Technology such as the use of biometrics to read

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technology such as the use of biometrics to read fingerprints is now gaining more installations. An authentication system can provide a single authentication point for the network, remote access, virtual private networking, and internet access. An authentication server using RADIUS technology creates one point through which all users are scrutinized, and the RADIUS server accepts or denies a user based on company- determined criteria. The server adds two-factor and sometimes token authentication to further secure the login process. Although RADIUS and TACACS protocols are normally associated with remote user access they can be used inside the network for authentication. These two protocols are widely supported as authentication servers for various hardware such as routers, remote access servers, and other devices. The Cisco Secure Server provides “the recognition of each individual user, and mapping of their identity, location and the time to policy; authorization of their network services and what they can do on the network.” The Cisco product uses RADIUS technology for authentication, authorization, and accounting. Authentication can also somewhat make the users’ lives a bit easier with a single sign-on. While a company is implementing various security measures it can become cumbersome for the end-users to have to login to numerous systems. An authentication server provides one point for login to all resources, those that are accessible to the specific user. One role of the authentication server is to encrypt user passwords that travel across the network. Network Computing. Shipley (1997, May) notes in an article in Network Computing that “passwords and user names frequently pass across the network in the clear or can be easily hacked at endpoints.” An authentication system eliminates that risk. Another technology to authenticate users is to use PKIs or Public Key Infrastructures. The credentials passed by the PKI is usually either Kerberos or Public Key. Karve (1998, May) explains in Network Magazine that “most centralized authentication systems support one or more types of credentials. The two most common types of authentication infrastructures are Kerberos and public key. Both are based on key technologies, but they handle authentication differently.” Microsoft has integrated authentication capabilities in Windows 2000. This security capability in Windows 2000 is via the implementation of the Kerberos security protocol,
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which replaces the previous NT security model. As explained earlier, Kerberos is an industry standard shared-secret key-based method of authentication. The Kerberos standard uses Data Encryption Standard (DES) shared-secret keys to encrypt the transmission of credentials across the network. This protocol has been shown to be extremely effective as an encryption technique.
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