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Authentication (from ''authentikos'', "real, genuine", from αὐθέντης ''authentes'', "author") is the act of proving an assertion, such as the
identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression and affiliation * Cultural identity, a person's self-affiliation (or categorization by others ...
of a computer system user. In contrast with
identification Identification or identify may refer to: Art and entertainment *Identify (album), ''Identify'' (album) by Got7 *''Kill Command'', 2016 film, also known as ''Identify'' *Identify (song), "Identify" (song) *Identification (album), by Benjamin Ingr ...
, the act of indicating a person or thing's identity, authentication is the process of verifying that identity. It might involve validating personal
identity document An identity document (also called a piece of identification or ID, or colloquially as papers) is any document A document is a writing, written, drawing, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought, often the manifestation o ...
s, verifying the authenticity of a
website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web page A web page (or webpage) is a hypertext Hypertext is text displayed on a or other with references () to other text that the reader can immediately access. Hyperte ...

website
with a
digital certificate In cryptography Cryptography, or cryptology (from grc, , translit=kryptós "hidden, secret"; and ''graphein'', "to write", or ''-logy, -logia'', "study", respectively), is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in ...
, determining the age of an artifact by
carbon dating Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for Chronological dating, determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of carbon-14, radiocarbon, a radioactive Isotopes ...
, or ensuring that a product or document is not
counterfeit To counterfeit means to imitate something authentic, with the intent to steal, destroy, or replace the original, for use in illegal transactions, or otherwise to deceive individuals into believing that the fake is of equal or greater value than ...
.


Methods

Authentication is relevant to multiple fields. In
art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use ...

art
,
antique A true antique ( la, antiquus; 'old', 'ancient') is an item perceived as having value because of its aesthetic or historical significance, and often defined as at least 100 years old (or some other limit), although the term is often used loos ...

antique
s and
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
, a common problem is verifying that a given artifact was produced by a certain person or in a certain place or period of history. In
computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. Computer science is the study of computation, automation, a ...
, verifying a user's identity is often required to allow access to confidential data or systems. Authentication can be considered to be of three types: The first type of authentication is accepting proof of identity given by a credible person who has first-hand evidence that the identity is genuine. When authentication is required of art or physical objects, this proof could be a friend, family member or colleague attesting to the item's provenance, perhaps by having witnessed the item in its creator's possession. With autographed sports memorabilia, this could involve someone attesting that they witnessed the object being signed. A vendor selling branded items implies authenticity, while he or she may not have evidence that every step in the supply chain was authenticated. Centralized authority-based trust relationships back most secure internet communication through known public certificate authorities; decentralized peer-based trust, also known as a
web of trust In cryptography, a web of trust is a concept used in Pretty Good Privacy, PGP, GNU Privacy Guard, GnuPG, and other OpenPGP-compatible systems to establish the Authentication, authenticity of the binding between a public key and its owner. Its d ...

web of trust
, is used for personal services such as email or files (
pretty good privacy Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is an encryption program that provides cryptographic Cryptography, or cryptology (from grc, , translit=kryptós "hidden, secret"; and ''graphein'', "to write", or '' -logia'', "study", respectively), is the ...
,
GNU Privacy Guard GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG or GPG) is a free-software replacement for NortonLifeLock, Symantec's Pretty Good Privacy, PGP cryptography, cryptographic software suite. The software is compliant with RFC 4880, the Internet Engineering Task Force, IETF ...
) and trust is established by known individuals signing each other's
cryptographic key A key in cryptography Cryptography, or cryptology (from grc, , translit=kryptós "hidden, secret"; and ''graphein'', "to write", or ''-logia ''-logy'' is a suffix in the English language, used with words originally adapted from Ancien ...
at
Key signing parties Key signing in front of FOSDEM 2008. In public-key cryptography, a key signing party is an event at which people present their public key (cryptography), keys to others in person, who, if they are confident the key actually belongs to the person wh ...
, for instance. The second type of authentication is comparing the attributes of the object itself to what is known about objects of that origin. For example, an art expert might look for similarities in the style of painting, check the location and form of a signature, or compare the object to an old photograph. An
archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, but archaeologists also draw from biological, geological, ...

