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Authentication. User Authentication - Defined The rapid spread of e-Business has necessitated the securing of transactions Authentication is a fundamental.

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Presentation on theme: "Authentication. User Authentication - Defined The rapid spread of e-Business has necessitated the securing of transactions Authentication is a fundamental."— Presentation transcript:

1 Authentication

2 User Authentication - Defined The rapid spread of e-Business has necessitated the securing of transactions Authentication is a fundamental security function. During authentication, credentials presented by an individual are validated and associated with the person's identity.This binding between credentials and identity is typically done for the purpose of granting (or denying) authorization to perform some restricted operation, like accessing secured files or executing sensitive transactions User authentication is commonly defined as the process of identifying an individual, usually based on a uusername and passwords –In security systems, authentication is distinct from authorization, which is the process of giving individuals access to system objects based on their identity. Authentication merely ensures that the individual is who he or she claims to be, but says nothing about the access rights of the individual. The process of identifying an individual, usually based on a username and password

3 Strong User Authentication - Defined When a traditional business becomes an e-Business, the access paths to corporate data expand, and the need for an overall security methodology increases greatly. A key part of this methodology is authentication. Old authentication methods such as passwords will no longer suffice due to their inherent weaknesses as well as the growing sophistication of the tools and people attempting unauthorized access. Today, strong user authentication—using at least two methods of identifying an individual—is critical to maintaining control over access to data Essentially, Strong Authentication controls access and gives non- repudiation, or conclusive tracing of an action to an individual

4 Existing User Authentication Techniques MethodExamplesProperties What you knowUser Ids, PINs Passwords Shared Easy to guess Usually forgotten What you haveCards Badges Keys Shared Can be Duplicated Lost or Stolen What you know and what you have ATM + PINShared PIN is weak (written on back, easy to guess or forget) Something unique about user Fingerprint, face, voiceprint, iris scan Not possible to share Repudiation unlikely Forging difficult Cannot be lost or stolen The broad categories of user authentication, their methods and properties are shown in the following table

5 Single Factor Authentication - Defined Single factor authentication has been traditionally established by one of these elements: –Something you have—including keys or token cards –Something you know—including passwords –Something you are—including fingerprints, voiceprints or retinal scans (iris)

6 Single Factor Authentication - Products Passwords are the most basic and most common method of single factor authentication Other stronger forms of single factor authentication include: –Password Authentication Protocol (PAP) –Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP) –Secure Socket Layer (SSL) –Digital Signatures –Kerberos –Firewall –Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

7 Single Factor Authentication – Products Defined Password Authentication Protocol: The most basic access control protocol for logging onto a network. A table of usernames and passwords is stored on a server—when users log on, their usernames and passwords are sent to the server for verification Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol: Similar to PAP, CHAP also uses a randomly generated challenge and requires a matching response that depends on a cryptographic hash of the challenge and a secret key Secure Sockets Layer: The leading security protocol on the Internet. When an SSL session is initiated, the browser sends its public key to the server so that the server can securely send a secret key to the browser. The browser and server exchange data via secret key encryption during that session. Originally developed by Netscape, SSL has since been merged with other protocols and authentication methods by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) into a new protocol known as Transport Layer Security (TLS)

8 Single Factor Authentication – Products Defined Digital Signatures: An electronic signature that cannot be forged. It is a computed digest of the text that is encrypted and sent with the text message. The recipient decrypts the signature and recomputes the digest from the received text. If the digests match, the message is authenticated and proved intact from the sender Kerberos: An MIT-developed user authentication system. While it does not provide authorization to services or databases, Kerberos does establish identity at logon, which is used throughout the session Firewall: A security barrier set up between a company's internal systems and externally facing systems that filters out unwanted data packets. It can be implemented in a single router, or it may use a combination of technologies in routers and hosts Virtual Private Networks: VPNs use encryption in the lower protocol layers to provide a secure connection through an otherwise insecure network, typically the Internet. VPNs are generally cheaper than real private networks using private lines, but do require that the same encryption system be at both ends. Encryption may be performed by firewall software or by routers

