The basics of multi-factor authentication: How to pick the right token

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is based on the idea that a user possesses several unique pieces of evidence which cannot be provided or accessed by a third party. This can be either knowledge like a password, biometric features like a fingerprint or a physical object like a hardware token.

Modern MFA solutions like LinOTP and the KeyIdentity MFA platform support a wide range of tokens to accommodate different use cases, risk levels and cost considerations in B2B and B2C scenarios. Here is a short overview on most common token types: hardware and software tokens, SMS and biometrics as well as QR and push tokens.

Hardware tokens: independent of the device running the application

Hardware tokens are available in various designs ranging from portable USB authenticators to keychain devices to flexible display panels embedded in identification cards. They all have one advantage in common: Since hardware tokens come with their own display and battery, they can operate independently of the device running the application.

A special type of hardware token is the standardized FIDO U2F supervised by the open-authentication industry consortium FIDO Alliance. Based on the Universal Second Factor standard U2F, users can “bring their own token” (BYOT). This means that tokens already owned can be reused at a consistent level of security Continue reading The basics of multi-factor authentication: How to pick the right token