Two or More Factors for edu-ID

A representative from a larger higher education organisation in Switzerland recently stated that they identify roughly 40 compromised user accounts on average per month. Extrapolating this number for  all Swiss AAI users, this number would grow to more than 1’000 compromised accounts per month. Many of them are probably not even detected. Many of them probably belong to young students who may not always take proper care of their credentials. But every now and then, also staff members and professors learn about the nightmares of impersonation of their digital identity. So, how can edu-ID support SWITCHaai services to enhance authentication security? Continue reading “Two or More Factors for edu-ID”

E-ID law: SWITCH contributing to parliamentary hearing

At its meeting on 1 June 2018, the Federal Council adopted a dispatch to Parliament containing a draft for an E-ID law (see corresponding press release in DE, FR and IT; for follow-ups see “18.049 Business of the Federal Council”).

The National Council’s legal commission now runs the business. On 15.11.2018, it held a hearing with representatives of industry, public corporations, potential providers of E-ID solutions and interested parties from civil society. As a potential provider, SWITCH was able to take part in this hearing.

This draft E-ID law largely follows the preliminary draft consulted last year (press release with link to consultation report at page bottom). It does not come as a surprise, therefore, that the position of SWITCH expressed towards the preliminary draft also applies to the new draft law – including the criticism voiced therein. Continue reading “E-ID law: SWITCH contributing to parliamentary hearing”

There Can Be Only One!

As a child of the 80’s, of course I have seen the movie “Highlander”. In our “clone wars” (referencing Star Wars) against edu-ID duplicate accounts, I therefore remember the famous high lander quote “there can be only one”. Slightly adapted, this quote fits: “There can be only one edu-ID account per person”. Thanks to the automatic merging process described in this article, we now have the weapon in our hands to reach this goal.

Continue reading “There Can Be Only One!”

Clone Wars

Duplicate user accounts on a single system are sooner or later causing a nightmare. One ambition of the SWITCH edu-ID has always been the prevention of duplicate user accounts. However, only a few weeks after the edu-ID launch in 2015 we already found indications for a couple of duplicate accounts. How did that come about and what can we do to prevent duplicate accounts?

Continue reading “Clone Wars”

New article “In The Code: Nur ein Passwort für alles? “

Is one password for everything the right way? Could E-ID be a suitable solution to facilitate users life? Christoph Graf discusses such questions and explains how SWITCH edu-ID fits in the ID landscape and what our expectations about E-ID would be. Read more (in German)

Sending Users on the Right Path

This blog post describes the edu-ID Login Link composer that allows initiating certain processes that an edu-ID user goes through to login, register or complete his user attributes.

In a previous blog post we presented how AAI Service Provider (SP) administrators can customize the edu-ID registration and login pages individually for their service. However, an SP administrator can not only brand the edu-ID pages with a custom logo or custom text but he can also influence the process itself used when users register, login or when they complete their account data. Examples of such process modifications are:

  • To send a user automatically to a specific URL after registration or login
  • To make a user first provide a specific verified or unverified attribute (e.g. mobile number or home postal address) and then send him back to the service

Both of these example scenarios have been used for instance by the Swissbib service for several months. Swissbib users sometimes have to provide a verified mobile number and/or postal address before they get access to national license content, which – by agreement – should be only available to residents of Switzerland.

So, how can an AAI SP administrator customize the edu-ID processes to implement the above and more scenarios? All that is needed is to send the user on the right path, or rather to the right URL. For all those not wanting to get familiar with the technical details of how these URLs have to be composed to achieve a certain process change, we have created a useful tool that makes the URL generation very easy: The edu-ID Login Link Composer.

Screenshot edu-ID Login Link Composer
Screenshot of edu-ID Login Link Composer

The edu-ID Login Link Composer consists of a form with several inputs that are used to generate a link which triggers the requested behaviour. The user then just has to be sent  to the generated URL to start the process.

Try out the edu-ID Login Link Composer with your own AAI service.

Identity Management Evolution

What does it take for a university to adopt the SWITCH edu-ID? This is the question SWITCH and seven partners (EPFL, FHNW, UNIFR, UNIGE, UNIL, UNISG and ZHAW) are addressing in the project “Swiss edu-ID Deployment Step 1” as part of swissuniversities’ program «Scientific information». The project advanced nicely and would justify an article on its own. But let’s draw your attention to an interesting side product of this project: we learned how electronic identities are managed in our community – and how the approaches are evolving over time and why.

Continue reading “Identity Management Evolution”

Consultation on draft of federal E-ID law

At its meeting on 22 February 2017, the Swiss Federal Council opened a consultation on legislation on electronic identification (E-ID law, see announcements: DE, FR, IT). The consultation ended 29 May 2017.

SWITCH participated in this consultation and confirms the importance of a well-functioning and generally accepted E-ID. The identity service SWITCH edu-ID/SWITCHaai could potentially benefit from such an E-ID legislation: either to start offering an E-ID function itself, or by consuming E-ID services. Such use cases – from SWITCH and from other parties – may become important drivers for the spread of E-ID beyond pure e-government applications and for the emergence of an general-purpose E-ID ecosystem.