9 Single Factor Authentication – Drawbacks Individually, any one of these approaches has its limitations. "Something you have" can be stolen, while "Something you know" can be guessed, shared or lost to other methods. "Something you are" is generally the strongest approach, but can be costly to implement and remains vulnerable to attack

10 Two Factor Authentication - Defined Given the limitations of single-factor authentication, the logical alternative is two-factor authentication, in which two of the methods are applied in tandem. A perfect example is the system employed to authenticate automated teller machine (ATM) users, which blends a magnetic-strip card (what you have) with a multi-digit PIN (what you know) Any one type of authentication may authorize access, but using two types moves toward the control concept of non-repudiation; not only can you prove your identity and gain access to a resource, but you cannot deny accessing the resource at a later time. We define "strong user authentication" as the two-factor method described above

11 Need for Strong Authentication There are three essential reasons why an organization my decide to use strong authentication: 1.The cost associated with loss of unauthorized data is usually the most compelling reason to use strong authentication. Strong authentication should be used in the case of high risk data while it may not pay to use strong authentication for low risk data 2.A corporation could be held liable for an attack by a hacker. The loss of money and public confidence in this scenario will be great. Use of strong authentication techniques greatly minimizes this risk 3.The authentication tool should be capable of evolving as technology and threat changes. Therefore, in investing in a strong authentication tool it is essential to acquire one that can change as technology advances

12 Strong Authentication – Smart Cards Smart cards are one way to provide strong authentication of users. The card itself is the item that the user must possess. The second factor may be a PIN, a password, or even a thumbprint. Various existing systems have used all of these Authentication becomes even more rigorous by requiring a functional correlation between the two factors. The contents of the smart card cannot be accessed unless the value of the second factor is read by the smart card from the reading device. Specifically, when a user presents a smart card to a reading device such as a computer, the computer reads the PIN (or other second factor) and writes it to the smart card. Only if the PIN matches will the smart card allow the other information it contains to be accessed by the computer The most important information passed by the smart card to the computer is, of course, the identity of the user. When the computer receives that identity, the authentication is complete

13 Strong Authentication – Digital Certificates One of the core enabling security technologies is public key infrastructure (PKI). PKI is based on certificates provided to individuals through a registration process. The validity of stored information is consistently validated and supported by the infrastructure One of the biggest obstacles to e-commerce expansion is how to prove the identity of an individual over networks and electronic services. Electronic service providers and financial institutions are embracing strong authentication and PKI technology as a key enabler Certificates allow individual users, workstations and servers to identify themselves to each other, by digital signing of messages, software source files, secure Web communications, and Web site. This key enabling technology allows for strong authentication

14 Strong Authentication – Biometrics Automated biometrics in general, and fingerprint technology in particular, can provide a much more accurate and reliable user authentication method Biometrics is a rapidly advancing field that is concerned with identifying a person based on his or her physiological or behavioral characteristics. Examples of automated biometrics include fingerprint, face, iris scan, and speech recognition (voice print) As a biometric property is an intrinsic property of an individual, it is difficult to duplicate and nearly impossible to share Finally, a biometric property of an individual can be lost only in case of serious accident

15 Authentication – Selection process In selecting a method of authentication an organization has to bear in mind the following four aspects 1.the desired level of security (of importance in case of a dispute, based on the value of the data to be protected) 2.the complexity of the used techniques (necessary computer power, speed, maturity of technology, scalability of technology) 3.the practicality of the used methods (cumbersome update, key distribution) 4.the assumption underlying the solution 5.failure rates

16 User Authentication - Summary The security of e-Business depends upon the ability to both prevent malicious attacks and track unintentionally unauthorized acts Many e-Business leaders assume that their systems are secure because they are using a security product such as firewalls within their infrastructure. This is a false sense of security Information security is only as strong as its weakest link. Implementing simple security or no authentication, may provide hackers a weak "backdoor" from which to compromise network defenses User authentication,especially strong user authentication, in combination with the other technologies, can help create user accountability, confidentiality and a reliable audit trail, and help ensure the security of e-Business

17 eds.com Contact information for Global Information Assurance Services: Katherine Hollis


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