Authentication: Articles on oAuth, OpenID, Single Sign On, Federated Login & More

The password has truly become the bane of most Internet users. It's been that way since ... well, since Web sites required you to log into them with a user name and password. Just think of how many passwords you have. It's probably more than a couple. Keeping track of them can be an almost impossible chore.

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Across all fields of computer security, phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire private information by a user pretending to be someone they're not. While the digital world continues to change at a fast pace, so do the tactics to exploit security weaknesses, with new electronic communication threats appearing everyday. As OpenID restructures the way in which millions transfer data online, a wave of new phishing dangers exist.

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This is second article of a two part series. Read Part 1: Inception to Implementation

Part 2: A Review of Instant Personalization’s Implementation

The first thing users will notice about nearly all of the Instant Personalization-privileged websites is that they let users know they’re being Instantly Personalized for by displaying the thumbnail version of the user’s profile pic and name at the top right corner of the screen with a message informing them that Facebook Instant Personalization is being used to tailor their experience.

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Part 1: Inception to Implementation

Since introducing its API to the public in 2006, Facebook’s slow but steady branching out has taken users from the launch of Facebook Platform in 2007, which allows third party developers to build social applications within Facebook (e.g. Farmville), to Facebook Connect in 2008, which allows users to connect chosen private information to websites outside Facebook, and finally to Facebook Instant Personalization in 2010.

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OAuth: Pros and Cons of OAuth

February 10, 2011

Imagine if every time you met someone new in life you needed to first tell them not only your name, but also your age, email, phone number, name of your first pet, and were then told to say some secret word that you’re not allowed to tell any of your other friends. Crazy, right? This is the current state of the digital age though, with information swirling around the globe in seconds using advanced technology, yet remaining oddly restricted and primitive at times. OAuth aims to change all of that.

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Facebook Connect allows users to log in and sign up for third-party apps, games, websites, and services using only their Facebook account.  This is essentially the end result of a set of APIs and the Open Graph protocol created by the social network for third-party developers and users to integrate and share content and communities.

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Single sign-on is a great way to authenticate users without having to keep and track usernames and passwords for all your site members. It’s also great for users, because they don’t have to create new credentials for your site. In addition, using single sign-on plugins like Login with Facebook, Twitter, Google, and more, lower the barrier of entry for new users to join your site.

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The social graph. No other concept has so fluidly permeated the vernacular that it’s tough to decide which accolade Mark Zuckerberg will be remembered for first: founding the largest ‘social graph’ in the world or coining the term. The term, graphically represented by a sociogram, is applied to an abstract concept which maps and illustrates online connections and it’s a powerful tool that is used to great effect. Yet despite its assured potential, the social graph does have an Achilles Heel: portability.

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OpenID: Pro’s and Con’s

January 17, 2011

Just five years ago, the Internet was ripe to expose a perfect concoction of interactive design coupled with applications catering to the user experience. More people were discovering information, participating in discussions, sharing content and purchasing.  Yet just as we welcomed in the age of Web 2.0, there was something missing for the average user: a means of accessing the growing numbers of sites easily and securely.

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From time to time, you hear about new social networking sites cropping up, trying to be the Facebook-killer—the new, all-encompassing social network that promises to connect us to all our friends (and brands) in new and mind-blowing ways. But basically anything since the demise of MySpace has failed (Google Buzz, I’m looking in your direction). The fact of the matter is that 5 years ago, social networking was new, and only the most web savvy individuals saw any value in it. So we all messed around with a bunch of different platforms—Friendster, MySpace, Bebo, and others. But by the time we all figured out that MySpace had basically turned into a trashy hook-up spot for 14-year-olds with daddy issues, Facebook came along with its clean UI and easy-to-navigate profiles. And we were all hooked.

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