From the November/December 2014 issue

Robust Multi-Factor Authentication for Fragile Communications

By Xinyi Huang, Yang Xiang, Elisa Bertino, Jianying Zhou, and Li Xu

Featured article thumbnail imageIn large-scale systems, user authentication usually needs the assistance from a remote central authentication server via networks. The authentication service however could be slow or unavailable due to natural disasters or various cyber attacks on communication channels. This has raised serious concerns in systems which need robust authentication in emergency situations. The contribution of this paper is two-fold. In a slow connection situation, we present a secure generic multi-factor authentication protocol to speed up the whole authentication process. Compared with another generic protocol in the literature, the new proposal provides the same function with significant improvements in computation and communication. Another authentication mechanism, which we name stand-alone authentication, can authenticate users when the connection to the central server is down. We investigate several issues in stand-alone authentication and show how to add it on multi-factor authentication protocols in an efficient and generic way.

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IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing (TDSC) is a bimonthly journal that publishes archival research results focusing on foundations, methodologies, and mechanisms that support the achievement—through design, modeling, and evaluation—of systems and networks that are dependable and secure to the desired degree without compromising performance.
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