Binary Versus Continuous Authentication

Ty Chaston
December 21, 2018

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From ancient to modern times, the concept of a gatekeeper, bouncer or doorman has controlled who has access to a given place or resource. The benefit, of course, being that only those authorized to come in were actually allowed. The downside, as you can imagine, being that it is easy to get past that gatekeeper and an even bigger problem is that there are no controls once you are allowed access.

Binary Authentication: Can I Come In?

With the advent of computers and especially the proliferation of the hundreds of devices and millions of applications that followed, the need to authenticate a user in order to access that system (i.e. login) has been a requirement. The original and still most prevalent method of doing this is binary authentication which is based on a simple username and password combination that then allows an individual complete access to the resource until they log out.

The downside of binary authentication is best described by Roger Grimes in his CSO article titled “What is continuous user authentication? The best defense against fraud”:

“Binary authentication allows you to do nothing (not authenticated) or everything previously allowed (after a successful authentication). The biggest negative of this type of authentication is that if bad guys gets your credentials, they can do anything including deleting your account. If they create a new fake account on a legitimate system, they can use it as a base for all sorts of badness.”

Continuous Authentication: Should I Still Be Here?

Roger Grimes continued in his article that:

“But with continuous user authentication, benign behavioral attributes are consistently evaluated and compared to an established pattern. Deviation from the established pattern may trigger a step-up authentication for higher risk application functions. It’s a fantastic idea that makes evaluating user behavior only at the logon sounds so horse-and-buggy. How did we ever survive with that archaic security model?”

Put more succinctly, cyber credentials are continuously being reauthenticated during a session to ensure you are still you and not a bad actor impersonating you.

Continuous Cognitive Authentication

Acceptto recognizes that to be truly secure, your authentication solution has to continuously authenticate your users to prevent the eventuality of a bad actor hijacking credentials already authenticated. More importantly, reducing the drag associated with maintaining your identity access management policies aren’t compromised.

Our solution, eGuardian® is built on the premise that your credentials today, and those that you’ve yet to create, have already been compromised. Your identity cannot simply be based on a password or a one-time token or only your biometrics. Your immutable identity is a combination of your physical behaviors, attributes and Digital DNA. We call it Cognitive Authentication. You can eliminate preventable harm with our Biobehavioral AIML technology that enables frictionless authentication, prevents credentials stuffing instantaneously, ensures your true immutable identity continuously, and dramatically reduces risk, likelihood of fraud and cost of helpdesk operations without the guesswork or latency.

By putting you in charge, we prevent hackers from stealing your identity and accessing your accounts and data even if they have your passwords or credit card information. See for yourself what Acceptto’s eGuardian can do to ensure your employees, partners and customers can authenticate without passwords and still ensure security and privacy. Register for a free demo today.

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