Perimeter
1/12/2012
09:56 AM
Taher Elgamal
Taher Elgamal
Commentary
50%
50%

Identity Versus Authentication

Distinguishing between identity and authentication

I would like to provide my point of view on the relationship and differences between what we call identity and what authentication means in the online world.

The identity determination is important for establishing accounts with various online services, for example. A lot of effort is under way to link a person’s online identity to his real-world identity. This will be quite useful in preventing identity theft from propagating more. If an impersonator succeeds in opening an account in someone else’s name, then it would be quite difficult to discover that event before damage has been done.

Authentication, on the other hand, is the act of proving to the online service that someone is the owner of that account. During the account establishment process, or perhaps afterward, the identity of the user is linked to the authentication method used by the service, therefore making the follow-on sign-on operations easy and secure for the end user. One can easily predict that efforts like the Google street identity would make it much easier for a lot of Internet services to manage the process of ensuring the ownership of an account to its user.

The current efforts in the industry to improve the strong authentication processes will also improve the usability and security of accessing the sites from different client devices. The new mobile devices will contain different potential authentication technologies that can be used easily to authenticate users.

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. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Considering how prevalent third-party attacks are, we need to ask hard questions about how partners and suppliers are safeguarding systems and data.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-9688
Published: 2015-03-05
Unspecified vulnerability in the Ninja Forms plugin before 2.8.10 for WordPress has unknown impact and remote attack vectors related to admin users.

CVE-2015-2214
Published: 2015-03-05
NetCat 5.01 and earlier allows remote attackers to obtain the installation path via the redirect_url parameter to netshop/post.php.

CVE-2015-2215
Published: 2015-03-05
Open redirect vulnerability in the Services single sign-on server helper (services_sso_server_helper) module for Drupal allows remote attackers to redirect users to arbitrary web sites and conduct phishing attacks via unspecified parameters.

CVE-2015-2216
Published: 2015-03-05
SQL injection vulnerability in ecomm-sizes.php in the Photocrati theme 4.x for WordPress allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the prod_id parameter.

CVE-2015-2218
Published: 2015-03-05
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in the wp_ajax_save_item function in wonderpluginaudio.php in the WonderPlugin Audio Player plugin before 2.1 for WordPress allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) item[name] or (2) item[customcss] parameter in a w...

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.