archaeologist
, on the other hand, might use
carbon dating Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for Chronological dating, determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of carbon-14, radiocarbon, a radioactive Isotopes ...
to verify the age of an artifact, do a chemical and spectroscopic analysis of the materials used, or compare the style of construction or decoration to other artifacts of similar origin. The physics of sound and light, and comparison with a known physical environment, can be used to examine the authenticity of audio recordings, photographs, or videos. Documents can be verified as being created on ink or paper readily available at the time of the item's implied creation. Attribute comparison may be vulnerable to forgery. In general, it relies on the facts that creating a forgery indistinguishable from a genuine artifact requires expert knowledge, that mistakes are easily made, and that the amount of effort required to do so is considerably greater than the amount of profit that can be gained from the forgery. In art and antiques, certificates are of great importance for authenticating an object of interest and value. Certificates can, however, also be forged, and the authentication of these poses a problem. For instance, the son of
Han van Meegeren #REDIRECT Han van Meegeren#REDIRECT Han van Meegeren Henricus Antonius "Han" van Meegeren (; 10 October 1889 – 30 December 1947) was a Dutch painter and portraitist, considered one of the most ingenious Art forgery, art forgers of the 20th centu ...
, the well-known art-forger, forged the work of his father and provided a certificate for its provenance as well; see the article
Jacques van Meegeren Jacques Henri Emil van Meegeren (26 August 1912 – 26 October 1977) was a Dutch people, Dutch illustrator and Painting, painter. He is also considered to be a forger of the work of his father, Han van Meegeren, convicted of forging old masters ...
. Criminal and civil penalties for
fraud In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by ...

fraud
,
forgery Forgery is a white-collar crime The term "white-collar crime" refers to financially motivated, nonviolent or non directly violent crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. Th ...
, and
counterfeit To counterfeit means to imitate something authentic, with the intent to steal, destroy, or replace the original, for use in illegal transactions, or otherwise to deceive individuals into believing that the fake is of equal or greater value than ...
ing can reduce the incentive for falsification, depending on the risk of getting caught.
Currency A currency, "in circulation", from la, currens, -entis, literally meaning "running" or "traversing" in the most specific sense is money Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services ...

Currency
and other financial instruments commonly use this second type of authentication method. Bills, coins, and
cheque A cheque, or check (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the Unit ...
s incorporate hard-to-duplicate physical features, such as fine printing or engraving, distinctive feel, watermarks, and
holographic Holography is the science and practice of making holograms. A hologram, also known as a holograph, (from the Greek for "whole description" or "whole picture") is a recording of an interference pattern which uses diffraction to reproduce a 3 ...
imagery, which are easy for trained receivers to verify. The third type of authentication relies on documentation or other external affirmations. In criminal courts, the
rules of evidence The law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described ...
often require establishing the
chain of custody Chain of custody (CoC), in legal contexts, is the chronological documentation or wiktionary:paper trail, paper trail that records the sequence of custody, control, transfer, analysis, and disposition of materials, including physical or electronic ...
of evidence presented. This can be accomplished through a written evidence log, or by testimony from the police detectives and forensics staff that handled it. Some antiques are accompanied by certificates attesting to their authenticity. Signed sports memorabilia is usually accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. These external records have their own problems of forgery and
perjury Perjury is the intentional act of swearing a false oath Traditionally an oath (from Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is beha ...
, and are also vulnerable to being separated from the artifact and lost. In computer science, a user can be given based on user credentials that imply authenticity. A network administrator can give a user a password, or provide the user with a key card or other access device to allow system access. In this case, authenticity is implied but not guaranteed.
Consumer goods A final good or consumer good is a final product In production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act o ...
such as pharmaceuticals, perfume, fashion clothing can use all three forms of authentication to prevent counterfeit goods from taking advantage of a popular brand's reputation (damaging the brand owner's sales and reputation). As mentioned above, having an item for sale in a reputable store implicitly attests to it being genuine, the first type of authentication. The second type of authentication might involve comparing the quality and craftsmanship of an item, such as an expensive handbag, to genuine articles. The third type of authentication could be the presence of a
trademark A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-mark) is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also r ...

trademark
on the item, which is a legally protected marking, or any other identifying feature which aids consumers in the identification of genuine brand-name goods. With software, companies have taken great steps to protect from counterfeiters, including adding holograms, security rings, security threads and color shifting ink.


