Innovations in multi-factor authentication
January 24, 2014

New technology continues to hit the market in rapid succession, with gadgets and software having relatively short lifespans as consumers and companies make novel purchases and deployments with consistent frequencies. While wearable mobile devices, smart cars and other advances of the future capture the general public eye, the real work is being done by individuals in the privacy, security and authentication sectors. 

The digital era has no doubt helped many companies become more agile, profitable and modernized at a lower cost, but has also yielded a variety of novel threats. No longer is physical crime the most damaging economic risk in the world. Instead, cybercrime is quickly stepping in as the greatest threat to both corporate and citizen life. 

Researchers have been citing their projections related to the growing risk of cyber espionage and other web-based attacks on public infrastructure, governments and large enterprises. As such, those businesses and technology aficionados who are most focused on stepping into the future of access management and privacy protection will likely have the busiest road ahead. 

Story telling of the future
Threat Post recently explained that narrative authentication might represent the future of access management and controls among businesses, consumers and private sector organizations. Right now, two-factor authentication is just beginning to gain traction among personal and private technology users – and for good reason. Passwords have never truly been a strong measure to protect data, networks or devices, and individuals are finally beginning to realize just how antiquated old methods have become. 

Additionally, multi-factor authentication is still somewhat novel, as many companies have yet to deploy these methods of mitigating privacy issues. According to the news provider, though, narrative authentication just might end up antiquating current models, especially as it takes the multi-factor access controls to an entirely different level. 

Right now, this type of authentication can basically be viewed as Doc Brown's DeLorian DMC-12, as it is very much in the development stages and has only been touched on by researchers at universities and other institutes. The source explained that Ottawa's Carleton University has been more active in its research of narrative authentication. 

Threat Post explained that the researchers describe this approach as continuous authentication, in that the future solutions will pair user and machine-generated narratives to maximize access controls. The scientists there went so far as to say that this method might even completely abolish the occurrence of forgotten authentication specifications and passwords, as the user experience will be far more organic. 

"If we're using systems to figure out who our closest friends are, or to provide us with our favorite restaurants or news updates, why can't personal items be used for authentication as well," the University's researchers explained in a report, according to the news provider. "Allow the system to have a dialogue and prove that you are you and tell it things you know. It's a shared secret, but still part of your identity."

Demand is rising
In the beginning of the year, Research and Markets released its latest set of projections for the international multi-factor authentication market, which revealed that phone-based access controls are driving demand for more advanced solutions around the globe. The report revealed that biometric scanning and other advanced components of two-factor authentication are gaining traction in both the private and public sectors.

Furthermore, the researchers asserted that some of the recent hardware, password-like advanced have already started to be obsolete, as multi-factor authentication continues to become more affordable and accessible to the average company. 

By adopting these solutions proactively and staying ahead of the curve, organizations can avoid a variety of security and privacy issues.