The FIDO Alliance is quite a story, from a small start up organization two years ago with half a dozen members to more than 150 members including some of the largest Internet and telecommunications companies.
The final 1.0 drafts of its two specifications – Universal Authentication Framework and Universal 2nd Factor — will enable members to create products and systems that enable strong authentication across a range of products.
With the spec released products can go through certification, says Phillip Dunkelberger, CEO at Nok Nok Labs. Nok Nok had a number of products that it will take through the process so they are certified to work with out FIDO-ready products.
While the specification has just been released, Nok Nok Labs wasn’t standing still, Dunkelberger says. The company has 18 pilots in various stages of pilot of proof of concept. “These are some big enterprises, we’re talking millions of users,” he adds.
Products should start receiving certification around the end of the first quarter of 2015 and large-scale rollouts will begin after that, Dunkelberger says.
FIDO Alliance spec details
The specifications outline a new standard for devices, servers and client software, including browsers, browser plugins, and native app subsystems. Any web site or cloud application can interface with a variety of existing and future FIDO-enabled authenticators, ranging from biometrics to hardware tokens, to be used by consumers, enterprises, service providers, governments and organizations of all types.
Keeping with the FIDO Alliance mission, both specifications are unencumbered by FIDO member patents. Members are free to implement and market solutions around FIDO-enabled strong authentication, and non-members are free to deploy those solutions. As previously announced, current implementations available in the market include those from Alibaba and Samsung as well as Google.
While the core 1.0 specifications are final, the FIDO Alliance is nearing completion of extensions that will incorporate Near Field Communications and Bluetooth into the range of FIDO capabilities. Continuing evolution of the specifications based on new requirements and deployments will help ensure alignment of FIDO standards with demands in the consumer devices, online services and enterprise markets.