News and articles

A Brief History of Authentication

20 Nov, 2014 by Dr Michael Scott

We authenticate ourselves multiple times every day. Every time we open a door with a key we are authenticating ourselves to the building we are entering, simply by demonstrating possession of the key. When we buy something with a bankcard we authenticate ourselves via possession of the card and knowledge of the associated PIN. This is known as two factor authentication. We use passports to authenticate ourselves when we travel.…

Backdoors in NIST elliptic curves

24 Oct, 2013 by Dr Michael Scott

Cryptography is a lot about trust. And in the real world cryptography depends on standards, as the standardization of cryptographic algorithms is how cryptography is projected into the real world. For years people have trusted the US based NIST – National Institute for Standards in Technology, with headquarters in Gaithersburg just outside Washington DC. I was there once at a conference*. But now thanks to the reckless actions of the NSA (National Security Agency), as exposed by various whistle-blowers, that trust has been blown, with incalculable consequences.…

2 step verification vs 2 factor authentication

21 Aug, 2013 by MIRACL Blogger

Several super high profile smash and grab attacks on global scale cloud service providers have prompted stronger authentication to be deployed on Google, Twitter, Evernote and many more providers. The balance between user friendliness and credible security is a key issue for these providers or any web site owner needing to increase secure authentication. There is no point in making the service exorbitantly difficult to use of course. When looking at the security they choose, however it raises the question why they would bother at all!…