OIDC (OpenID Connect)

Open ID Connect (OIDC), often called “Social Login”, is an authentication layer on top of the well-known OAuth 2.0 protocol, designed to verify a user’s identity in a simple and standardized way. This technology is increasingly becoming the backbone of secure online interactions in our digitally interconnected world. OIDC extends OAuth 2.0 to add an identity layer. It enables clients, like web and mobile applications, to request and receive information about authenticated sessions and end-users. In simpler terms, it’s like a digital passport for users, allowing them to prove who they are across various platforms and services securely.

The process works like this: when a user attempts to log into an application, the application redirects them to an OIDC provider (like Google or Facebook). The user logs in there, and the OIDC provider sends a token back to the application. This token confirms the user’s identity without revealing their password or other sensitive details.

Why is OIDC Important?

Enhanced Security

OIDC incorporates robust security mechanisms, making it a trusted standard for confirming user identities without compromising sensitive data. For example, consider banking apps. These apps use OIDC to ensure that when you log in, your identity is verified securely without exposing your banking details. This layered approach to security, where your login credentials and your account information are handled separately, adds an extra shield against potential breaches.

Single Sign-On (SSO) Capability

It simplifies the login process for users. With OIDC, they can use one set of credentials to access multiple applications, enhancing the user experience. Take, for instance, a large corporation like IBM. Employees at IBM might use SSO enabled by OIDC to access their email, internal portals, and HR systems. This integration means they don’t need to remember different passwords for each service, streamlining their daily workflow and reducing the risk of password fatigue.

Interoperability

Being a standardized protocol, OIDC facilitates interoperability between different systems and applications, crucial for the modern, interconnected digital ecosystem. An example of this is in the education sector. Educational platforms like Canvas and Blackboard can integrate with university systems using OIDC. This integration allows students and faculty to access a range of educational resources and administrative tools seamlessly, regardless of the underlying technology of each system.

Privacy Assurance

OIDC gives users control over what identity information is shared with applications, respecting user privacy and complying with data protection regulations. For example, when you use a social media platform to log into a news website, OIDC enables you to share only your email address, without revealing other personal information like your friend list or messages. This selective sharing respects your privacy while still providing the convenience of quick logins.