, so using TLS with or without
certificate makes no difference in practice.
Reliable identification and authentication of online entities
require globally unique names that can be understood by
people. Domain names partially satisfy this requirement and
have therefore been chosen to represent the online identity
of organisations. However, confusion arises in case different
domain names appear similar, or when an organisation uses
multiple domain names. This is precisely the situation we saw
in the phishing example above.
The fundamental problem is that, although domain names
are designed to be readable by humans, they are not userfriendly for identifying organisations in the real world. Ordinary names are suitable for dealing with organisations in
the real world, but not for global online identification and
authentication. The consequence of this mismatch between
names used in the online world and in the real world is that
users do not know which unique domain name to expect when
accessing online services. Without knowing which domain
name to expect, authentication becomes meaningless. In other
words, the users do not know what security conclusion to draw.
Three desirable properties of a name were identified by
Bryce ”Zooko” Wilcox-O’Hearn in his influential web article
published in 2001 [48]. According to Wilcox-O’Hearn a name
should ideally be Global25 , Unique26 and Memorable27 . To
be memorable, a name has to pass the so-called “passing
bus test”[36]. That is, if one can correctly remember a name
written on a moving bus for a definite amount of time, e.g. 10
minutes after the bus passed, then that name can be considered
memorable. A name will be unique if it is collision-free within
the domain [43] and has the property that it cannot be “forged
or duplicated”or “mimicked”. Wilcox-O’Hearn also claimed
with supporting evidence that no name could have all the three
desirable properties simultaneously, and suggested to choose
any two of them according to different scenarios. Any attempt
to define a name space that combines all three properties could
lead to the following problems:
1) Dependency on a third party which could monopolize
the system and create a single point of failure [48].
2) Political and legal conflicts arising when a name becomes a trademark for different companies locally in
different regions and those companies compete for the
same name when it reaches the global scale [40].
3) Unintentional confusion between almost similar names,
for example typical confusion between two web addresses, e.g. and, are widely
exploited by cyber-squatting and typo-squatting attacks.
Intentional confusion caused by e.g. phishing attacks
represent serious security threats [43].
The triangle of Fig.11 where each of the three desirable
properties of names are placed in one of the corners is
commonly known as Zooko’s triangle, and represents the basic
foundation for the Petname Model [48], [10].
25 Called
Decentralized in [48]
Secure in [48]
27 Called Human-Meaningful in [48].
26 Called
No names
Fig. 11.
Zooko’s triangle
The idea of placing the three properties at the three corners
of a triangle can be explained as follows. In a triangle the
three corners are never connected by a single line, only pairs
of corners are connected. Placing those three properties in
the three corners of the triangle provides a visual analogy
to the fact that a name can only achieve two of the desirable
properties at any one time.
The Petname Model allows all three desirable properties to
be unified by using a combination of petnames and pointers.
It requires each user to create personal petnames to represent
globally unique pointers for services that she intends to access
in the future. When a specific service is accessed, the user
recognises it by its petname, not by its pointer. For this purpose
a petname tool is typicality used, which makes it easy to
manage the list of mappings between petnames and pointers,
and which automatically translates pointers into petnames. The
Petname Toolbar for the Firefox web browser has e.g. been
developed to support petname based trust management [6].
The main motivation was to show the potential implementation
of the Petname Model to counter phishing attacks.
Whenever we move from one website to another by clicking
a hyper-link at the first site, there are two types of transitions
that take place. One is the website transition that takes us to the
next website. The second one is the transition of trust which
enables us to retain or discard the trust relationship with the
next website. We have different types of trust relationships
with different entities, and may trust one entity more than
another for specific trust scopes. For example, when a user
wants to buy something from an e-commerce website, he may
not trust to give his credit card credentials to that site, but
he may trust PayPal. In this case, after choosing the item,
the website may take him to the PayPal web page and he
completes the transaction there. But the problem here is to
make sure that the e-commerce site takes him to the right
PayPal site, not to a fraudulent one. Currently, users are
supposed to follow a set of steps to validate the identity of
a website: 1) check if the target URL in the address uses
the encrypted https protocol instead of the unencrypted http
protocol, 2) check if the received server certificate is issued
by some trusted authority, and 3) check if the domain of the
accessed site matches the domain specified in the certificate.
