The most important Internet security group you’ve never heard of

The FIDO Alliance was launched barely 18 months ago to help solve the “password crisis” online, but it’s already proven to be one of most influential security bodies we’ve yet seen.

You can be forgiven if the FIDO Alliance is not on your radar screen. It was launched barely 18 months ago, to help solve the “password crisis” online; but it’s already proven to be one of most influential security bodies we’ve yet seen.

The typical Internet user has dozens of accounts and passwords. Not only are they a pain in the rear, poor passwords practices are increasingly implicated in fraud and terrible misadventures like the recent “iCloud Hack” which exposed celebrities’ personal details.

With so many of our assets, our business and our daily lives happening in cyberspace, we desperately need better ways to prove who we are online – and even more importantly, prove what we are entitled to do there. 

A new consortium

The FIDO Alliance is a new consortium of identity management vendors, product companies and service providers working on strong authentication standards.  FIDO’s vision is to tap the powers of smart devices — smart phones today and wearables tomorrow — to log users on to online services more securely and more conveniently. 

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FIDO was founded by Lenovo, PayPal, and security technology companies AGNITiO, Nok Nok Labs and Validity Sensors, and launched in February 2013. Since then, the Alliance has grown to more than 130 members. Two new authentication standards have been published for peer review, half a dozen companies showcased FIDO-Ready solutions at the 2014 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and PayPal has released its ground-breaking pay-by-fingerprint app for the Samsung Galaxy S5.

Technology heavyweights

The FIDO Alliance includes technology heavyweights like Google, Lenovo, Microsoft and Samsung; payments giants Discover, MasterCard, PayPal and Visa; financial services companies such as Aetna, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs; and e-commerce players like Netflix and There are also a couple of dozen biometrics vendors, many leading Identity and Access Management (IDAM) solutions and services, and almost every cell phone SIM and smartcard supplier in the world.

Constellation Research has been watching and reporting on FIDO since its inception. The third update in our series of research reports on FIDO is now available. We look in depth at what the Alliance has to offer vendors and end user communities, its critical success factors, and how and why this body is poised to shake up authentication like never before.  

FIDO Alliance Update: IDAM Implications for a World of Digital Business by Steve Wilson

By Steve Wilson (@steve_lockstep), Vice President & Principal Analyst, Constellation Research, Inc.


Steve Wilson is Vice President and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research, Inc, focusing on digital identity and privacy. Wilson has over twenty-five years experience in ICT innovation, and research and development. Wilson is credited with numerous breakthroughs in difficult areas of identity infrastructure and governance, including national and industry level authentication frameworks, PKI systems, smartcards, digital credentials, fraud control, and privacy engineering.