[Standards] deprecating in-band registration

Peter Waher Peter.Waher at clayster.com
Wed Apr 2 13:35:21 UTC 2014

Hello Peter & community

As I mentioned before, I have an idea on how to make IBR secure. It would work as follows:

* A manufacturer, or responsible party, would create an account on the xmpp server, or have an account created for him by an operator. There he/she could be allowed to create a certain number of accounts automatically.
* The manufacturer would get a shared secret (say an "API Key") identifying the account.
* Each device or application wanting to perform IBR would have this key configured.
* When the device or app connects to the server, using IBR, it returns a registration form, as specified in IBR. But one (or two) of the fields would contain a challenge.
* The device or application fills in the response field according to the shared secret and the challenge. Perhaps using OAUTH.
* When registering, the new account would be discounted from the pool of accounts permitted by the key.
* If a shared secret gets to be known, the manufacturer or responsible party can just choose to generate a new shared secret (or key).

In this way operatos of the xmpp server can have control of who are trusted to create accounts automatically. And they in turn have control of how many accounts can be created, and monitor how many have been created. And it allows them to create devices without preprogrammed JID:s.

What do you think about such an approach?

Best regards,
Peter Waher

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Saint-Andre [mailto:stpeter at stpeter.im] 
Sent: den 2 april 2014 00:02
To: XMPP Standards
Subject: [Standards] deprecating in-band registration

Several folks have commented on in-band registration (IBR, XEP-0077) recently, wondering aloud whether we really want to recommend it for things like registering devices in IoT environments.

I agree with the concerns that people have expressed. I suggest that we push this line of thinking to its logical conclusion and strongly consider deprecating and then obsoleting IBR. Perhaps - perhaps! - IBR was appropriate in 1999 when we were trying to encourage people to easily try out this new technology called Jabber. Those days are long gone.

If we feel that we'd like to have some kind of method for account provisioning over XMPP - and I'm not convinced that we do - then I feel that we need to rethink the whole problem, not reuse something that is fundamentally flawed.


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