Log-in System

Open Collective works primarily as a passwordless system. We generally think it's better to not force users to set a password, as it can actually be a security threat (more details below).

However, users are able to later set a password and sign in with it. In that case, the use of a password manager is recommended.

How passwordless works

You type in your email and the system instantly knows if you're an existing user or a new user.

If you already have an account, we send you an email with a unique link that logs you into Open Collective. You will stay logged in for 30 days on that device.

If you're a new user, you'll be prompted to create an account.

How it works with a password

As a user willing to set a password, you can do so from the "Security" section of your personal "Settings".

When signing in, after entering your email, you will simply be prompted for your password.

If you don't have your password available, there are two alternatives:

  • Send me an email: it works the same as an account without password.

  • Reset my password: you will receive an email to help you set a new password.

About security

It might sound counterintuitive, but passwords don’t always make things more secure. They can be hard to remember, and easy for fraudsters to guess. Not everyone uses a password manager, and people often don’t follow good password practices and either reuse passwords, or pick obvious ones (ie. their country code, their birthday, etc). Passwords can also make you more vulnerable to phishing, a type of fraud where someone tricks you into telling them your password.

Most websites allow you to reset your password by email, a feature fraudsters can use to work around any protection provided by a password. These websites start from the premise that if your email is compromised, your account will be too. The main way to avoid that is Two Factor Authentication (2FA), which you can enable on your Open Collective account. We don't send 2FA codes to mobile phones, we rely on OTP apps like Google Authenticator.

According to Auth0:

Passwordless authentication, by its nature, eliminates the problem of using an unsafe password. This means that one of the biggest user errors is taken out of your login. Not only is passwordless authentication safe to use, it might even be safer than a traditional username + password login.

In 2020, this login system was audited by Cure53. Their report included recommendations for improving it, but they found no critical issue nor design issue about the way it works today.

Our login system is also covered by our security bounty policy; we invite security researchers (and pay them) to try to break our system and improve it.

Who else uses magic links to login?

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Ⓒ Open Collective 2024