Thursday, October 9, 2008

Some snippets about Verisign's Personal Identity Portal

Recently I stumbled upon Verisign's Personal Identity Portal - pip.verisignlabs.com. Though still in Beta, I found it immensely impressive as an all-in-one Personal Identity Management Service.
It has a cool feature named One-Click Sign In, which allows signing in to a host of websites including Google, Yahoo, Flickr, Youtube among many others. The login credentials for the respective sites are required to be submitted. These will be encrypted using the users passkey. The only caveat for this excellent service is that one has to take Verisign's word for it, when it comes to security and privacy of the login credentials. Having trusted Verisign fully with one's secrets, all that is required is Bookmarking the One-Click sign-in link provided after submission of the credentials. Clicking on the bookmark leads to a list of the added sites, clicking on any of the sites directly signs the user in, ofcourse one has to be signed in to pip.verisignlabs.com prior to that.
Another feature is the ability to create a Personal Identity Page with a unique pip url, where one can publish personal details like name, address, email, date of birth etc. that one wants to share publicly.
The pip url also acts as an OpenID for quick sign in to any website supporting openid.
Since pip.verisignlabs.com starts acting as a one stop shop for personal identity, it becomes important to protect the PIP account, as any compromise of the PIP account leads to compromise of all the accounts listed under One-Click sign-in, as well as compromise of the OpenID. As an extra security measure, Verisign provides an optional browser authentication certificate. Even if the username and password are compromised, unless the illegitimate user has the browser authentication certificate, it is impossible to gain access to the account.
If this is still not enough for some paranoids, then Verisign provides an added layer of security by providing an optional hardware security token for a nominal fee. It generates a secret key every 30sec which is required during every login. This should be more than enough to provide considerable peace of mind to the most paranoid person on this planet.

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