A lot of identity providers, including Google, Microsoft and Apple, ask the users for their username first, and then proceed to the password input in a follow-up step – if at all! The future world will be passwordless. So it won’t make sense to gather any password in the future.
The edu-ID login has caught up to get ready for a passwordless world. As of 9 August 2023, the edu-ID login window has changed so that users first need to enter their e-mail address. In a next step, they enter their password.
This is an important change to support Passkeys for the edu-ID login in the near future. Users having Passkeys enabled will enter their username and then log in with their Passkeys instead of their password. That is, the edu-ID login first needs to know the user in order to decide which login method is the user’s preferred one.
We are sure that edu-ID users will embrace this new process as most of them are already familiar with it from other identity providers.
Windows users can now extend their SSO feeling to the SWITCHaai login page, provided their client is a member of a Windows domain. They no longer need to re-enter their username and password they’ve already entered to log in to the Windows desktop. Actually, Kerberos enabled non-Windows clients like Linux or Mac could profit of such enhanced SSO, too.
The Shibboleth Identity Provider (IdP) achieves this through SPNEGO-based Kerberos authentication (i.e. password-less web authentication via Kerberos). While version 2 of the Shibboleth IdP supported this through an extension, the Shibboleth IdP version 3 provides built-in support through the SPNEGO/Kerberos Login Flow authentication mechanism.
The SPNEGO/Kerberos Login Flow module was developed in co-operation by SWITCH and the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW). As the FHNW already developed the extension for the IdP v2, they brought their existing experience into the project to re-implement the same functionality for IdP v3. Eventually, the SPNEGO/Kerberos Login Flow got an integral part of the Shibboleth Identity Provider version 3.2.0 in November 2015 and has been available since then.
The SPNEGO/Kerberos Login Flow has proven to run successfully on the IdPs of the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz and the Pädagogische Hochschule Bern, since these IdPs were migrated to IdP v3.
To use the SPNEGO-based authentication, the following prerequisites must be fulfilled:
- A Kerberos infrastructure must be available (e. g. a Windows domain).
- The IdP server must be registered as a Kerberos service at the Kerberos Key Distribution Center (KDC).
- Kerberos client software must be installed on the IdP server.
- The Shibboleth Identity Provider software must be configured accordingly.
- The web browsers on the clients require specific configuration to use this authentication method.
Organisations being interested in using the SPNEGO-based authentication on their own IdP can find comprehensive documentation in the Shibboleth Wiki: SPNEGO/Kerberos Login Flow
SPNEGO-based authentication is also offered as an option to the Identity Provider Hosting service provided by SWITCH.