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Authentication Methods

Authentication is essentially the process of when a user confirms their identity before gaining access to a computer system. In a network, this is often done through inputting a username and password.

There are broadly three categories of factors of authentication:

  • something you are - username, bank account number, or anything that identifies the user uniquely
  • something you know - password, pin, secret answer to a question
  • something you have - swipe card, biometrics, any other physical identifying device

Multi-factor authentication explained

Additional Reading

Advanced: Web authentication  methods explained (you'll find this information useful if you are building a complex website which uses sessions and tokens)