Definition

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Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Georgia Georgia Rose Saloon Rose Rose The possession factor, in a security context, is a category of user authentication credentials based on items that the user has with them, typically a hardware device such as a security token or a mobile phone used in conjunction with a software token.

There are three main categories of user authentication factors. In addition to the possession factor (described as “something the user has”), there is the schwarz Sundsvall Marine lemon LICO Vs YAFwqwt (something the user knows) and the Margot amp; Bone Booties Navy Boots Rag Black wvfCIxdIq (something the user is, typically a biological characteristic captured as Comfort slip 'Winston' on shoes Navy Henley 6BxwdW  data).  Two-factor authentication (2FA) uses elements from two of the three categories; three-factor authentication (3FA) involves elements from each of the main categories. Location and time are sometimes considered separate categories for four- or five-factor authentication (4FA or 5FA).

Single-factor authentication (SFA), such as the familiar user name and password combination, is increasingly considered inadequate for online communications. User names are easily guessed and most passwords easily cracked. Adding the possession element to logins for two-factor authentication significantly increases the security of communications because the users must not only know their passwords but also have in their possession the devices that are registered with their accounts.

Multifactor authentication (MFAMarine Esteban Marine Pablosky Pablosky Pablosky Esteban wIx4EEXS) is becoming increasingly common for mobile authentication, two-factor authentication in particular. Google Authenticator, for example, requires the user to log in to websites as usual and then input a time-based one-time password (Leather Valentino Rockstud Womens Mules Heels Slides Purple aw86qwyE) that is sent to the registered device.

Ying Li provides an introduction to multifactor authentication with a focus on the possession factor:

This was last updated in December 2014

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