Reviews of OpenID: Verisign Personal Identity Portal

02 November 2009

Most avid Internet users have heard of Verisign or at least seen their logo on secure sites. Verisign provides security certificates to web sites that it reviews and certifies as being secure and is highly reputable and recognised for doing it

A bit more recently, Verisign introduced the Verisign Personal Identity Portal, providing secure file storage and sign-in. The features:

  • Encrypted file storage. Of all the OpenID providers I tried, Verisign’s is the only one that provides secure file storage. There’s not much to say about it, online file storage is online file storage for the most part.
  • No Multiple Identities. This is a feature of most OpenID providers. Put simply, it allows you to set up separate ‘identities’ to share with sites with different degrees or or different types of information. Verisign does NOT provide this feature directly, but allows you to select what information to share when initially signing up for a site.
  • Multiple OpenID URLs. I have not seen any other providers that have this option. Verisign allows you to tie multiple Verisign PIP urls to your single OpenID with separate identities.
  • PIP One-Click. This is a truly unique and really very useful feature. Simply put, it provides OpenID type functionality to non-OpenID sites. You set up a secure encryption key, enter in usernames for any number of sites, then add a bookmarklet to your browser. While signed into VerisignLabs, it allows you to visit any site’s login page that you have an account on and have set up with PIP One-Click, click the bookmarklet, and it fills in your username, password, and logs you in.
  • Enhanced Security. Verisign offers (for a price) key generators that you can buy. The idea of a key generator is that it uses an algorithm to create a semi-random number, which you then use to log into a site. Because it’s offline, there is no way to hack it. These can be used to log into Verisign’s PIP.

Unfortunately, Verisign’s OpenID url is a bit long to remember- (Feel free to click the link and look at my Identity page). The other unfortunate fact about VerisignLabs PIP is that at times the site itself can be a bit slow and a bit difficult to navigate so it can take a little while to learn your way around.

Out of all the providers I tried, I have to say that while I trusted Verisign the most, due to its reputation, I liked it the least because of the long URL and difficulty in navigation. The technical director of Verisign’s PIP pointed out an important detail in the comments: many users of Verisign’s PIP actually delegate their identity to a blog or other website they manage, which is a way around the long URL.

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