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Friday, September 28, 2007

MIT launches "Kerberos " authentication consortium

If MIT has its way, consumers will be enjoying the same single-sign-on authentication and authorization system that large corporations have been able to deploy.

MIT launched on Thursday the Kerberos Consortium, whose backers include Google, Sun Microsystems, Apple, Stanford University and the University of Michigan. The consortium is looking to take the Kerberos network authentication protocol and create a universal authentication platform to safeguard computer networks.

Although the protocol was initially developed for MIT's Project Athena and has been around for more than two decades, it has mainly been available to large corporate networks and not to John Doe consumer.

But with the surge in phishing attempts and other security threats on the rise, the single-sign-on authentication and authorization systems are viewed as another tool to combat identity thieves.


The MIT Kerberos Consortium was created to establish Kerberos as the universal authentication platform for the world's computer networks.

Kerberos, originally developed for MIT's Project Athena, has grown to become the most widely deployed system for authentication and authorization in modern computer networks. Kerberos is currently shipped with all major computer operating systems and is uniquely positioned to become a universal solution to the distributed authentication and authorization problem of permitting universal "single sign-on" within and between federated enterprises and peer-to-peer communities.

The MIT Kerberos Consortium is intended to provide a mechanism by which the numerous organizations that have adopted Kerberos in the last two decades may participate in the continuation of what was previously funded as an internal MIT project. By opening participation in the ongoing Kerberos effort, it will be possible to expand the scope of the work currently performed to encompass numerous important improvements in the Kerberos system, and to engage in much needed evangelism among potential adopters.

Building upon the existing Kerberos protocol suite, we will develop interoperable technologies (specifications, software, documentation and tools) to enable organizations and federated realms of organizations to use Kerberos as the single sign-on solution for access to all applications and services. We will also promote the adoption of these technologies so that ultimately all operating systems, applications, imbedded devices, and Internet based services can utilize Kerberos for authentication and authorization.

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