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Sign in to Windows Live using CardSpace
· 2008-03-19 19:52 by Thijs Kroesbergen for Brokenwire.NET

Did you know that you can use CardSpace to sign into the windows live services? By using CardSpace you don’t need to enter your password to sign into a service. This way you can use a longer, more secure, password and have the leisure to just show your card whenever you want to sign in (from your own pc).

It’s really easy, here is how to set this up:

  1. Install the .Net framework version 3.0 (already present if you use Vista)
  2. Get either IE7 or Firefox with a CardSpace plugin. I used Firefox with the Identity Selector extension.
  3. Assign a Card to your Live / Passport account on the Information Card management page. On this page you can associate a Card with your Windows Live ID.
  4. Sign into your favorite Live site. (for example, SkyDrive but also Hotmail)
  5. Never type your password again, just pick the Card whenever you want to sign in.

The CardSpace support in Windows Live is still Beta, but it is very usable. The .NET 3.0 homepage describes CardSpace in the following way:

Windows CardSpace is client software that enables users to provide their digital identity to online services in a simple, secure and trusted way. It is what is known as an identity selector:  when a user needs to authenticate to a web site or a web service, CardSpace pops up a special security-hardened UI with a set of “information cards”  for the user to choose from. Each card has some identity data associated with it – though this is not actually stored in the card – that has either been given to the user by an identity provider such as their bank, employer or government or created by the user themselves. Having the user as an identity provider sounds a bit strange on first acquaintance – who would trust the user? –  but this is a very common scenario: this is what we do every time we register at a web site. The CardSpace UI enables users to create Personal cards (aka self-issued cards) and associate a limited set of identity data. It also enables the user to import Managed cards from third party identity providers. When the user chooses a card, a signed and encrypted security token containing the required information (e.g. name and address, employer’s name and address, or credit limit) is generated by the identity provider that created the card. The user, in control at all times, then decides whether to release this information to the requesting online service. If the user approves then the token is sent on to this relying party where the token is processed and the identity information is extracted.

If you want to learn more about CardSpace and it’s role in the Identity Metasystem take a look a Kim Cameron’s IdentityBlog, he is one of the gurus in the identity area.

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