Definitions[edit | edit source]

Computer security[edit | edit source]

An authenticator is

[a] device that provides an internally stored or calculated response to verify a user's identity when logging onto a computer. Only authorized users are likely to both know a unique piece of information (the password) and be in possession of a unique piece of equipment (the authenticator).[1]
[s]omething the claimant possesses and controls (typically a cryptographic module or password) that is used to authenticate the claimant's identity.[2]
something the claimant possess and controls that is used to authenticate (confirm) that the claimant is the individual to whom a credential was issued, and therefore (depending on the strength of the authentication component of the digital ID system) is (to varying degrees of likelihood, specified by the authentication assurance level) the actual subscriber and account holder.[3]

E-mail[edit | edit source]

An authenticator is

[a] symbol or group of symbols, or a series of bits, selected or derived in a prearranged manner and usually inserted at a predetermined point within a message or transmission for the purpose of attesting to the validity of the message or transmission.[4]

Evidence[edit | edit source]

An authenticator is

evidence presented to support the authentication of a claim. It increases confidence in the truth of the claim.[5]

General[edit | edit source]

An authenticator is

[t]he means used to confirm the identity of a user, processor, or device (e.g., user password or token).[6]
[a] letter, number or group of letters and/or numbers, attesting to the authenticity of a transmission, a message or data, or to the identity of a net, station or user.[7]

Overview[edit | edit source]

"A receipt, for example, can act as an authenticator of a claim that an item was purchased at a specific store. A driver's license can act as an authenticator that a particular name (a form of identifier) refers to the individual who carries the license. Knowledge of a secret or the ability to display some distinctive physical characteristic such as a fingerprint can also serve as the authenticators of an individual's name."[8]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Bringing Health Care Online: The Role of Information Technologies, at 216.
  2. NIST Special Publication 800-63-3
  3. Guidance on Digital ID, Glossary, at 101.
  4. U.S. Department of Defense, Joint Pub. 1–02: DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Nov. 8, 2010, as amended through June 15, 2015) (full-text).
  5. Who Goes There?: Authentication Through the Lens of Privacy, at 20.
  6. NIST Special Publication 800-53, App. B, Glossary.
  7. NATO Standardization Agency, NATO Glossary of Terms and Definitions 2-A-21 (2008) (full-text).
  8. Who Goes There?: Authentication Through the Lens of Privacy, at 20.
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