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The future of user authentication

Feature Image File LM2

Authenticating a user is required in many situations involving access to digital information, from logging into a device to performing financial transactions, viewing electronic documents or even when shopping on their favorite website.

Passwords have been an issue since the dawn of computing. They tend to be either so complex that no one can remember them, or so obvious that anyone can guess them.

Luckily passwords are not the only form of authentication, we are seeing many other authentication technologies driving the future of user authentication…

Other types of authentication:

Social LoginSocial Login

A form of single sign-on using existing information from a social networking service such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+, to sign into a third party website instead of creating a new login account.

Shared secrets

A shared secret is a piece of data, known only to the parties involved, in a secure communication. This way, it’s not necessary to remember a password.

Shared Secret

A personal identification number (PIN) is a numerical code used in many electronic financial transactions. Typically associated with a bank card and ATM.


Involves presenting the user with a matrix of cells from which they can select a personal identification pattern.

QR CodesQR Codes

Involves the use of a smartphone to scan a QR code on a computer screen to login instead of typing a username and password. An encrypted mobile ID would be stored on the user’s phone, which tells the computer that they’re authorized to log in.


nIs a small hardware device that the user carries to authorize access and is typically used in addition to a password. It can be a key FOB, USB or cell phone.

The additional information is normally randomly generated and only valid for a few seconds.


Any means by which a person can be uniquely identified by evaluating one or more distinguishing biological traits. These include:

Facial recognition  •  Iris scanning  •  Vein patterns  •  Voice recognition (doesn’t require a specialist equipment)  •  Finger print   •  Gait   •  Pulse – unique rhythm of the heart   •  Behavioral

Digital ID / Digital DNA

This is a comprehensive online digital identity that can be used to authenticate users by combining information relating to devices, anonymized identity information and behavior patterns.

Digital ID’s are unique data points that make up a user’s digital DNA.

Dgital ID or DNA

*Two factor authentication requires a combination of two authentication methods.

Biometrics are becoming more prevalent and have proven extremely effective, but they are not foolproof yet and require specialized equipment.

Digital identities are unique as they leverage the infinite number of connections users create when they transact online.

As these authentication technologies mature, additional considerations are added to make sure they are secure. For example “Liveness detection”  guards against criminals stealing your fingerprint, or cutting off your finger.

For many of the newer technologies, there is often a fall back to a PIN or password though.

Realistically, the traditional authentication methods will be here for a while or at least used in conjunction with newer technologies. There is however an important shift taking place to find new and better solutions.

Linda Misauer

Linda Misauer

Vice President, Global Solutions at Striata, a Doxim company.

Linda Misauer is the Head of Global Solutions at Striata and is responsible for technical Research and Development, Operations and Project Management for global initiatives.

Linda previously led the Product Management of the Striata Application Platform before moving across to Striata North America as Chief Technical Officer (CTO). As Product Manager, her responsibilities included internal project management of the product development team, market research & product feature design, as well as the product lifecycle management and quality control. As CTO, Linda was responsible for all technical operations for North, Central and South America, including the Project Management, Support, Production and Data Engineering.

Linda has over 10 years of experience in the IT industry, ranging from video streaming solutions and website application development to electronic billing and messaging. Prior to joining Striata in 2002, Linda held the positions of Chief Information Officer at AfriCam, and was IT project manager at Dimension Data.

Linda studied at the University of Natal – Pietermaritzburg and holds a degree in BSc, Majoring in Computer Science and Economics. Linda also has a Diploma in Project Management.

Read more of Linda’s blog posts here or connect with her on the following social channels: