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U2F - Beyond the SE API

From: Anders Rundgren <anders.rundgren.net@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 2014 16:34:21 +0100
Message-ID: <5300DA7D.3050109@gmail.com>
To: sysapps <public-sysapps@w3.org>
Hi Guys,

I guess you haven't bothered "deciphering" my pretty lengthy SKS architecture document and maybe also ignored my numerous rants regarding the SE API?

You don't have to either because Google have published some excellent documentation on their (and FIDO alliance's) recently introduced U2F (Universal Two Factor) authentication scheme.

If you read the fine-print you can see that U2F is much more than yet another SE API, it is actually more like a Security Architecture for Keys!

http://fidoalliance.org/specs/fido-u2f-application-isolation-through-facet-identification-v1.0-rd-20140209.pdf

  "Windows and Mac OS are in the process of being able to isolate and identify applications
   similar to mobile operating systems. Until such mechanisms become available, we
   can provide best-effort app identification (but obviously with much lower reliability)."

That is, without a fairly deep cut in the OS you won't be able to reap the benefits of this SE API.

This is another reason why I consider an SE API a less suitable topic for sysapps because U2F defines a specific trust model and it is not the only one imaginable.  In fact, SKS is also based on a specific trust architecture which is pretty close to GlobalPlatform while executing in the OS/TEE layer rather than in the SE.

The only remaining option (except for adopting U2F) seems to be creating a half-baked SE API that won't match up with U2F.

Anders
Received on Sunday, 16 February 2014 15:34:50 UTC

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