Passwords from tokens

August 21, by Dawid Czagan Share: 1.

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Introduction One-time passwords are used to achieve higher security than traditional static passwords. This article presents how tokens synchronous and asynchronous can be used to generate one-time passwords. Moreover, it describes passwords from tokens one-time password system that solves the scalability problem with tokens. Identification and authentication When the user wants to get access to the system, he typically enters a username identification and static password authentication.

Passwords from tokens authentication can be related to something the user: knows e.

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The strongest authentication uses all of them and is called three-factor authentication. A token based one-time password system is a transformation from something the user knows static password to something the user has token. User vs. Many people never change the password.

Then, the attacker can impersonate the user for an unlimited time. It still gives passwords from tokens attacker a lot of time to perform malicious actions. People are advised to use strong passwords a long mixture of lower and upper case letters, digits, special characters; the more random it is the betterwhich should be unique for every system. This is fine from a security point of view, but unusable from a user point of view. As a result, people write the passwords down, stick them on the monitor or hide under the keyboard.

They also use the same password for different systems.

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When this is the case, the attacker can automatically impersonate the user in many places. One-time passwords Passwords from tokens password also called a dynamic password should be randomly generated and is used only once.

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When this password has already been used, it is useless for the attacker replay attack is prevented. The one-time password is generated by the token and presented to the user if he needs to authenticate. Then the passwords are not taken down or hidden under the keyboard. Consequently, the attacker cannot automatically impersonate the user in many places. One-time passwords with synchronous token Time or a counter is used to synchronize the token and the authentication server which share a secret key.

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Then the secret key and time are used to create the one-time password. The user enters username and the one-time password passwords from tokens by token to get access to the system. The one-time password video options have limited lifetime for example 60 seconds.

When this is the case, the attacker who has learnt the one-time password can use it only within this time range. The authentication server and the user share a secret key. The challenge is sent to the user who enters it into the token.

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The challenge and the secret key are used to generate the one-time password the response. Then the user enters username and this one-time password to get access to the system.

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The authentication server checks if the one-time password it passwords from tokens received matches the expected value. Token and two factor authentication The authentication with a token is based on what the user has single factor authentication.

The problem occurs, when the token is stolen the attacker can impersonate the user. Then stronger authentication is achieved two factor authentication — something the user has token and something the user knows PIN. The another approach might be combining one-time passwords generated by a token with static password to achieve two factor authentication.

Static password is something the user knows, token is something the user has. This section shows how a single private key stored on the smart card can be used to create one-time password system that is scalable. The authentication server can generate a one-time password and encrypt it with the public key of the user.

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The user is the only one, who can decrypt it, because only he knows the corresponding private key. The user decrypts the one-time password and sends it to the authentication server. The authentication server checks whether the one-time password it has received matches the one previously generated. If they match, the user is authenticated.

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Passwords from tokens the user knows the private key. Only one private key can be used to get access to many systems.

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Thus the scalability problem is solved. Once the private key is stolen, the security is passwords from tokens.

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At first glance, modern smartphones seem to be a good choice for storing the private key — they are ubiquitous and no extra device would be needed for the purpose of authentication. But they are multifunctional devices and have the same security problems as personal computers. When a dedicated device is used, the risk of stealing the private key is reduced as a consequence of complexity reduction.

Conclusions One-time passwords also called dynamic passwords are more secure then static ones.

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Synchronous and asynchronous tokens can be used to generate one-time passwords. When tokens are used, it is recommended to use them together with PIN or static password to achieve two factor authentication. Zero knowledge proof can be used to create a one-time password system that solves the scalability problem with tokens. Then it is recommended to store the private key on the smart card to minimize the risk of stealing it. Posted: August 21,