What is authentication?

Generally, authentication is the verification of an asserted property of an entity.

Authentication refers in particular to user and task-dependent access and access authorization. Authentication protects system functions from misuse. It also ensures that the communication partner is authentic in a communication.

In general, users of a particular service can prove their identity in three different ways:

  • Proof of knowledge of information: You enter your password
  • Using an item: You have the right key
  • The presence of the user: They use a biometric feature (e.g. fingerprint)

A distinction is made between one-way and mutual authentication. For example, as a one-way authentication, the user enters his password at login and thus proves that he really is the specified user. The proof of recipient, through which the authorization to use and the user’s identity are proven to the system, serves as a security service for the one-sided identification. Password processes, chip or magnetic ID cards, cryptographic techniques and personal ID numbers are mainly used for this purpose. Strict authentication is possible using a USB token or smart card on which a private key is stored. Alternatively, one-time passwords (OTP) and OTP tokens are used in a process in which a one-time password is generated and compared to the password generated by the authentication server. The algorithm of the OTP token is known to the authentication server so that the next expected one-time password can be calculated.

Furthermore, authentication systems work with biometric data and with multi-factor systems that use so-called USB tokens. Another method is DNA marking using additional electronic components.

Mutual authentication is more secure than one-way in a communication process. All communication partners must first prove their identity in order to exchange confidential data with each other. For example, an ATM should prove that it is not a dummy but a real POS terminal before entering the PIN number.

You can find more information about authentication here</ a>.

centron products for strong authentication and more security can be found here: SSL certificates, S/MIME Certificates