Saturday, February 26, 2011


Last chapter, then time for exam papers!

Identification is not the same as Authentication. Identification is concerned with "Who you are?", while Authentication is concerned with "Are you really who you are?"

An example of Identification is a username, and Authentication is a password.

Authentication can be done in three ways:
-What you have - Smart card, Token
-What you know - Passwords, secret answers, PIN
-What you are - Biometrics like fingerprint

2FA is simply a combination of any of these two.

The disadvantage of "What you have" is that it can be stolen or forged.

The disadvantage of "What you know" is that it can be brute-forced. Most of the time it is easily cracked via technical methods.

The most secure method thus far (the level of security depends on the accuracy of the system) is "What you are". Biometrics such as voice, fingerprint and iris are things that cannot be forgotten, lost or stolen and is extremely impractical to forge (with current technologies. Who knows, maybe you're from 2020 and they've forged people).

Biometric must be something that is completely unique to an individual. Biometrics that meet these requirements include fingerprints, finger scans, retinal scans, voice scans, handwriting recognition, face recognition, and hand scans.

Biometrics require a hardware infrastructure (scanners, etc) and a database to store these information in digital form. They must also be smart enough to be able to compare newly scanned biometric information with stored information (which are bound to be slightly different).

The biometric protocol is to (in case of Fingerprint):
1) Capture - The fingerprint of those permitted are scanned
2) Process - The fingerprint is processed and quantized into binary data
3) Store or Verify (First time only) - The data is stored, or in case of verification, the data is compared against the one stored in the database.

Advantages of Fingerprinting:
-Moderately Reliable
-Cheap to manufacture
-Little data needs to be stored (<1kbyte br="">-Easy to implement everywhere (e.g. Even in webpages)

-Requires close contact with scanner
-Dirt on finger can affect recognition
-Fingerprint readers have to be cleaned

Another way of scanning as mentioned is the Iris/Retinal scans. Advantages are:
-More accurate and have more characteristics to match
-Can scan through glasses and contact lenses (in case of Iris)
-Low error rate (one in 2 million)

-Difficulty reading blind or cataract patients
-Cumbersome to use

And now we're done.

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