Protocols

Once upon a time, when computers were standalone systems, all the authentication and user data lived in a single machine. Times have changed, and now you can use the same login information across multiple apps and sites. This has been achieved through the widespread adoption of identity industry standards across the web.

These are a set of open specifications and protocols that specify how to design an authentication and authorization system. They specify how you should manage identity, move personal data securely, and decide who can access applications and data.

The identity industry standards that we use at Auth0 are:

  • Open Authorization (OAuth) 1: the original standard for access delegation. Used as a way for a user to grant websites access to their information on other websites or apps, but without giving them the credentials.

  • Open Authorization (OAuth) 2: an authorization standard that allows a user to grant limited access to their resources on one site to another site, without having to expose their credentials. You use this standard every time you log in to a site using your Google account and you are asked if you agree with sharing your email address and your contacts list with that site.

  • OpenID Connect (OIDC): an identity layer that sits on top of OAuth 2 and allows for easy verification of the user's identity, as well as the ability to get basic profile information from the identity provider.

  • JSON Web Tokens (JWTs): an open standard that defines a compact and self-contained way for securely transmitting information between parties as a JSON object.

  • Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML): an open-standard, XML-based data format that allows businesses to communicate user authentication and authorization information to partner companies and enterprise applications their employees may use.

  • WS-Federation (WS-Fed): a standard developed by Microsoft, and used extensively in their applications. It defines the way security tokens can be transported between different entities to exchange identity and authorization information.

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