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Stronger Authentication: A Token Approach



It is no secret that there is a great need for stronger authentication across the board these days, it seems that more and more security breaches are being exposed weekly across the country. To say this has been a wakeup call for companies and consumers would be an understatement. As a consumer, it is almost impossible to fully protect yourself from the larger breaches that retailers and other companies have been subject to.

However, there are things that you can do to ensure that you are on the proactive side of the fence.

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Many online companies like Gmail and PayPal are protecting their users’ identities by incorporating two-step or two-factor methods within their login process. This method requires the user to provide the typical username and password but steps up the authentication process by demanding that a One Time Password (OTP) is entered to access the account. An OTP is a self-destructing passcode that once it is used the passcode is no longer valid and cannot be reused.

Now you may be asking yourself, “this sounds great, but how do I obtain an OTP?”

Great question! One of the easiest ways of doing this is to add a YubiKey to your login process. A YubiKey is a hard token USB that is small enough to fit on your key chain, rugged enough to hang out with your keys, and provides you with that added protection you are looking for. The YubiKey features a gold disk you can press to disperse the OTP. As you can see on the chart below, the YubiKey works by containing a set number of characters that do not change, these are your particular identifying character,  and also deploys a longer code that is the OTP.

 YubiKey Chart



The need for stronger authentication may seem out of reach for some, whether on a personal level or a corporate level; however, it is in reach, affordable, and accessible to the general public. As mentioned earlier in this article, many consumer-focused companies are now allowing their users to incorporate two-factor into their login process. It is well worth checking your user profile security settings in your account to see if you can enhance your security by including a two-factor method with your login process.

The strength of a YubiKey has also been recognized by the security experts at PortalGuard as a great way to provide an OTP via a hard token. The YubiKey is one of the eight different two-factor OTP delivery methods that PortalGuard uses to provide stronger authentication to their clients.


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Rob Bellefeuille

Author: Rob Bellefeuille

Rob is a Project Manager at PistolStar, Inc. in Bedford, NH. Upon completing his degree in Advertising from Southern New Hampshire University, he gained experience working in marketing in the greater Boston area. His current position has him focusing on bringing authentication solutions to education institutions and retailers worldwide.

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