The Importance of User Authentication Methods in CyberSecurity

If you ask any expert in cyber security, they will tell you that your system is only as safe as its weakest link. Nowadays, many employees have significant remote access to crucial systems, such as cloud application access, VPNs, and even ordinary office programs like email. Accessing these networks from anywhere globally makes it possible to work remotely.

Employees from nearly every organization that can are now working from home as the worldwide COVID-19 virus spreads. Many cyber security teams have problems starting there. As more and more individuals take up remote jobs, security experts are finding themselves confronted with new and complex IT issues, as reported in a recent poll (95% response rate). Provisioning safe remote access (56 per cent) and installing scalable remote access technologies are the biggest worries (55 per cent).

Furthermore, the difficulty extends far beyond simply creating reliable remote access networks. It ultimately depends on how consumers use the product. Hackers are experts at phishing unsuspecting people out of their login passwords through social engineering techniques. With regard to cyber security, users' identities must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

When a user logs in, how does that process go down?

Knowing how the process of user authentication works is just as important as knowing what it is. Passwords and ID cards are only two examples of the many methods used for user authentication, which guarantees that the program or network access does not fall into the wrong hands.

User authentication begins with a successful login, which is accomplished by entering the correct login information. This login information must now be verified. This process kicks off when the server you're attempting to reach decrypts the private data it's been sent.

After a comparison, the credentials are saved in the database. At last, the business decides whether or not to comply with the customer's request for authenticating data.

If the computer replies "No," it's probably because you entered an inaccurate value or have forgotten your passcode.

Your ability to retry requests or access the web app completely depends on the configuration settings.

Why Do We Have to Verify Each User's Identity?

Authenticating users is a vital security measure for protecting private data from being accessed by unauthorized parties. It is possible to restrict User A's access to only the data he needs while protecting User B's private data using a strong authentication mechanism.

Without a safe authentication procedure, hackers can get into systems and access any and all data that the user would normally have access to.

When corporations fail to safeguard their websites appropriately, the results may be disastrous, as seen by the recent hacks of several large and well-known websites. Costs, a tarnished brand, and a decline in customer trust all add up to a substantial loss for a company after a data breach happens.

Businesses that care about the safety of their website and its users should invest in robust authentication technologies. Therefore, authenticating users is crucial. It's a strategy to ensure that your company won't be the next one hit.

The term "user authentication" refers to the process of confirming a user's claimed identity before granting them access to a networked computer, service, or other protected data.

Because each company's risk profile and business logic are unique, authenticating users for each service is handled somewhat differently. The user must provide the groundwork for all authentication methods to work together.

Knowledge (such as a PIN), possession, and inheritance are the three types of authentication factors (e.g., biometrics). The context provided by smartphones and browsers is also commonly utilized.

This is by no means an exhaustive treatment of user authentication, though. For more security, let's take a closer look at the various forms of user authentication and how they might be improved.

Methods of User Authentication - 5 Common Techniques

Hackers are always ready to launch an attack online. For this reason, authentication presents a significant issue for security teams. In such case, consider the following advice for improving your company's cyber defenses −

1. Password-Based Authentication

Passwords are still widely used as the primary means of authentication. Numbers, letters, and other symbols are all acceptable. The most secure passwords are those that use all of these factors.

However, phishing assaults rely heavily on passwords. Most individuals also use simple, easy-to-remember passwords. In short, while password-based authentication is a method, it is far from foolproof and has several flaws.

2. Multi-Factor Authentication

MFA, or Multi-Factor Authentication, is a security protocol that necessitates not one but many means of confirming a user's identity before granting access. Codes produced by the user's smartphone, Captchas, voice biometrics, face recognition, and fingerprints are all examples.

Users are more likely to feel safe with MFA authentication because of the additional safeguards it provides. Although it has certain drawbacks, this method of protecting user accounts is quite effective. Anyone without a SIM card or phone is unable to create an authentication code.

3. Certificate-Based Authentication

Certificate-based authentication methods verify the authenticity of users with the use of cryptographic certificates—an electronic version of traditional identification documents like passports and driver's licenses.

Users' digital identities are included within the certificate, together with the certifying authority's digital signature or public key. Only a certification authority may issue a digital certificate to verify possession of a public key.

When logging onto a server, users are required to submit their digital certificates. Together with the certificate authority, this server ensures the authenticity of the digital signature. After a certificate and private key pair have been generated, they are checked using cryptography to ensure they are both valid.

4. Using Biometric Identifiers

This kind of security, which response to a person's specific biological traits, has gained widespread acceptance. There are a number of benefits to using these authentication methods, but the main ones are −

  • The biological traits can be checked against the approved ones in the database.

  • Doors can be equipped with biometric authentication systems to regulate physical access.

  • Incorporating biometrics into a multi-factor authentication system.

  • Fingerprint scanners, face recognition, eye scanners, and speech recognition are some of the most widely used biometric authentication technologies, while their use varies widely across different types of IT services.

5. Token-Based Authentication

With token-based authentication solutions, users need to enter their credentials once to acquire a one-time-use, cryptographically-secured token. This token grants access to restricted resources.

The token is used as evidence that you already have the authorization to access the resource. Token-based authentication is utilized by RESTful APIs, which are used by many different clients and frameworks.

Updated on: 05-May-2023


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