Authentication can be performed to a system by another system and/or by a person using a system.

The process of authentication proves you (or the system) is who you are by your actions, such as a password with a username, who you say you are to that system. That you (or the system) are authentic, that is, genuinely you (or the system).
There are many methods for authentication and a combination of these methods is known as multi-factor authentication. Methods for authentication are categorised by their ‘type’. That is,
  • something you know (eg. a password)
  • something you have (eg. a swipe card)
  • something you are (eg a fingerprint, face – as in facial recognition, or other biometric scan)
  • something you do (eg. key strokes or gestures)
In Multi Factor Authentication more than one method from each of 2 or more of these categories or ‘types’ of authentication are used.
The method or methods that are used for authentication can be stolen, copied or bypassed. This creates the effect to the system being access that the attacker is an insider or trusted.

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