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Definition: Authentication

Authentication normally refers to the act of confirming the veracity of an attribute, data or identity. In systems, authentication normally means verifying the identity of a person through his username and password. Although sometimes used synonymously, authentication & authorization are different. Authorization is the process of granting access to system objects to individuals based on their identity & hence must follow authentication.

Authentication is simply to verify that the person is the one that he or she claims to be. It does not say anything about the access rights & privileges that the person enjoys. Normally, authentication precedes authorization although they seem to be combined sometimes. The process of authentication makes use of digital signature involving primary and secondary keys. There are basically three different techniques for authentication. The first type accepts proof of identity from a credible person who has the evidence of the proof. The second type of authentication compares the attributes of the object with the known attributes of objects of similar origin. The third type of authentication accepts documentation or other known external affirmations.

Authentication can also be a two-factor authentication when elements with two factors are required for authentication. For example, an authentication may need a user pin and password. Authentication may also happen of a product using a secure key storage device. Authentication of information content can also happen in terms of factual verification and video authentication.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Authentication along with its overview.


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