Digital Identity Authentication For Beginners

Ty Chaston
June 10, 2019

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We live in a digital world and your digital identity is your passport to gain access to everything from computers, tablets and phones to networks, applications and the cloud. But, do you really understand the nature of your digital ID? And, what if you have multiple digital IDs for different environments like separating professional/work from personal/play use? Do you know how the devices, networks, apps and cloud-based resources authenticate that you are really you and what you should have access to under what circumstances? If you answered no to one or more of these questions, then you are not alone.

Digital Identity Made Simple

Before the computer age, we relied upon birth certificates, social security cards, driver’s licenses and passports to authenticate our identity. At the dawn of the computer age the only method of authentication was a login and password combination. Specifically, a unique combination of characters, numerals and special characters that remained static for your login but you could change periodically for your password. But as you can imagine, it was strange enough to use something other than your name (how many John Smiths and Jane Does are there in the world?), but the concept of a password seemed right out of a spy novel. And, as you can imagine, almost no one ever changed their passwords in the early days and most made their password something innocuous like “1234567” or “PASSWORD”.

Turn the clock forward from the world’s first computer password to today some 60 years later and guess what? We still rely on login/password combinations! The only difference is that the average business person now has to keep track of 191 passwords. According to a Security Magazine article titled “Average Business User Has 191 Passwords”:

“People often underestimate the number of accounts they actually have, according to the report. And the average 250-employee company has 47,750 passwords in use, the report found.”

Besides the sheer quantity of passwords to remember for the consumer/business person, the real battlefront comes in the form of how your identity is actual authenticated by the digital resources you would like to use.

Digital Identity Authentication Made Simple

A key without a lock is a waste, just like a set of digital identity credentials without some way to validate them is also a waste. Early programs wouldn’t let a user in until they successfully passed the challenge of

LOGIN: ????

PASSWORD: ********

 It wasn’t until 1997 that the first two-factor authentication patent was granted to Kim Schmitz (the notorious Kim Dotcom). From there, according to Wikipedia there are 7 types of multi factor authentication techniques available now:

  1. Knowledge factors:using something you know like your login and password as well as the answers to specific questions like the name of your first pet
  2. Possession factors:using something only you have such as a card key
  3. Disconnected tokens: using some type of built-in screen to generate something manually typed in like a captcha
  4. Connected tokens: using a physical device that needs to be connected to the resource to gain entry like with USB keys, wireless tags or smart cards
  5. Software tokens:using a certificate loaded onto the device and stored securely
  6. Inherent factors:using biometric factors like fingerprint, voice, retinal or face scan
  7. Location-based factors: using your physical location based on GPS coordinates

The net result is the drag it takes to gain access to anything digital today. The more factors of authentication may equate to more security but also equates to a lot of time wasted remembering and passing through those levels, not to mention the help desk costs for resetting those forgotten.

Digital Authentication Made Safe 

As you can see, there are dozens of ways to authenticate yourself into the digital world, but thousands of ways to have that identity stolen, corrupted, or coopted by someone else without your permission. There are literally hundreds of millions of breaches and you have to proceed under the premise that every password you have ever created (or have yet to create) has already been breached. IN doing so you will need an identity authentication solution that doesn’t rely on traditional passwords or even traditional multifactor authentication like SMS messages, captchas or biometrics. 

Acceptto’s eGuardian engine continuously creates, and monitors user behavior profiles based on the user interaction with the It’sMe authenticator. This provides both inference and prediction, so every time an activity occurs, actionable intelligence is gathered and used to optimize the user profile.

eGuardian is capable of autonomously and continually learning new policies and adapting existing ones. While policies can still be manually defined and contribute to the computation, our Biobehavioral AIML approach automatically finds the optimal policy for each transaction. eGuardian leverages a mixture of AI & ML, expert systems and SMEs to classify, detect, and model behavior, and assign real-time risk scores to continuously validate your identity prior to, during and post-authentication.

Download the Enterprise Management Associates’ Ten Priorities For Identity Management in 2019 today and then check out what Acceptto can do to ensure your employees, partners and customers can authenticate without passwords and still ensure security and privacy registering for a free demo today.


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