Authentication factors

The ways in which someone may be authenticated fall into three categories, based on what are known as the factors of authentication: something the user ''knows'', something the user ''has'', and something the user ''is''. Each authentication factor covers a range of elements used to authenticate or verify a person's identity prior to being granted access, approving a transaction request, signing a document or other work product, granting authority to others, and establishing a chain of authority. Security research has determined that for a positive authentication, elements from at least two, and preferably all three, factors should be verified. The three factors (classes) and some of elements of each factor are: * the knowledge factors: Something the user knows (e.g., a
password A password, sometimes called a passcode (for example in Apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown specie ...

password
, partial password, pass phrase,
personal identification number A personal identification number (PIN), or sometimes redundantly a PIN number or PIN code, is a numeric (sometimes alpha-numeric Alphanumericals are a combination of alphabetical and wiktionary:numerical, numerical Character (symbol), charact ...
(PIN),
challenge response Challenge may refer to: * Voter challenging or caging (voter suppression), caging, a method of challenging the registration status of voters * Euphemism for disability * Peremptory challenge, a dismissal of potential jurors from jury duty * Challe ...
(the user must answer a question or pattern),
security questionA security question is form of shared secret used as an authenticator. It is commonly used by banks, cable companies and wireless providers as an extra security layer. History Financial institutions have used questions to authenticate customers si ...
). * the ownership factors: Something the user has (e.g., wrist band,
ID card An identity document (also called a piece of identification or ID, or colloquially as papers) is any document A document is a writing, written, drawing, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought, often the manifestation o ...

ID card
,
security token A security token is a peripheral device A peripheral or peripheral device is an auxiliary device used to put information into and get information out of the computer. The term peripheral device refers to all hardware components that are attached ...

security token
, implanted device,
cell phone A mobile phone, cellular phone, cell phone, cellphone, handphone, or hand phone, sometimes shortened to simply mobile, cell or just phone, is a portable telephone A telephone is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the tra ...

cell phone
with built-in
hardware token A security token is a peripheral device A peripheral or peripheral device is an auxiliary device used to put information into and get information out of the computer. The term peripheral device refers to all hardware components that are attached ...
,
software token A software token (a.k.a. ''soft token'') is a piece of a two-factor authentication Multi-factor authentication (MFA; encompassing Two-factor authentication or 2FA, along with similar terms) is an electronic authentication method in which a dev ...
, or
cell phone A mobile phone, cellular phone, cell phone, cellphone, handphone, or hand phone, sometimes shortened to simply mobile, cell or just phone, is a portable telephone A telephone is a telecommunication Telecommunication is the tra ...

cell phone
holding a
software token A software token (a.k.a. ''soft token'') is a piece of a two-factor authentication Multi-factor authentication (MFA; encompassing Two-factor authentication or 2FA, along with similar terms) is an electronic authentication method in which a dev ...
). * the inference factors: Something the user is or does (e.g.,
fingerprint A fingerprint is an impression left by the friction ridge The dermis or corium is a layer of skin between the epidermis (skin), epidermis (with which it makes up the cutis (anatomy), cutis) and subcutaneous tissues, that primarily consists ...

fingerprint
,
retina The retina (from la, rete "net") is the innermost, light-sensitive layer of tissue of the eye Eyes are organs of the visual system. They provide living organisms with vision, the ability to receive and process visual detail, as well ...

retina
l pattern,
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electrically Electricity is the set of physical ...

