When choosing a user authentication platform as a non-technical founder, it’s imperative to understand the available authentication protocols that enable users to register and engage with your application. Authentication protocols are a set of rules that allow two or more devices to identify each other and establish a secure connection. There are many different authentication protocols, but some of the most common include:
Password authentication: Password Authentication Protocol (PAP) is a simple authentication protocol that is used to authenticate a user to a remote system. It works by sending the user’s username and password over the network and too often, in plaintext. PAP is an insecure protocol, as passwords are sent in plaintext, making them vulnerable to interception.
Two-factor authentication (2FA): An authentication method in which a user is granted access only after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence (or factors) to an authentication mechanism. The most common factors are something the user knows (e.g., a password), something the user has (e.g., a security token or key fob), or something the user is (e.g., biometric data).
Multi-factor authentication (MFA): An authentication method in which a computer user is granted access only after successfully presenting two or more pieces of evidence (or factors) to an authentication mechanism: knowledge (something the user and only the user knows), possession (something the user and only the user has), and inherence (something the user and only the user is). Examples of these factors include a password, a token, a biometric, a smart card, or a key fob.
WebAuthn: An authentication protocol developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that provides a secure, single sign-on experience for users accessing web-based services. It is based on the OAuth 2.0 protocol and uses a combination of authentication methods, including username and password, two-factor authentication, and public key cryptography. Webauth is designed to be secure, flexible, and easy to use.
FIDO2: An open authentication standard developed by the Fast Identity Online (FIDO) Alliance that enables secure authentication to online services using biometrics or a hardware security key. It replaces passwords with stronger hardware-based authentication using public key cryptography. FIDO2 is made up of two standards: WebAuthn (Web Authentication) and CTAP (Client-to-Authenticator Protocol). WebAuthn is a web API that enables browsers to interact with authenticators, such as security keys, biometric devices, and Trusted Platform Modules (TPM). CTAP is a protocol that enables external authenticators to communicate with clients.
Mobile Passkeys: Mobile Passkey Authentication Protocol (MPAP) is a protocol used to authenticate a mobile device on a wireless network. It is based on a challenge-response system, where a server sends a challenge to the device, which then responds with a passkey. The server then verifies the passkey and grants access to the network if the passkey is correct. MPAP is designed to be secure and resistant to brute-force attacks.
The most common authentication protocols are password authentication and two-factor authentication. Password authentication is the simplest and most basic authentication protocol, and involves entering a username and password to log in. Two-factor authentication is a more secure authentication protocol that requires two forms of identification, such as a username and password, and a security code or fingerprint. Multi-factor authentication is a more secure authentication protocol that requires multiple forms of identification, such as a username and password, a security code, and a fingerprint.
The new authentication protocols that are gaining popularity are WebAuthn, FIDO2 and Mobile Passkeys. WebAuthn is a new authentication protocol that is designed to make logging in to websites more secure. It is based on the FIDO2 standard, and allows users to log in to websites using a USB security key or their smartphone. FIDO2 is a new authentication standard that is designed to make logging in to websites more secure. It is based on the WebAuthn standard, and allows users to log in to websites using a USB security key or their smartphone. Mobile Passkeys, the newest technology of the group, are considered to be the most secure and safest authentication protocol.
Both WebAuthn and FIDO2 are based on the same underlying technology, and are designed to work together. This means that websites that support WebAuthn will also support FIDO2, and users will be able to log in to websites using either a USB security key or their smartphone. Vault Vision supports all major user authentication protocols and you can request a demo here.
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