Article by Hasan Haseeb, Senior Network Engineer

 

Two Factor Authentication enforces user to provide more than one credential to gain access to a resource (e.g. to log on to an account on online banking website).

A biometric door lock which can opened by providing thumb print and a pin is an example of two factor authentication.

 

Implementing 2 Factor Authentication could be simple and economical or could be very expensive.

Example for simple two factor authentication:

The user is provided with a table on a paper consisting alphabets as variables and numerical values of alphabets.

A = 10    B = 87 C = 84 D = 39

E = 98    F = 41 G = 00 H = 20

A simple program can be written in any programming language which generates password using the randomly selected multiple combination from above mentioned alphabet and its associated number value to obtain a password.

A simple login page can be created using any programming language which allow access only after user enters a valid username and a password which user knows and a secret code which can be generated from the values written on paper which user already has.

The program validates username and password and prompts user to key in numerical value for “F B A” as second level password.

Access is granted when the user provides password as “41 87 10”

The first level of password is known to the user which can be stolen and the passwords generated from above mentioned method can be predicted.

 

Example for secure multi factor authentication:

Authenticating a secure system with biometric retina scan and then providing access card and its associated PIN to gain access.

 

Installation and maintenance cost for implementing secure authentication systems can get very complex where required.

I have seen a few James Bond 007 movies wherein Mr. Bond copies retina scans, steals the access card and predicts the pin to finally gain access to bad guy’s secret society.

Can this be possible?

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