Microsoft pitches Passport code to developers

By Matt Berger, IDG News Service |  Security, Network access control

Mundie also Thursday offered details about a product Microsoft plans to launch that will allow Passport users to test the security of their passwords. The Passport Password Quality Meter is designed to measure the level of security that a password might offer. Availability of the tool was not disclosed.

The Liberty Alliance Project is similarly aimed at winning over developers to its federated authentication technology instead of Passport. The specification, being developed by the 120-company member group, will enable corporate developers and Web site operators to use their choice of single sign-on authentication technology, but still interoperate with other systems that also support the Liberty specification.

Some identity management software makers are working to add support for Passport as well as the Liberty Alliance specification into their products. OpenNetwork Technologies Inc., in Clearwater, Florida, has released a product that supports Passport, in addition to the standard authentication technologies SAML, which is part of the Liberty specification.

Novell Inc. also this week announced plans to release a suite of products called NSure that could be used to manage user identities. NSure will support a range of authentication services in due time, including the Liberty specification and Passport, said Justin Taylor, chief strategist for directory services at Novell.

"We've been telling people that Passport is another option," said Taylor, who is the company's liaison to the Liberty Alliance Project.

"The centralized concept (of Passport) is appealing to some customers. Novell wants to answer all of our customers' needs," Taylor said. "Regardless of what customers choose we will support it."

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