The key to authentic communication

Thursday, 18 March 2004, 12:41 PM EST

Passwords are considered by some to be the weakest link in the security chain. They are hard to remember yet often disturbingly easy to steal or even guess, but developing an alternative is proving a challenge.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently predicted the demise of the traditional password during his speech at the RSA Security conference. He was promoting the next generation of authentication technology, developed with RSA, that relies on a constantly changing sequence of numbers that the user must type in alongside their normal password or PIN.

One alternative to password authentication is digital certificates, issued by a certificate authority. These authorities commonly use what is known as a Public Key Infrastructure, or PKI system. Instead of logins and passwords, users have two unique encryption algorithms - a public and a private key.

By Adam Turner at The Age.

[ Read more ]

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