Introduction to Authentication In this article we’re going to explore different authentication mechanisms. An authentication mechanism (or method) is a way for you to prove that you’re allowed to access something. Passwords have been the default method of authentication for as long as most of us have needed to prove to a computer that we’re allowed to access it. However, passwords are not the only authentication mechanism. Authentication Methods Something you know: Examples of this are your good-old password, bank card PIN or a safe-word when the alarm company calls your home; these are all examples of using something you know to authenticate yourself. Something you have: Examples are a swipe card to access a secure area, a code sent to your cellphone as part of a login process (to prove you have your cellphone) or a SecureID token that provides a constantly changing code you need to enter to gain access – all are something you have that can be used to authenticate yourself. Something you are: This is where biometric security comes in. To access our data center we have to put our index finger on a fingerprint scanner after swiping a card. Unless you steal someone’s index finger you
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