Common User Authentication Methods You Should Know About

Common User Authentication Methods You Should Know About

In today’s age where technology and daily life go hand in hand, millions of people have become accustomed to doing most of their transactions and other activities online. With that said, companies and organizations are also riding the digital wave in order to adapt. These companies have their own websites where users can create their own accounts so they can enjoy what these websites have to offer. Of course, it goes without saying that security is a frequent topic of discussion. This is where authentication comes into play. Through authentication, the website will verify that you and only you are trying to gain access to your account. Various authentication methods are used by these companies to ensure your account’s safety and privacy. Being knowledgeable about the most commonly used authentication methods can help you decide which ones are right for you.

Password-Based Authentication

If you’ve created an account anywhere on the internet, you probably already know you’ll be prompted to create a password upon signing up. Today, it’s one of the most important things an individual should remember and keep safe. Passwords are made by combining various letters, numbers, and special characters to create a special code. In some cases, a Personal Identification Number or PIN code is used as a substitute. In this case, a four or six digit number code is used to access your accounts. However, passwords are also known to be commonly targeted by hackers. In phishing attacks, hackers will trick you into divulging your username and password. They can also use various hacking programs in order to guess your passwords. This is why you should avoid using easy-to-guess passwords such as special dates or common words. Changing passwords every few months or so also lowers the risk of having someone guess or steal your account login information.If you have the option to add another form of authentication method aside from a password, it’s highly recommended to use that as well to increase security.

Two-Factor And Multi-Factor Authentication

Two-factor and multi-factor authentication is a slightly more strengthened authentication method in comparison to only using passwords. Just as their names state, two-factor and multi-factor authentication requires users to go through two or more verification steps before they are granted access to their accounts. With these methods in place, users can’t directly access their accounts after typing in their passwords. The first factor or step is usually to input a user’s password, after which they’ll be prompted to do another form of authentication if the password is correct. The second factor typically uses a One-Time Password or OTP sent to the user’s phone number or email address. This gives users an additional layer of protection against hackers. Similarly, it also warns you if someone is trying to get into your account when you receive an OTP out of the blue when you aren’t using a specific application. 

Biometric Authentication

In this authentication method, smart devices scan and store your biometric information. Using your biometrics is a highly secure form of authentication, as biometric data is unique from person to person. It’s a surefire way of knowing and verifying whether or not you are the true owner of the account or device you’re trying to open. With biometric authentication, you have the freedom of not having to remember any passwords or PIN codes – though it is best to pair it with one for maximum security.  One of the biggest downsides to this method though is that not every device has the capacity to support biometric authentication. One of the most popular forms of biometric authentication is fingerprint scanning. Facial recognition is also a familiar method especially among smartphone users. Eye scanning, voice recognition, and behavioral biometrics are also some of the types of biometric verification methods you may encounter. 

CAPTCHA Authentication

The way this authentication method operates is slightly different from the other ones on this list. Instead of trying to figure out if you are the true owner of the account you’re trying to sign in to, CAPTCHAs work to verify whether you are indeed a human being. The Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, or CAPTCHA for short, is a system designed to determine if a user is a true person or a bot. This way, automated hacking systems can be thwarted. The most common forms of CAPTCHA authentication you may come across are text-based, image-based, and audio-based types. CAPTCHAs were primarily text-based, where users were asked to type in a combination of random letters and numbers which were displayed in a distorted manner. Letters and numbers that are warped in one way or another makes it impossible for bots to decipher, as they can only read and interpret set patterns.  Later on, image-based CAPTCHAs were developed to succeed text-based ones. Users will be asked to select specific images or parts of an image, which again makes it difficult for bots to do. Audio-based CAPTCHAs are commonly paired with text-based or image-based types for user convenience. 

Single Sign-On Authentication

Single Sign-On or SSO authentication allows users to gain access to multiple applications, websites, and servers using only one set of credentials. SSO provides users with the convenience of having to remember only one strong password, which is a plus for forgetful individuals. The user’s account has an identity provider or IdP which is linked to an application referred to as a service provider. This time-saving method is beneficial to multitasking employees who need access to multiple separate applications. It’s a seamless and efficient method many companies enjoy. Users do face the risk of creating a data breach, which is why keeping their credentials secure is of uppermost importance. Single Logout systems also exist, which allows users to log out of every application linked to the IdP by logging out of just one. 

Certificate-Based Authentication

A digital certificate or public key certificate is an electronic file that works just like any other identification document. It is issued by a certification authority and digitally stores a user’s personal information. Digital certificates can also be used as an electronic password. Certificate-based authentication requires users to present their digital certificates when they sign in to a website or server. A digital certificate has the certification authority’s signature for validity and authenticity. It also contains a public key, which belongs to the owner of the certificate. The system or server uses cryptography to verify the certification authority and public key of the digital certificate. Since it uses SSO, certificate-based authentication can be utilized by companies that need to provide contractors with temporary access to their network.  

Keep Your Accounts And Passwords Safe While On The Move With OTR Mobile

You may have your login credentials secured, but is your Wi-Fi just as safe? Connecting to a  vulnerable network could be quite the risk for you, especially if you’re someone who travels frequently. RVers, digital nomads, and frequent travelers know the importance of having a strong internet connection. Here at OTR Mobile, we work towards providing you with consistent and convenient access to the internet through our mobile hotspot devices. We’ve got over 40 years of combined experience in the telecommunications industry under our belt, so you can kick back and relax knowing we’ve got your back. Sign up for a subscription with us today and we’ll help you choose the best plan for you and your needs. 

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