In this day and age, a lot of processes and activities take place digitally, online, and offline. For instance, you can shop or make purchases from the comfort of your couch, and your merchandise is delivered right at your doorstep. You can also pay your bills, send money, or request for a service you need without having to leave the comfort of your home or office. However, this increased convenience also comes with several challenges, including financial safety, information privacy, and personal security threats. Business organizations are also vulnerable to challenges such as cyberattacks, hacks, and fraud as long as they’ve embraced modern technology. On this note, here are some reasons why user authentication is essential in today’s technology.
Privacy and Confidentiality
In this day and age, everyone is familiar with passwords. They’re used everywhere, from our phones to our laptops, social media accounts, bank accounts, and pretty much anything else that may require user privacy. Most of these gadgets and online platforms hold personal, private, and confidential information that anyone with ill intentions can use against you. We’ve all heard of identity theft, where a person poses as you and commits fraud or criminal offense.
Using unique usernames and passwords, user authentication helps businesses to protect their customer’s privacy and confidentiality of information. This is especially the case for transactions and processes that happen online or remotely over the phone, where the user has to provide a username and a matching password, failure to which the login, activity, or transaction fails. For online services and apps, the guys from Messente say that many businesses also use SMS authentication to verify user accounts and send authorization pins to customers when confirming transactions. This ensures customer information privacy and confidentiality while beefing up security, which will be discussed below briefly.
Some organizations encrypt saved passwords to prevent theft from malicious employees or hackers. Hackers design programs that help them in accessing and retrieving passwords. If the sites did not ask for passwords, all the information would be accessible, and information privacy would be a mere wish.
Many shopping stores provide cards in which the points you earn from your purchases are keyed in. These cards are similar in size and function to debit and credit cards offered by financial institutions, which allow you to conduct cashless transactions. These cards have magnetic strips or chips that hold data containing your personal information and account details, including balances and statements. When this card is inserted into a card reader or POS machine, you’ll need to key in the password for you to be able to transact with the card. In other words, the secret code or password restricts access of your funds or card information to only you or people you’ve shared your password with.
When the wrong password is fed a specific number of times (mostly 3), the card automatically gets blocked, to deny further access in case it might have been stolen. For it to be unblocked, the owner needs to visit the service provider with their original documents for verification.
It Reduces Identity Theft
Biometric authentication is one of the most difficult forms of verification to hack since it involves the use of unique features in an individual. Some of the physiological characteristics used include facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, and retina scan, among others. Hackers have always had a problem reproducing such information because everyone has unique physiological characteristics. Also, other traits, like voice recognition and keystroke scans, are increasingly gaining popularity in this area.
Biometrics has so far been the most preferred form of authentication in most financial institutions and transactions. This is why some modern mobile banking applications require you to use your voice as your password, making it completely difficult for someone to impersonate you and transact on your behalf.
Encryption authentication is more advanced than password-protection because, in this case, content is protected from unauthorized access at various levels. Encrypted data or content is scrambled with a passcode so that as much as someone may have access to it; they will not read it because it cannot be understood. For pieces of information such as messages, the words might be shuffled with additional characters so that they no longer make sense. For one to read and access such content, they need to put in a specific decryption key (secret key), which prompts the words to rearrange so they can make sense and become accessible. It’s also important to note that if the owner loses the decryption key, they might not be able to access the encrypted data or content.
And there you have it; the writing is on the wall. We can never overemphasize the importance of user authentication in this digital age. The above are just a few of the many reasons why.