Perimeter
10/18/2011
09:53 PM
Taher Elgamal
Taher Elgamal
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Authentication With Hardware

Needed: a unified way for users to log in websites regardless of the device they are using

Here are some thoughts about providing users and businesses ways for a website to authenticate a user all the way to the hardware connection to his computer or mobile device.

There are many cases where software methods are sufficient, of course, but higher grades of security might be required by certain applications.

More standard software stacks are needed to link the hardware authenticators to the users’ systems and, ultimately, to websites and servers so that trusted connections are better established. The Internet will likely not tolerate too many proprietary methods of authenticating users, and the likely outcome is a suite of protocols and APIs that become industry standards.

If the websites have a standard API that enables them to immediately interface to “any” hardware or software authenticator on the user’s computer, then changing authentication schemes will be a simple configuration change.

It would be really beneficial for the industry to provide a path that eventually achieves a unified way for users to log in websites regardless of the devices they are using. With the adoption of hardware and stronger software authentication into different platforms, the industry will be marching toward providing standard authentication techniques -- a dream discussed by many.

Recognized in the industry as the "inventor of SSL," Dr. Taher Elgamal led the SSL efforts at Netscape. He also wrote the SSL patent and promoted SSL as the Internet security standard within standard committees and the industry. Dr. Elgamal invented several industry and government standards in data security and digital signatures area, including the DSS government standard for digital signatures. In addition to serving on numerous corporate advisory boards, Dr. Elgamal is the Chief Security Officer at Axway, a global provider of multi-enterprise solutions and infrastructure. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University. View more of his blog posts here.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0103
Published: 2014-07-29
WebAccess in Zarafa before 7.1.10 and WebApp before 1.6 stores credentials in cleartext, which allows local Apache users to obtain sensitive information by reading the PHP session files.

CVE-2014-0475
Published: 2014-07-29
Multiple directory traversal vulnerabilities in GNU C Library (aka glibc or libc6) before 2.20 allow context-dependent attackers to bypass ForceCommand restrictions and possibly have other unspecified impact via a .. (dot dot) in a (1) LC_*, (2) LANG, or other locale environment variable.

CVE-2014-0889
Published: 2014-07-29
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in IBM Atlas Suite (aka Atlas Policy Suite), as used in Atlas eDiscovery Process Management through 6.0.3, Disposal and Governance Management for IT through 6.0.3, and Global Retention Policy and Schedule Management through 6.0.3, allow remote atta...

CVE-2014-2226
Published: 2014-07-29
Ubiquiti UniFi Controller before 3.2.1 logs the administrative password hash in syslog messages, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to obtains sensitive information via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-3020
Published: 2014-07-29
install.sh in the Embedded WebSphere Application Server (eWAS) 7.0 before FP33 in IBM Tivoli Integrated Portal (TIP) 2.1 and 2.2 sets world-writable permissions for the installRoot directory tree, which allows local users to gain privileges via a Trojan horse program.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio