The FIDO Alliance, a cross-industry conglomerate seeking to establish and promote online authentication standards, has refined its FIDO 1.0 specifications with new transport protocols for its FIDO U2F standard. The additions essentially expand the standard to include NFC (Near Field Communication) and Bluetooth support.
One of the new specifications is for U2F Bluetooth transport, allowing for the development of Bluetooth Low Energy U2F systems that can authenticate with an online service with just the push of a button. This could have a major impact in the Internet of Things, given the expected proliferation of low-power connected devices around the smart home and elsewhere. And devices that tend to consumer more energy, such as smartphones, can be programmed to function as U2F devices via Bluetooth Low Energy or Bluetooth Classic.
The U2F NFC transport specification, meanwhile, paves the way for portable U2F devices like fobs or credit cards that offer convenient authentication by being tapped on (or waved near) a target device. This also applies to smartphones that have NFC technology, such the iPhone; but really it can be applied to any mobile device using NFC – and these are increasingly common, with Barclays bank having just announced three new NFC devices for mobile payments.
The additions should help to further push FIDO standards into ubiquitous acceptance, with FIDO executive director Brett McDowell suggesting that their implementation “illustrates our commitment to ensure FIDO standards are flexible, extensible and future-proof by design.”