What are the most secure user authentication methods? It’s a legitimate question. When you login to your email, social network or any other online service, a variety of things happen between the user and the site in order to establish a session. First of all, the web server receives a series of security prompts to determine whether you really are who you say you are. Then the session is opened, and data is passed from one side to the other. In order for this data to be correctly transmitted, authentication must take place.
To begin, authentication occurs when a user requests access to some information. This request is subject to a variety of verification checks, including establishing the identity of the user, if the user is logged on to the internet and so forth. Once these are established, then the user is granted access to the requested information. A session is then opened, during which the data is passed back and forth between the client and the service. Finally, an authorized response is returned to the client.
Many users are wary of security in this manner because they believe that their data is not protected. In reality, however, if all that is required is a password to gain access, then there is no security risk involved at all! A password ensures that only those with the right ID can have the key. This is how session security works: with the proper authentication, a user is granted access to a session, and then any information passed during that session is encrypted so as to ensure complete security.
Some of the data encryption and authentication methods that take place during a session include encrypting user data to make it impossible to read. Encryption takes place during the session itself and as soon as the session is over. There is also data encryption at the secure web server when the data is being transferred. Again, this data encryption takes place long before any information is transmitted.
Authentication can be combined with encryption to provide even more security. If a site requires two factor authentication, then it will require two ways to prove the identity of the user logging onto the website. This makes for much stronger authentication, and it means that even if someone does manage to gain access to the secured data, it will be very difficult for them to read.
All of the above processes happen in the background, but they are necessary in order to secure the data and the identity of the user. Without data encryption and authentication, a hacker could easily break into your website and gain access to just about anything. Therefore, even if a website uses “one time passwords,” it is important that these passwords are used throughout the entire course of the user’s session. Which are the most secure user authentication methods? With modern technology and state-of-the-art processes, it is quite clear that strong authentication and encryption is the way of the future.
The Most Secure User Authentication Method
As web security technology evolves, one of the more interesting topics that comes up is token based authentication. This is where you create a password and access code, then have the browser check if the user has that password or not. If the user does have the password, the server knows to grant access. If not, the server then has to ask for the user’s log in information again (and potentially add more factors to this process).
tokens themselves are not a secret, but they’re not an actual thing that you can see. When a browser requests the token, the browser sends the request, and the web server replies with a challenge, the content of which is then stored in the browser for reference purposes only. The challenge usually includes a random number that needs to be sent in the clear so that the user is prompted to reveal the token. If the user fails to do this, the server assumes that the user is trying to access illegal or unauthorized material and will usually deny access.
When you compare this to the traditional form of user authentication where you would give a password to gain access, you’ll see a lot of difference. In the case of passwords, even if the user did manage to log in without having the password, the server will still find out. With tokens, there is no password required. Therefore, any hacker can access the database without the need of a token. But what security benefit will the server provide for a user that has to use a password to gain access?
Well, in theory, if the database contains thousands of users and each one of them had a different password, then the server should be able to recover the login information for each user. In practice, however, most providers won’t bother checking the database and only try with the token. The client software on the other hand, will check the token when it requests access. If the server cannot verify the token, the client will simply be denied access. This is the security problem with the free tokens.
To solve this security issue, the open source project Cryptainer has come up with a token solution called OTP (OAuth token). OTP is a type of smart card that is designed to be used in conjunction with a password. It can be combined with the password so that even if the database is hacked, the passwords will still be safe from being recovered. And the OTP itself can be stored on the secure web server so that any third party that may want to misuse the database will have to be able to enter a user name and password in order to access it.
The token is the most secure user authentication method as it provides a way to authenticate the user before the server allows him access. There is no need to memorize a password. Once the user name and the password are entered, the server will check the details and verify the user identity and if all is fine, the user access will be granted. In case however, there is an issue, the server will return an error code or an error message saying that the username and password you are using is not correct or cannot be verified.
Did you find this article valuable?
Support Cyber Aeronautycs Ltd. Blog by becoming a sponsor. Any amount is appreciated!