Not only do these steps put a significant mental load on
the user who therefore often omits them, they even fail to
consider whether the website is the one that the users intend
to access [22]. These vulnerability then allow phishing attacks
to succeed. Security is often a secondary consideration for
users [9], where the primary goal normally is to complete a
transaction to buy the desired item. This induces the user to
ignore crucial security factors. So a malicious e-commerce
site may exploit the technique of typo squatting, a technique
in which similar domain names that only vary in one or two
letters are utilized, e.g. as represented by
When the fake website looks identical to the genuine PayPal
website, most users will be tricked into believing that the fake
website is genuine. That is, transition of trust may not take
place as desired.
By using a petname system this type of confusion – and
phishing attack – is avoided through enabling manual trust
evaluation by the user while the transition takes place [6],
[10]. More specifically, a petname system in combination with
e.g. TLS can provide cognitive server authentication, which
is precisely the security service needed to prevent phishing
2G/GSM mobile networks were subject to attacks through
the use of rogue base stations and cryptanalysis of weak
ciphers. This allowed attackers to intercept and control cryptographic material which in turn enabled the attackers to
eavesdrop on the mobile radio channel and to create false
SIMs. The original GSM security design did not support
mobile network authentication, because the designers of GSM
had overlooked the threat of false base stations. One of the
priorities in the security design of 3G was therefore to provide
mobile network authentication, as illustrated in Fig.9. This
security feature is mostly transparent to users because they
will normally not verify that the phone is connected to any
specific mobile network. Instead the SIM will automatically
verify that it is accessing a mobile network that is trusted by
the user’s own mobile operator. Assuming that the necessary
feature is available on the mobile phone, the user is normally
able to inspect the name of the mobile network accessed by
the phone at any one time. However, this solution does not
support strong human cognition of the mobile network identity.
A mobile network us uniquely identified by the combination of
the 3 digit-MCC (Mobile Country Code) and the 2-digit MNC
(Mobile Network Code) relative to each country. Although
this identifier is unique it is cognitively difficult for users to
recognise a specific mobile operator by this number only. For
that reason there is usually an associated network name, but
this name is not globally unique, thereby creating a potential
for confusion. In case the user requires strong assurance and
cognition of the mobile network identity then the petname
model could be used here as well.
In contrast to the existence of frameworks for user authentication as described in Section IV there are no government
frameworks for SP authentication. Also, the lack of focus on
SP authentication by the user is a blind spot in the Internet
security literature. More focus on robust and user-friendly
solutions for SP authentication is therefore required, e.g. by
specifying requirements for SP authentication assurance levels
[30]. From a usability perspective there is a great potential
for developing solutions for combining both user and SP IdM
on the user side. One approach in this regard is to use the
OffPad – already described for user IdM in Section IV – to
also handle SP IdM, e.g. by installing a petname application
on the OffPad.
The intention of this article is to review identity management technologies and analyse their ability to support trusted
interaction in Internet and mobile computing. In particular we
have shown that there is a significant difference between user
identity management and service provider identity management. Mobile applications have similar security and privacy
issues as Internet applications. However, as new services are
accessible through mobile computing new challenges emerge,
ranging from usability, security and privacy. This article provides a snapshot of current technologies with new technologies that can provide trust assurance in identity management
solutions. The evolution timelines show that this is a rapidly
evolving area where the continuous innovation regularly brings
disruptve market changes. Our study shows that identity management solutions with relatively complex trust requirements,
such as federated identity systems, can provide a relatively
good user experience, but that they can be challenging to
implement and operate in a secure way. On the other hand,
identity management solutions with simple trust requirements,
such as silo identity systems, traditionally provide relatively
poor user experience and do not scale well, but can provide
strong security and are simple to implement. The challenge
is thus to develop identity management solutions with simple
trust requirements that at the same time scale well and provide
satisfactory user experience.
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