Thursday, June 11, 2009

Windows CardSpace

What is Windows CardSpace?

Windows CardSpace (codenamed InfoCard) is client software that enables users to provide their digital identity to online services in a simple, secure, and trusted way. CardSpace provides a consistent UI that enables people to easily use these identities in applications and web sites where they are accepted.

Each card has some identity data associated with it—though this data is not actually stored in the card—that has either been given to the user by an identity provider such as bank, employer, or government, or created by the users themselves.

Information cards are managed on client computers by a software component called an identity selector. An identity selector is a user interface (UI) that appears when a user attempts to authenticate to a Web site that requests an information card. The following figure shows Windows CardSpace—the Microsoft implementation of an identity selector for Windows—in response to a demand for credentials by a Web site.

What Windows CardSpace Provides?

Four aspects of this technology stand out as most important:

1. Support for any digital identity system
2. Consistent user control of digital identity
3. Replacement of password-based Web login
4. Improved user confidence in the identity of remote applications

Advantages of information cards?

1. Information cards are more flexible than simple user names and passwords.
2. Information cards employ strong cryptography, which makes their use more secure than passwords.
3. Information cards can potentially present any type of identity claim that makes sense to all of the interacting parties and which users are willing to release.