Why Authentication Matters: Understanding the Basics of Online Security

Online Authentication

Authentication and authorization are two critical information security processes used by administrators to safeguard systems and data. Authentication verifies a user’s or service’s identity, while authorization determines their access rights.

In computer systems, “authentication procedure” refers to confirming a user’s identity. A server uses authentication when it needs to be certain of the identity of the person viewing its data or website.

The user or computer must demonstrate their identification to the server or client during authentication. A username and password are typically required for server verification. Card-based authentication, retinal scanning, speech recognition, and fingerprint authentication are additional options.

Read on to discover the basics of online security. 

Importance of Online Authentication

Authentication is essential since it enables organizations to keep their networks secure by allowing only authenticated users (or processes) to access protected resources. This includes data on computer systems, networks, databases, websites, and other network-based applications or services. It is a critical step in preventing unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data. A robust user authentication process ensures that User A can access only the required information, not User B’s sensitive information.

When the authentication process is not secure, cybercriminals can hack systems and gain access to all the information the user is otherwise authorized to access. Several well-known and popular websites have previously been victims of data breaches, demonstrating what happens when organizations fail to secure their websites. An organization suffers significant financial, reputational, and user trust losses when a data breach occurs.

Enterprises must invest in high-quality authentication tools to secure and protect their websites from potential breaches. As a result, user authentication is critical. It is a method of preventing your organization from becoming the next victim on the list.

What Are the Types of Authentication?

Depending on the risk profile and business logic, firms may handle user authentication differently across different services. The user must establish a foundation by integrating the authentication options.

Three things are required for authentication: knowledge (such as a PIN), ownership, and inheritance (e.g. Biometrics). Using contextual data from online browsers and mobile devices is also standard practice.

Here are some common types of authentication:

1. Password-based Authentication

Password based authentication

Password authentication entails entering an ID and key validated against stored credentials. It is the process of gaining access to resources to which one is entitled using a set of credentials consisting of a username and password. This is a widely used method known for its ease of use and low cost. Simple password authentication makes it simple to authenticate users.

The password-based authentication method is popular due to its simplicity, low cost, ease of use, and practicality.

2. Biometric Authentication

Biometric Authentication

Biometric authentication is a security process that uses an individual’s unique biological characteristics to confirm that they are who they say they are. The term biometric is a combination of two words: bio (human) and metric (measurement) (measurement). In layperson’s terms, biometric authentication compares users to a database and stores their information in service.

Biometric authentication involves using some aspect of a person’s physical appearance to authenticate them. This could be a fingerprint, an iris scan, a retina scan, or another physical feature. It is possible to use single or multiple characteristics.

Because of its high level of accuracy, biometric authentication is still widely regarded by experts as one of the most accurate and secure methods of authenticating user identity. According to a survey, 65% of respondents prefer fingerprint or facial recognition to traditional text passwords.

3. Multifactor authentication

This type of authentication system requires more than one distinct authentication factor to be successful. 

The primary goal of multifactor authentication is to reduce the risk of account takeovers while also providing added security for users and their accounts. Because weak or stolen passwords cause over 80% of cyber breaches, MFA can offer the additional layers of security required to protect users and their data. According to Microsoft, two-factor authentication can make your account 99.9% less likely to be compromised.

4. Certificate-based Authentication


Certificate-based authentication is based on the user’s private key and the password that protects the private key. Before granting access, Certificate-based Authentication (CBA) uses a digital certificate obtained through cryptography to identify a user, machine, or device.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) are the two most common types of certificate-based authentication (SSL). TLS and SSL encrypt data exchanged between the server and the client by using digital certificates to authenticate the server.

5. Token-based Authentication

Token-based authentication ensures that each request to a server is accompanied by a signed token, which the server validates for authenticity.

A secondary service verifies a server request using token authentication. When the verification is finished, the server generates a token and responds to the request. The user may still have one password to remember, but the token provides another type of access that is much more difficult to steal or defeat.

In Conclusion

Managing user authentication and authorization is a significant responsibility. Getting it wrong can cost you far more than unauthorized data access. It may also jeopardize user privacy or result in financial or identity theft for your users. You want to avoid that kind of responsibility or liability for your company if you are a large corporation with a large security team. As such, firms must stay updated on authentication best practices and implementation to prevent unauthorized user data access.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.