DNA
sequence (there are assorted definitions of what is sufficient),
signature A signature (; from la, signare, "to sign") is a handwritten (and often stylized) depiction of someone's name, nickname, or even a simple "X" or other mark that a person writes on documents as a proof of identity and intent. The writer of a s ...

signature
, face, voice, unique bio-electric signals, or other
biometric Biometrics are body measurements and calculations related to human characteristics. Biometrics authentication Authentication (from ''authentikos'', "real, genuine", from αὐθέντης ''authentes'', "author") is the act of proving an ...

biometric
identifier).


Single-factor authentication

As the weakest level of authentication, only a single component from one of the three categories of factors is used to authenticate an individual’s identity. The use of only one factor does not offer much protection from misuse or malicious intrusion. This type of authentication is not recommended for financial or personally relevant transactions that warrant a higher level of security.


Multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication involves two or more authentication factors (''something you know'', ''something you have'', or ''something you are''). Two-factor authentication is a special case of multi-factor authentication involving exactly two factors. For example, using a bankcard (something the user has) along with a PIN (something the user knows) provides two-factor authentication. Business networks may require users to provide a password (knowledge factor) and a pseudorandom number from a
security token A security token is a peripheral device A peripheral or peripheral device is an auxiliary device used to put information into and get information out of the computer. The term peripheral device refers to all hardware components that are attached ...

security token
(ownership factor). Access to a very-high-security system might require a mantrap screening of height, weight, facial, and fingerprint checks (several inherence factor elements) plus a PIN and a day code (knowledge factor elements), but this is still a two-factor authentication.


Authentication types

The most frequent types of authentication available in use for authenticating online users differ in the level of security provided by combining factors from the one or more of the three categories of factors for authentication:


Strong authentication

The
U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all ...

U.S.
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...
's
National Information Assurance Glossary Committee on National Security Systems Instruction No. 4009, National Information Assurance Glossary, published by the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a count ...
defines '' strong authentication'' as
layered authentication approach relying on two or more authenticators to establish the identity of an originator or receiver of information.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has defined ''strong authentication'' as "a procedure based on two or more of the three authentication factors". The factors that are used must be mutually independent and at least one factor must be "non-reusable and non-replicable", except in the case of an inherence factor and must also be incapable of being stolen off the Internet. In the European, as well as in the US-American understanding, strong authentication is very similar to multi-factor authentication or 2FA, but exceeding those with more rigorous requirements. The Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance has been striving to establish technical specifications for strong authentication.


Continuous authentication

Conventional computer systems authenticate users only at the initial log-in session, which can be the cause of a critical security flaw. To resolve this problem, systems need continuous user authentication methods that continuously monitor and authenticate users based on some biometric trait(s). A study used behavioural biometrics based in writing styles as a continuous authentication method.Brocardo ML, Traore I, Woungang I, Obaidat MS.
Authorship verification using deep belief network systems
". Int J Commun Syst. 2017.
Recent research has shown the possibility of using smartphones’ sensors and accessories to extract some behavioral attributes such as touch dynamics,
keystroke dynamics Keystroke dynamics, keystroke biometrics, typing dynamics, and lately typing biometrics, refer to the detailed timing information which describes exactly when each key was pressed and when it was released as a person is typing Typing is the proc ...
and gait recognition. These attributes are known as behavioral biometrics and could be used to verify or identify users implicitly and continuously on smartphones. The authentication systems that have been built based on these behavioral biometric traits are known as active or continuous authentication systems.


Digital authentication

The term ''digital authentication'', also known as ''electronic authentication'' or ''e-authentication'', refers to a group of processes where the confidence for user identities is established and presented via electronic methods to an information system. The digital authentication process creates technical challenges because of the need to authenticate individuals or entities remotely over a network. The American
National Institute of Standards and Technology The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a physical sciences Physical science is a branch of natural science that studies abiotic component, non-living systems, in contrast to life science. It in turn has many branches, e ...
(NIST) has created a generic model for digital authentication that describes the processes that are used to accomplish secure authentication: # ''Enrollment'' – an individual applies to a credential service provider (CSP) to initiate the enrollment process. After successfully proving the applicant’s identity, the CSP allows the applicant to become a subscriber. # ''Authentication'' – After becoming a subscriber, the user receives an
authenticator An authenticator is a means used to confirm a user's identity, that is, to perform Authentication#Digital authentication, digital authentication. A person authenticates to a computer system or application by demonstrating that he or she has possess ...

authenticator
e.g., a
token Token may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Token, a game piece or counter, used in some games * The Tokens The Tokens were an American male doo-wop Doo-wop (also spelled doowop and doo wop) is a genre of rhythm and blues R ...
and credentials, such as a user name. He or she is then permitted to perform online transactions within an authenticated session with a relying party, where they must provide proof that he or she possesses one or more authenticators. # ''Life-cycle maintenance'' – the CSP is charged with the task of maintaining the user’s credential over the course of its lifetime, while the subscriber is responsible for maintaining his or her authenticator(s). The authentication of information can pose special problems with electronic communication, such as vulnerability to
man-in-the-middle attack In cryptography Cryptography, or cryptology (from grc, , translit=kryptós "hidden, secret"; and ''graphein'', "to write", or ''-logia ''-logy'' is a suffix in the English language, used with words originally adapted from Ancient Gre ...
s, whereby a third party taps into the communication stream, and poses as each of the two other communicating parties, in order to intercept information from each. Extra identity factors can be required to authenticate each party's identity.


Product authentication

Counterfeit To counterfeit means to imitate something authentic, with the intent to steal, destroy, or replace the original, for use in illegal transactions, or otherwise to deceive individuals into believing that the fake is of equal or greater value than ...
products are often offered to consumers as being authentic.
Counterfeit consumer goods Counterfeit consumer goods are goods, often of inferior quality, made or sold under another's brand name without the brand owner's authorization. Sellers of such goods may infringe on either the trademark, patent NPOV disputes from March 20 ...
such as electronics, music, apparel, and counterfeit medications have been sold as being legitimate. Efforts to control the
supply chain In commerce, a supply chain is a system of organizations, people, activities, information, and resources involved in supplying a product (business), product or service (business), service to a consumer. Supply chain activities involve the transfo ...

supply chain
and educate consumers help ensure that authentic products are sold and used. Even
security printing Security printing is the field of the printing Printing is a process for mass reproducing text and images An Synthetic aperture radar, SAR radar imaging, radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar on board the Space Shuttle Endeavo ...
on packages,
label A label (as distinct from signage) is a piece of paper, plastic film, cloth, metal, or other material affixed to a Packaging and labelling, container or Product (business), product, on which is written or printing, printed information or symbo ...

label
s, and
nameplate A nameplate identifies and displays a person or product's name. Nameplates are usually shaped as rectangle In Euclidean geometry, Euclidean plane geometry, a rectangle is a quadrilateral with four right angles. It can also be defined as: ...

nameplate
s, however, is subject to counterfeiting. In their anti-counterfeiting technology guide, the EUIPO Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights categorizes the main anti-counterfeiting technologies on the market currently into five main categories: electronic, marking, chemical and physical, mechanical, and technologies for digital media. Products or their packaging can include a variable
QR Code A QR code (an initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (li ...

QR Code
. A QR Code alone is easy to verify but offers a weak level of authentication as it offers no protection against counterfeits, unless scan data is analysed at the system level to detect anomalies. To increase the security level, the QR Code can be combined with a
digital watermark A digital watermark is a kind of marker covertly embedded in a noise-tolerant signal In signal processing Signal processing is an electrical engineering subfield that focuses on analysing, modifying, and synthesizing signals such as audi ...

digital watermark
or copy detection pattern that are robust to copy attempts, and can be authenticated with a smartphone. A secure key storage device can be used for authentication in consumer electronics, network authentication, license management, supply chain management, etc. Generally the device to be authenticated needs some sort of wireless or wired digital connection to either a host system or a network. Nonetheless, the component being authenticated need not be electronic in nature as an authentication chip can be mechanically attached and read through a connector to the host e.g. an authenticated ink tank for use with a printer. For products and services that these secure coprocessors can be applied to, they can offer a solution that can be much more difficult to counterfeit than most other options while at the same time being more easily verified.


