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Authentication in Computer Network

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  • Difficulty Level : Easy
  • Last Updated : 16 Jun, 2022
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Prerequisite – Authentication and Authorization Authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user or information. User authentication is the process of verifying the identity of a user when that user logs in to a computer system.

There are different types of authentication systems which are: –

1. Single-Factor authentication: – This was the first method of security that was developed. On this authentication system, the user has to enter the username and the password to confirm whether that user is logging in or not. Now if the username or password is wrong, then the user will not be allowed to log in or access the system.

Advantage of the Single-Factor Authentication System: –

  • It is a very simple to use and straightforward system.
  • it is not at all costly.
  • The user does not need any huge technical skills.

The disadvantage of the Single-Factor Authentication

  • It is not at all password secure. It will depend on the strength of the password entered by the user.
  • The protection level in Single-Factor Authentication is much low.

2. Two-factor Authentication: – In this authentication system, the user has to give a username, password, and other information. There are various types of authentication systems that are used by the user for securing the system. Some of them are: – wireless tokens and virtual tokens. OTP and more.

Advantages of the Two-Factor Authentication

  • The Two-Factor Authentication System provides better security than the Single-factor Authentication system.
  • The productivity and flexibility increase in the two-factor authentication system.
  • Two-Factor Authentication prevents the loss of trust.

Disadvantages of Two-Factor Authentication

  • It is time-consuming.

3. Multi-Factor authentication system,: – In this type of authentication, more than one factor of authentication is needed. This gives better security to the user. Any type of keylogger or phishing attack will not be possible in a Multi-Factor Authentication system. This assures the user, that the information will not get stolen from them.

The advantage of the Multi-Factor Authentication System are: –

  • No risk of security.
  • No information could get stolen.
  • No risk of any key-logger activity.
  • No risk of any data getting captured.

The disadvantage of the Multi-Factor Authentication System are: –

  • It is time-consuming.
  • it can rely on third parties. The main objective of authentication is to allow authorized users to access the computer and to deny access to unauthorized users. Operating Systems generally identify/authenticates users using the following 3 ways: Passwords, Physical identification, and Biometrics. These are explained as following below.
    1. Passwords: Password verification is the most popular and commonly used authentication technique. A password is a secret text that is supposed to be known only to a user. In a password-based system, each user is assigned a valid username and password by the system administrator. The system stores all usernames and Passwords. When a user logs in, their user name and password are verified by comparing them with the stored login name and password. If the contents are the same then the user is allowed to access the system otherwise it is rejected.
    2. Physical Identification: This technique includes machine-readable badges(symbols), cards, or smart cards. In some companies, badges are required for employees to gain access to the organization’s gate. In many systems, identification is combined with the use of a password i.e the user must insert the card and then supply his /her password. This kind of authentication is commonly used with ATMs. Smart cards can enhance this scheme by keeping the user password within the card itself. This allows authentication without the storage of passwords in the computer system. The loss of such a card can be dangerous.
    3. Biometrics: This method of authentication is based on the unique biological characteristics of each user such as fingerprints, voice or face recognition, signatures, and eyes.
    4. A scanner or other devices to gather the necessary data about the user.
    5. Software to convert the data into a form that can be compared and stored.
    6. A database that stores information for all authorized users.
    7. Facial Characteristics – Humans are differentiated on the basis of facial characteristics such as eyes, nose, lips, eyebrows, and chin shape.
    8. Fingerprints – Fingerprints are believed to be unique across the entire human population.
    9. Hand Geometry – Hand geometry systems identify features of the hand that includes the shape, length, and width of fingers.
    10. Retinal pattern – It is concerned with the detailed structure of the eye.
    11. Signature – Every individual has a unique style of handwriting, and this feature is reflected in the signatures of a person.
    12. Voice – This method records the frequency pattern of the voice of an individual speaker.
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