After evaluating the proposed delivery model in the draft E-ID-law, SWITCH proposes its revision. To ensure swift implementation and to reduce risks and complexity, SWITCH urges that the proposed market model be abandoned in favour of an implementation by the Swiss Confederation itself or by mandating it to a third party.

If the market model is to be pursued nevertheless, SWITCH proposes the use of a multi-stakeholder expert group to resolve the many open questions arising from the draft. If this group can not achieve its objectives, the market model is to be abandoned once and for all in favour of the proposed government-driven implementation model for an E-ID.

You are invited to read the full answer of SWITCH to the consultation (in German): 20170529 Vernehmlassungsantwort SWITCH E-ID-Gesetzesentwurf.

 

Bye-bye Cloud ID – Welcome SWITCH edu-ID

About 27,000 people have got mailing from the SWITCH edu-ID team April 19:
Instead of their former Cloud ID account, SWITCH edu-ID would be used as from 1st May  2017 in order to access the services SWITCHdrive and SWITCHengines.

But how should the vast majority of those users, who did not already have a SWITCH edu-ID account, come to such an identity?

Changeover without effort for 98% of users

The usual way to generate a SWITCH edu-ID account is self-registration – this in line with the principle of user centrism. However, in this case the new accounts were generated automatically in order to spare users effort.
Users who have linked their SWITCH edu-ID account with their existing AAI account(s) have substantially facilitated proper account assignment and account aggregation during conversion. Continue reading “Bye-bye Cloud ID – Welcome SWITCH edu-ID”

Trust in federated AAI: with a particular attention to SWITCHaai

SWITCHaai has a long and successful history in enabling access to hundreds of mainly academic web resources by reusing the authentication mechanisms at the heart of participating organisations.

When joining the SWITCHaai team a couple of years ago, I noticed two things about trust: a) it was just there, and b) no one talked about it. “Trust is established when no one talks about it anymore” someone said. It made me wonder how such a unique construction could be there and just work. There must have been many detailed questions that had to be resolved to get to that point! My curiosity was piqued, so, I started delving into this fascinating topic. How come all of these many service providers, identity providers, end users, organisations and federation partners, commercial or not, just do what the others would expect from them and don’t break trust?

Let’s start with an overview of the roles within an identity federation and their particular expectations towards each other and the federation as a whole. Continue reading “Trust in federated AAI: with a particular attention to SWITCHaai”

eduKEEP: Promoting the Swiss edu-ID Concept Internationally

With the Swiss edu-ID SWITCH will introduce many new features and enhancements to the already well established SWITCHaai service. However, one aspect is not just an improvement, but rather a paradigm shift: the change from organisation-centric to user-centric identity management.

Continue reading “eduKEEP: Promoting the Swiss edu-ID Concept Internationally”

Are you aware of other eID initiatives?

This is one of the questions we answer quite often – and the answer is “yes”. Of course we do observe initiatives within Switzerland (mainly eGovernment related) and abroad, and including international projects with common tasks and possible synergies. In addition to simply monitor what others do, we build relationships, exchange know-how, evaluate eID initiatives of other National research and education networks (NRENs), provide advice for groups who only yet start with federation projects, and SWITCH is active in international projects as GEANT.
Hereafter you find some examples of initiatives and projects, their goals and concepts, common activities (if any), and some ideas about common interests or possible synergies.

Continue reading “Are you aware of other eID initiatives?”

eID for Switzerland is on the road

Imagine you get a Swiss electronic identity. What should it look like?
Fedpol
asked the Swiss edu-ID team to comment on their concept of a federal eID.

A starting point
In Sweden more than 50% of citizens already have an eID – an identity originally issued by the private sector (as banks) and developed further towards a standardised identity assertion and a more federated approach. Meanwhile, in Switzerland the foundation for a federal electronic identity will now be laid by presenting an eID concept to the Federal Council and then by starting the process to implement it in law.

As e-identities are widely used in Switzerland and also issued by several organisations (SuisseID, MobileID, Swiss edu-ID etc.), in May 2015 the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) started a consultation about the proposed eID concept. SWITCH provided our statement among a group of 68 companies and institutions with expertise in Identity Management. Now the interpretation of the answers and conclusions are available.

Continue reading “eID for Switzerland is on the road”

Keep your e-portfolio with Swiss edu-ID

An e-portfolio is often a high investment in time and effort. It’s the proof of a students study progress over the years (learning portfolio), a collection of knowledge, files and links, or perhaps a career portfolio containing all information and documents relevant for the CV.

Now it’s possible to keep and further develop an e-portfolio after studies with a Swiss edu-ID. Once the Swiss edu-ID is linked to a valid AAI identity  a user will be able to migrate his/her e-portfolio to SWITCHportfolio (if LEAP2A compatible) and to access it also in the future with his/her Swiss edu-ID.

Read more …