Packaging

Packaging and labeling Packaging is the science, art and technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. Packaging also refers to the process of designing, evaluating, and producing packages. Packaging can be described as a co ...
can be engineered to help reduce the risks of
counterfeit consumer goods Counterfeit consumer goods are goods, often of inferior quality, made or sold under another's brand name without the brand owner's authorization. Sellers of such goods may infringe on either the trademark, patent NPOV disputes from March 20 ...
or the theft and resale of products. Some package constructions are more difficult to copy and some have pilfer-indicating seals.
Counterfeit To counterfeit means to imitate something authentic, with the intent to steal, destroy, or replace the original, for use in illegal transactions, or otherwise to deceive individuals into believing that the fake is of equal or greater value than ...
goods, unauthorized sales (diversion), material substitution and tampering can all be reduced with these anti-counterfeiting technologies. Packages may include authentication seals and use
security printing Security printing is the field of the printing Printing is a process for mass reproducing text and images An Synthetic aperture radar, SAR radar imaging, radar image acquired by the SIR-C/X-SAR radar on board the Space Shuttle Endeavo ...
to help indicate that the package and contents are not counterfeit; these too are subject to counterfeiting. Packages also can include anti-theft devices, such as dye-packs,
RFID Radio-frequency identification (RFID) uses electromagnetic field An electromagnetic field (also EM field or EMF) is a classical (i.e. non-quantum) field Field may refer to: Expanses of open ground * Field (agriculture), an area of land used fo ...
tags, or
electronic article surveillance Electronic article surveillance is a technological method for preventing shoplifting Shoplifting is the theft of goods from an open retail establishment, typically by concealing a store item on one's person, in pockets, under clothes, or in a b ...
tags that can be activated or detected by devices at exit points and require specialized tools to deactivate. Anti-counterfeiting technologies that can be used with packaging include: *
Taggant A taggant is any chemical or physical marker added to materials to allow various forms of testing. Physical taggants can take many different forms but are typically microscopic in size, included at low levels, and simple to detect. They can be u ...
fingerprinting – uniquely coded microscopic materials that are verified from a database * Encrypted micro-particles – unpredictably placed markings (numbers, layers and colors) not visible to the human eye *
Hologram Holography is a technique that enables a wavefront to be recorded and later re-constructed. Holography is best known as a method of generating three-dimensional images, but it also has a wide range of other Holography#Applications, application ...

Hologram
s – graphics printed on seals, patches, foils or labels and used at point of sale for visual verification * Micro-printing – second-line authentication often used on currencies * Serialized
barcode A barcode or bar code is a method of representing data in a visual, machine-readable form. Initially, barcodes represented data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines. These barcodes, now commonly referred to as linear or one-dime ...

barcode
s * UV printing – marks only visible under UV light *
Track and trace In the distribution and logistics Logistics is generally the detailed organization and implementation of a complex operation. In a general business sense, logistics is the management of the flow of things between the point of origin and the ...
systems – use codes to link products to database tracking system * Water indicators – become visible when contacted with water * DNA tracking – genes embedded onto labels that can be traced * Color-shifting ink or film – visible marks that switch colors or texture when tilted * Tamper evident seals and tapes – destructible or graphically verifiable at point of sale * 2d barcodes – data codes that can be tracked *
RFID Radio-frequency identification (RFID) uses electromagnetic field An electromagnetic field (also EM field or EMF) is a classical (i.e. non-quantum) field Field may refer to: Expanses of open ground * Field (agriculture), an area of land used fo ...

