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Books -> Cryptography

Authentication: From Passwords to Public Keys

Smith, Richard E.

Addison-Wesley Professional
Published: October 1, 2001
ISBN: 0201615991

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Book Description
One of the key problems of computer security is that of guaranteeing that an entity (person or system) really is who he, she, or it claims to be. Authentication procedures may be very trusting (as for "guest" accounts with limited capability), moderately strong (your bank requires both a physical card and a PIN before it will dispense money from an ATM), or nearly foolproof (biometric devices, which examine--to cite two examples--retina scans or fingerprints). Authentication: From Passwords to Public Keys examines the whole range of authentication options and offers advice on which one might be right for your security requirements, budget, and tolerance for user inconvenience. As the "public keys" part of the title implies, this book also deals with some aspects of encryption.

Rather than present a menagerie of security techniques and explain their strengths and weaknesses in an academic way, Richard Smith demonstrates the strength of protection mechanisms in the only way that counts--he shows how they can be defeated, and at what expenditure of effort. He's also made lists of attacks, complete with assessments of the popularity of each and the particular risk it poses, and a similar list of defenses. Margin notes refer to list entries by number, so it's easy to see what problems and solutions are covered in a given passage of text--though there's no index of references to attacks and defenses by number. --David Wall

Topics covered: How to defend computer systems, primarily through the application of identity-verification techniques. Those covered include passwords (including the randomly generated kind, and their hashes), authentication by machine address, biometric examination, smart cards, and RSA public-key cryptography.

Product Description:
Gives readers a clear understanding of what an organization needs to reliably identify its users and how the different techniques for verifying identity are executed. Softcover.

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