Understanding Authentication

What is Authentication?


Authentication is the process of verifying a user’s identity. It protects resources such as computer systems, networks, and data bases. The most commonly used type of authentication is a simple username and password. However, there are other types of authentication that can be much stronger.


3 Types of Authentication


  1. The first type of authentication, and the most commonly thought of, is something the user knows. This can be in the form of a username and password, security question, or PIN.
  2.  The second type is something the user has. This consists of physical objects such as a key, key card, and chip card.
  3. The third type of authentication is something that is a part of the user, meaning physical attributes that can be used for identification. This can include fingerprints, face recognition, and voice recognition.


Authentication vs. Authorization


 Authentication and authorization often get mixed up. People often use the words interchangeably; however they have two separate meanings. Like explained before, authentication is confirming one’s own identity, while authorization happens after the fact. Authorization is the act of gaining permission to access a system. Simply put, authentication is gaining access, while authorization is gaining permission.