RFID
chips * NFC chips


Information content

Literary forgery Literary forgery (also known as literary mystification, literary fraud In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. ...
can involve imitating the style of a famous author. If an original
manuscript A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document written by hand – or, once practical typewriter A typewriter is a or machine for characters. Typically, a typewriter has an array ...

manuscript
, typewritten text, or recording is available, then the medium itself (or its packaging – anything from a box to e-mail headers) can help prove or disprove the authenticity of the document. However, text, audio, and video can be copied into new media, possibly leaving only the informational content itself to use in authentication. Various systems have been invented to allow authors to provide a means for readers to reliably authenticate that a given message originated from or was relayed by them. These involve authentication factors like: * A difficult-to-reproduce physical artifact, such as a
seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, List of semiaquatic tetrapods, semiaqu ...
,
signature A signature (; from la, signare, "to sign") is a handwritten (and often stylized) depiction of someone's name, nickname, or even a simple "X" or other mark that a person writes on documents as a proof of identity and intent. The writer of a s ...

signature
,
watermark A watermark is an identifying image or pattern in paper Paper is a thin sheet material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical ...
, special
stationery Stationery is a mass noun In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign lan ...
, or
fingerprint A fingerprint is an impression left by the friction ridge The dermis or corium is a layer of skin between the epidermis (skin), epidermis (with which it makes up the cutis (anatomy), cutis) and subcutaneous tissues, that primarily consists ...

fingerprint
. * A
shared secret In cryptography, a shared secret is a piece of data, known only to the parties involved, in a secure communication. This usually refers to the Key (cryptography), key of a Symmetric-key algorithm, symmetric cryptosystem. The shared secret can be a ...

shared secret
, such as a passphrase, in the content of the message. * An
electronic signature An electronic signature, or e-signature, is data Data (; ) are individual facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to e ...
;
public-key infrastructure A public-key infrastructure (PKI) is a set of roles, policies, hardware, software and procedures needed to create, manage, distribute, use, store and revoke digital certificates and manage public-key encryption 250px, In this example the m ...
is often used to cryptographically guarantee that a message has been signed by the holder of a particular private key. The opposite problem is detection of
plagiarism Plagiarism is the representation of another author An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data ...

plagiarism
, where information from a different author is passed off as a person's own work. A common technique for proving plagiarism is the discovery of another copy of the same or very similar text, which has different attribution. In some cases, excessively high quality or a style mismatch may raise suspicion of plagiarism.


Literacy and literature authentication

In literacy, authentication is a readers’ process of questioning the veracity of an aspect of literature and then verifying those questions via research. The fundamental question for authentication of literature is – Does one believe it? Related to that, an authentication project is therefore a reading and writing activity which students documents the relevant research process (). It builds students' critical literacy. The documentation materials for literature go beyond narrative texts and likely include informational texts, primary sources, and multimedia. The process typically involves both internet and hands-on library research. When authenticating historical fiction in particular, readers consider the extent that the major historical events, as well as the culture portrayed (e.g., the language, clothing, food, gender roles), are believable for the period.


History and state-of-the-art

Historically,
fingerprint A fingerprint is an impression left by the friction ridge The dermis or corium is a layer of skin between the epidermis (skin), epidermis (with which it makes up the cutis (anatomy), cutis) and subcutaneous tissues, that primarily consists ...

fingerprint
s have been used as the most authoritative method of authentication, but court cases in the US and elsewhere have raised fundamental doubts about fingerprint reliability. Outside of the legal system as well, fingerprints have been shown to be easily
spoof Spoof, spoofs, spoofer, or spoofing may refer to: * Forgery Forgery is a white-collar crime that generally refers to the false making or material alteration of a legal instrument ''Legal instrument'' is a legal term of art that is used fo ...
able, with
British Telecom BT Group plc (trading as A trade name, trading name, or business name is a pseudonym A pseudonym () or alias () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) is a fictitious name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, which ...
's top computer-security official noting that "few" fingerprint readers have not already been tricked by one spoof or another. Hybrid or two-tiered authentication methods offer a compelling solution, such as private keys encrypted by fingerprint inside of a USB device. In a computer data context, cryptographic methods have been developed (''see''
digital signature A digital signature is a mathematical scheme for verifying the authenticity of digital messages or documents. A valid digital signature, where the prerequisites are satisfied, gives a recipient very strong reason to believe that the message was ...

