What are Authentication Protocols in Cryptography?

05.06.2020 Read
What are Authentication Protocols in Cryptography?

Keeping information safe is an ongoing battle and authentication protocols are among our best friends in this fight. Keep reading to learn more!

In today’s world, information is one of the most important and valuable assets that an organization can have. That is why keeping sensitive and private information away from prying eyes has the utmost importance. For this purpose, we often employ authentication protocols and cryptography methods.

Being one of the most preferred methods of data protection, authentication protocols aim to ensure that the person, program or entity trying to gain access to a piece of information is not an intruder but one of the intended recipients of that information. In this article, we will discuss what authentication protocols are in great detail.

What is an authentication protocol?

Simply put, an authentication protocol is a communication protocol. It can be encrypted or designed to ensure the safe transfer of authenticated data between two or more different parties.

In order to make it easier to understand, we can try employing an analogy: Let’s say that you want to transfer some money from one bank to another. In order to do this, you first need to complete the necessary documentation to prove that you are the rightful owner of that money. Then, you would need to find secure vehicles for the transportation process since you cannot put bankrolls on a handcart and merrily roll along. In addition, you would also need to ensure that the secure vehicles are not identifiable for the safety of your money. All in all, it is not a wise idea to carry large sums of money out in the open or tell people the license plate number of your money loaded vehicles. Now, cryptography and authentication processes work very similarly: The necessary documentation you submit to the bank is user verification and authentication, secure vehicles are the authentication protocol and making sure that your money filled vehicles are unidentifiable is the encryption of data.

What are the types of authentication protocols?

There are various types of authentication protocols that aim to answer different needs. Below you can find some of the most common authentication protocols and how they can be used.

Password authentication protocol: Also known as the PAP, it is one of the most straightforward authentication protocols. The simplicity of this protocol stems from the fact that it transmits the data in plain text. As a result, PAP is not a very durable against attacks.

It is often used during testing processes of system simulations. Moreover, PAP can be employed when the software on the systems is incompatible with various standard protocols like CHAP.

Shiva password authentication protocol: Also known as SPAP, this protocol is a more primitive version of PAP. SPAP processes the password through a reversible encryption system, that is why it is more secure than PAP.

SPAP is used in certain situations when the sender party uses a Windows 2000 server or a Windows XP 2000 system.