The IRMA app brings privacy-friendly IRMA-authentication to your Android phone. On this page you can find information about the IRMA phone app. You can also immediately go to download and find out “by doing”.
What can the IRMA phone app do for me?
The IRMA (I Reveal My Attributes) technology was originally created for smart cards. Now it is also available as an Android app! With the IRMA technology you carry certified statements about yourself on your phone, such as “I am over 18”, “I am entitled to access …” or “my name is …”. These statements are called attributes. They exist as digitally signed data on your mobile phone, and are bound to your device via a personal (secret) cryptographic key.
Users can use these attributes to authenticate to services. For instance, if you order something in an online store, usually this store only needs to know your address (for delivery), your bank account (for payment), and possibly whether you are of the appropriate age (depending on content). In practice, online stores often request your name, date of birth and any other pieces of data they like to collect, but do not need for the purchase. The IRMA technology allows users to reveal only a minimal set of attributes about themselves. It supports privacy-friendly, context-dependent, proportional authentication.
Not only the users but also the online stores (and other verifiers) benefit from the IRMA technology. Attributes presented to them are reliable, signed statements by trusted parties. For instance, companies like bol.com or amazon.com can have more trust in a signed IRMA attribute proving someone’s address, than in the address typed in a text field by a user. Or simply think of online age verification. Currently the state-of-the-art is having the user tick a check box “I am over 18”. IRMA can replace this with a signed statement by the government: unforgeable and privacy-friendly!
A detailed explanation of the IRMA technology can be found here.
Since we are currently having a functionality test, the actual ways in which you can use the IRMA phone app are limited. We have a few toy examples to show how the IRMA technology would work in practice on demo.irmacard.org. If you like to try out the technology yourself, and set up your own authentication scenarios, you can do so. The technology is open and freely available.
How can I participate in the functionality test?
Download and start using the app! (Note that the app only works on Android phones for technical reasons: access to NFC is restricted on iPhones.) This is a functionality test, so we are very curious how you experience IRMA on your phone. If you have any feedback to share with us, please send us an e-mail, or come and tell us at the upcoming IRMA meeting.
How does it work?
After downloading and installing the IRMA phone app, you can start using it.
- The enrolment is an initialisation process to set up your personal IRMA environment
- Having an initial set of attributes, you are able to use the IRMA app for authentication and to obtain additional attributes.
When you first start the IRMA phone app, it does not yet contain any attributes about you. Therefore, you first need to obtain an initial set of attributes via one of two options:
- document enroll, in which you use an electronic identity document to provide authentic date to the IRMA app, to better model a real-world application.
- demo enroll, in which you can provide attribute information via an webpage form, for demo purposes only.
- If you choose “Document enroll”, you come to a screen that explains the process.
- After pressing “Continue”, you must first select the electronic identity document you wish to use; passport / ID card, or electronic driving license.
- Please note that we currently only support Dutch identity documents. If you do not have a Dutch identity document, you should use the “demo enroll” instead.
- After selecting the document type you must fill in the required fields, document number, date of birth and expiry date in case of passport / id card, MRZ in case of electronic driving license. The MRZ is the line of black numbers and letters at the bottom of the driving license. Alternatively for a driving license you can scan the QR code on the back (if your driving license has no QR code on the back, then you do not have an
electronic driving license yet).
After pressing the continue button, the app will request you to hold your identity document against (the NFC reader in) your phone and start communicating with it. This is a delicate step, which may require some patience: make sure that the phone and the identity document are held closely together, and are kept stable in stable position. A bar indicates the progress of the reading of your identity document, which typically takes between 5 and 10 seconds. The IRMA server then verifies if your identity document is genuine. In this case, your IRMA phone app will ask you if you agree receiving several attributes deduced from your document (e.g., your name and whether you are over 18).
By clicking “yes” the attributes will be downloaded to your app.
You now see an overview of your attributes in the app’s main view. You can click on each attribute for details.
Alternatively, you can choose demo enroll, which will lead you to a webpage.
On this webpage you can enter the desired values for your attributes (or choose the default values) and click Issue credentials.
You will then move back to the IRMA app, where you will be asked for permission to install these attributes. Clicking Yes will bring you back to this webpage. Simply navigate back to your IRMA app to see your received attributes.
Using the app
The main purpose of the IRMA phone app is to allow you to do online authentication at service providers. Each authentication process reveals a subset of your available attributes. Currently a service provider can choose itself which attributes it wants to see for a particular transaction. But nothing is revealed by your phone without your explicit approval. (We envision that at a later stage of development service providers need a certificate that allows them to read only those attributes that are relevant for the authentication goal.)
After obtaining your attributes, you can use the app for some experimental applications. You can play around with the IRMA functionality on the IRMA demo website. All of these functions will require you to disclose some (but not all!) attributes to a verifier. IRMA-DigiD, shows how simple logging in to DigiD could be with your IRMA app. IRMA verification offers several possible verifications and IRMA issuance allows you to issue a credential. The “IRMA tube” demo shows a possible implementation of a privacy friendly video streaming service. This example is more extensive, since a user will first need to obtain a membership credential (by clicking Register) in order to get access to movies. However obtaining a new attribute and showing an attribute require very similar actions, so let’s take a look at the IRMA verification example:
On the IRMA verification demo, choose the attributes you wish to verify and click Authenticate with IRMA. A pop-up with a QR-code will appear.
You can scan this QR code with your IRMA app, by pressing the “Tap to scan QR” text in the app’s main view.
This QR code allows the IRMA app to contact the server of the verifier. When this connection has been made, the IRMA phone app will show the user which attributes (s)he is about to reveal to the verifier, by clicking “YES“.
After clicking YES, the verifier will see signed attributes with the information requested (and approved by the user) and nothing else. The website now shows these attributes.
This is the essential work flow for all IRMA verifications.
Getting new attributes, which you can test in the IRMA tube demo, also involves similar actions.
The app can also show a log of activity by clicking a symbol in the right top corner and the menu allows a user to clear all his credentials. Tapping a credential in the main view will reveal details and long clicking a credential allows for credential deletion.
Please try it out and let us know what you think!
IRMA is a privacy enhancing technology. The IRMA infrastructure will not leak any information about your identity to other parties, except for that which you allow. The IRMA team cares about your privacy. However, since this is a demo there are some caveats which we like to make explicit.
This app is purely a functionality test, and not a security test. The current version of the app is yet to be strengthened with respect to security! There is also currently no strong binding between the app and the user. In the future the app will support user authentication, for instance by pin code verification.
In practice this means that if an attacker gets your phone with the current version of the IRMA phone app, he will likely be able to obtain your attributes. As we are currently only in a test system with only toy verifiers, no serious harm can come from using these attributes. Besides, your phone probably contains more privacy sensitive data than these IRMA-attributes, but it is good to be aware of this.
During Document self-enrolment, our server receives data from your identity document. This data is both used to verify whether the presented document is genuine and to issue valid attributes to your IRMA phone app. This data is not stored in any way.
Furthermore, while using IRMA for authentication, only the attributes you reveal will be readable by the server of the verifier. On our server for the toy verification examples, this data will not be stored.
The IRMA phone app requires several permissions, which Android will ask you to approve upon installing the app. We attempted to keep the number of permissions required to a minimum. Here we explain why we require each permission:
- NFC, the IRMA phone app uses NFC to read your identity document during self enrolment.
- INTERNET, Internet connection is needed, as both enrolment and verifications happen online.
- CAMERA, camera access is required to scan the QR code during authentication.
- ACCESS NETWORK STATE, this permission allows the app to only send metrics data when there is a WiFi connection.
As the IRMA phone app is still under active development, things could go wrong. We have not yet tested this software on a wide variety of devices (that’s one of the goals of this public test). When the app crashes, or something goes wrong internally, the app will send a crash report to our servers.
Although we have done our best to ensure that the contents of your attributes will not be included in these crash reports, other privacy sensitive values might be included, such as the exact brand and type of your phone, the version of your mobile OS and the time of the crash. We will treat this information as sensitive data, and remove it as soon as we no longer need it for improving the IRMA software.
Also, please be advised that these crash reports are transmitted even when you have no WiFi connection. This means that even though the crash reports are quite small (about the size of an average e-mail), their transmission can incur some mobile data costs.
We also gather some statistics and metrics about the use of the IRMA phone app. This data (such as how long it takes your phone to perform the necessary computation for proving your attributes) helps us to further improve the system. These details are stored on your phone and transmitted to us periodically in batches, only over WiFi connections. We have taken care to make sure that no privacy sensitive details are revealed in this way.
What do I need?
To use the IRMA phone app, you will need a smart phone running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or higher. Your phone also needs to be equipped with NFC and a camera, though these are very standard features of most Android phones today.
The IRMA app is now available in the Android Play store, you can install it from there.
If you cannot use the Play store, or do not wish to, we also have a binary available outside of the Play store. In order to install the app this way, you will have to enable the security option “unknown sources”, which allows you to install apps from outside of the Android market. Then simply browse to https://demo.irmacard.org/irma.apk on your phone, to download and install the app. We do advise to switch off the option “unknown sources” after the install. This version of the app will not update automatically.
Enjoy! Show this cool technology to your friends and colleagues, and to your boss and ICT-department too, and tweet and blog about it.
Technical assistance & feedback
If you have questions or feedback you can contact us via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As described above, this is a first functionality test. Below we list some further developments that we foresee. Let us know if you have additions to this list and/or wish to cooperate.
- Improve security in various ways: increased user-binding during enrolment and during verification, protected storage of the secret key, possibly via key sharing, support attribute-based signatures, etc.
- Setting up a PKI infrastructure for certificates of issuers and verifiers
- Supporting ICAO-identity documents from more countries (if you like support for country X, please provide as much information as possible, for instance about the relevant public keys for X)
- More demo applications: for instance, if Surfnet issues student number and email attributes, then all students in the Netherlands can use IRMA to login to their universities; if Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) issue mobile phone numbers as attributes, then their customers can securely reveal these numbers elsewhere, and use them as login; if banks issue bank account numbers as attributes, then …; if bol.com and Albert Heyn and … issue client numbers as attributes, then … The sky is the limit.