digital signature
and
challenge–response authentication In computer security Computer security, cybersecurity, or information technology security (IT security) is the protection of computer system A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out Sequence, sequences of arithmetic ...
) which are currently not spoofable if and only if the originator's key has not been compromised. That the originator (or anyone other than an
attacker In some team sport A team is a
digitally_signed A_digital_signature_is_a_mathematical_scheme_for_verifying_the_authenticity_of_digital_messages_or_documents._A_valid_digital_signature,_where_the__prerequisites_are_satisfied,_gives_a_recipient_very_strong_reason_to_believe_that_the_message_was_c_...
_legal_instrument.html" "title="digital_signature.html" "title="roup (disambiguation), group of individuals (human or non-human) working together to achieve their goal. As defined by Professor Leigh Thompson (academic), Leigh Thompson of the Kellogg School of Management, ...
) knows (or doesn't know) about a compromise is irrelevant. It is not known whether these cryptographically based authentication methods are provably secure, since unanticipated mathematical developments may make them vulnerable to attack in future. If that were to occur, it may call into question much of the authentication in the past. In particular, a digital signature">digitally signed A digital signature is a mathematical scheme for verifying the authenticity of digital messages or documents. A valid digital signature, where the prerequisites are satisfied, gives a recipient very strong reason to believe that the message was c ...
legal instrument">contract A contract is a legally binding agreement that defines and governs the rights and duties between or among its parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview ...
may be questioned when a new attack on the cryptography underlying the signature is discovered.


Authorization

The process of authorization is distinct from that of authentication. Whereas authentication is the process of verifying that "you are who you say you are", and verifying that "you are permitted to do what you are trying to do". While authorization often happens immediately after authentication (e.g., when logging into a computer system), this does not mean authorization presupposes authentication: an anonymous agent could be authorized to a limited action set.


Access control

One familiar use of authentication and authorization is
access control In the fields of physical security and information security, access control (AC) is the selective restriction of access to a place or other resource while access management describes the process. The act of ''accessing'' may mean consuming, e ...

access control
. A computer system that is supposed to be used only by those authorized must attempt to detect and exclude the unauthorized. Access to it is therefore usually controlled by insisting on an authentication procedure to establish with some degree of confidence the identity of the user, granting privileges established for that identity.


See also

* Access Control Service * AssureID * Atomic authorization * Authentication Open Service Interface Definition * Authenticity in art * Authorization * Basic access authentication * Biometrics * CAPTCHA * Chip Authentication Program * Closed-loop authentication * Decentralized identifiers * Diameter (protocol) * Digital identity * Extensible Authentication Protocol, EAP * Electronic authentication * Encrypted key exchange (EKE) * Fingerprint Verification Competition * Geolocation * Hash-based message authentication code * Identification (information) * Java Authentication and Authorization Service * Kantara Initiative * Kerberos (protocol), Kerberos * Multi-factor authentication * Needham–Schroeder protocol * Notary * OAuth – an open standard for authorization * OpenAthens * OpenID Connect – an authentication method for the web * OpenID – an authentication method for the web * Provenance * Public-key cryptography * RADIUS * Reliance authentication * Secret sharing * Secure Remote Password protocol (SRP) * Secure Shell * Security printing * Self-sovereign identity * SQRL * Strong authentication * Tamper-evident technology * TCP Wrapper * Time-based authentication * Two-factor authentication * Usability of web authentication systems * Woo–Lam


References


External links

*
" New NIST Publications Describe Standards for Identity Credentials and Authentication Systems"
{{Authority control Authentication, Applications of cryptography Access control Packaging Notary Computer access control