What Authentication Method to Choose in 2020?

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With the rapid development of technologies, the demand for protection increased significantly. According to the Verizon Data Breach report, most of the attacks are made with the help of hacking or social engineering.

That’s why many companies are working on establishing advanced security systems. In this post, we will go through some of them and discuss the future of software security.

User Authentication Methods

Today, there’s a number of authentication methods that are used by different apps with varying frequency. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.

Digital Certificate

This authentication method is a digital document released by the Certification Authority. It confirms the fact that the provider owns a public key or its attributes. These certificates contain identifying information.

Here’s the main information that any digital certificate should keep:

  • Certificate holders name
  • Certificate expiration date
  • Certificate serial number
  • A digital signature of the authority that released the certificate
  • A copy of the public key that belongs to the certificate holder

The digital signature is needed to verify data consistency. That’s why browsers and operating systems have a list of trusted sources and can identify whether a signature was released by one of them.

Two-factor Authentication

The majority of online services provide a two-step authentication today. Unlike hardware security keys, online services don’t require you to have a special device for this procedure. Messengers like Telegram send you a confirmation message with a password whenever you try to sign in with a new device. Steam, the well-known online video game store, has a password generator in its mobile app. To gain access to your account, you should necessarily have your mobile phone at hand.

This method seems convenient at first glance, but there’s a significant drawback. If you’ve lost your linked device with mobile authentication, you’ll have a hard time recovering your account. Technical support will ask you to provide strong evidence of account ownership in an attempt to get rid of fraudsters.


Good Read: Mobile Security: What to Expect in the Year 2020



Biometrics is a fast and efficient way to recognize users. This method can be applied both as an independent method and as a part of two-step verification. It grants access with the help of fingerprints, voice tone recognition, facial features, and so on.


Proximity authentication methods unlock a device when certain conditions are met. For example, your house may be equipped with proximity beacons. You can adjust your phone to stay unlocked while it doesn’t leave the beacons coverage area.

Geofencing, a virtual perimeter for a real geographic area, is also an option for proximity authentication.



Security Authentication Technologies

Let's review some Authentication as a service (AaaS) that can be used to provide security for mobile and web solutions.

Azure Active Directory

The Azure Active Directory delivers sign-on and multi-factor authentication services that can protect your clients from security breach and data leaks.

Actually, this service is a complex system that also allows you to keep user credentials and identities safe by managing the access of different users to different resources. Besides, Azure Active Directory provides access to your web apps from any location, platform, with a single account. This unified approach lowers the security expenses and overall web app development cost.

Well-written documentation and easy-to-use developer tools are a cherry on top of a security cake.


LaunchKey is another AaaS system that offers various types of identity verifications like passwords, two-step verification, and authentication in a real-time mode.

LaunchKey can be accessed with the help of public API, in the cloud, or on-premises. The system’s stand out feature is that every record is kept on the user device. Software flexibility provides an opportunity to build app security with various combinations of verification methods. Thus, you can create your own and unique protective mechanism.

To make your personal data secure, you can initiate a person’s identity together with checking their location while attempting to access the system. That’s how you can achieve a two-step verification based on geofencing and biometric data.



YubiKey Neo

YubiKey Neo is an inheritor of the famous Yubico authentication technology that used physical USB keys. These devices are widely spread in such tech companies as Goole, Dropbox, and Github.

Currently, Yubico offers a two-step verification system based on a password stored on the USB device and an NFC technology powered by the NFC module inside the device. To use the device, the user has to hold it on the rear side of the phone in order to generate a password.

As for the USB key, it can be used as any hardware security key. YubiKey Noe doesn’t save any personal information, so when plugged into the PC, it will ask you to enter your credentials.


Pros and Cons of Authentication Methods

Now, we’ll overview the list of pros and cons of some protection methods. That will help you to determine which one suits you the most.

Validation via SMS


  • Easy to implement


  • Requires a user to have a phone with a sim card
  • Doesn’t work outside mobile network coverage areas
  • SMS may not reach the end-user in some countries


Validation by PIN


  • Easy to use
  • PIN is bounded to a specific device, so it may vary on different devices


  • PIN is vulnerable to brute force attacks
  • There are some particularities for storing PIN


Validation by Fingerprint


  • Prevalence of fingerprint scanner on devices;
  • The rapidity of scanning;


  • Requires a device with a scanner;
  • Scanners still can be tricked by fake fingerprints made on a 3D printer.


Facial Recognition


  • Presence of a camera in almost any device;
  • Convenient for users


  • Technology is far less reliable than any other method. Sometimes you can pass the security even with a photo of a person.

Wrapping Up

As you see, there’s a lot of offers on the market, and each of them has its pros and cons. So, before you choose a security method, conduct detailed research, and choose the one that matches your needs the most.


Published on May 6, 2020
Vitaly Kuprenko
Written by Vitaly Kuprenko
Vitaly Kuprenko is a technical writer at Cleveroad. It is a software development company located in Eastern Europe. His mission is to provide people with interesting material about innovations in the world of IT.


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