FIDO (Fast ID Online) is an open standard for a secure and easy-to-use universal authentication interface created to address the lack of interoperability among strong authentication devices.
The FIDO standard supports multifactor authentication and strong features like biometrics. FIDO stores supporting data in a smartphone to eliminate the need for multiple passwords. FIDO is much like an encrypted virtual container of strong authentication elements including: biometrics, USB security tokens, Near Field Communication (NFC), Trusted Platform Modules, embedded secure elements, smartcards and Bluetooth. Data from authentication sources is used for the local key, while the requesting service gets a separate login to keep user data private.
FIDO works through two different protocols for two different user experiences. The Universal Authentication Framework (UAF) protocol allows the user to register an enabled device with a FIDO-ready server or website. Users authenticate on their devices with fingerprints or PINs, for example, and log in to the server using a secure public key. The Universal Second Factor (U2F) protocol is designed to authenticate users with a strong second factor, such as a USB touchscreen key or an NFC tap on a mobile device.
FIDO's local storage of biometrics and other personal identification is intended to ease user concerns about personal data stored on an external server or in the cloud. By abstracting the protocol implementation, FIDO also reduces the work required for developers to create secure logins.
FIDO is developed by the FIDO Alliance, a non-profit organization formed in 2012. Alliance board-level members include ARM, Blackberry, Google, Master Card, Microsoft, PayPal, Samsung, Synaptics and Visa.