Identity Assurance – Sufficient and Necessary Conditions

Hitoshi Kokumai

Identity Assurance

It is not easy to define the ‘sufficient condition’ for describing a set of processes used to establish that a natural person is real, unique, and identifiable; criminals keep coming up with hitherto unknown weapons to compromise the said processes.

But we are easily able to define the ‘necessary condition’; it is that the ‘secret credential’, i.e., the likes of passwords, is absolutely indispensable for the processes to stay reliable.

Password Reset

Let us summarize the characteristics of the factors for the processes, namely, the authenticators, as follows.

  1. Secret credentials are absolutely indispensable, without which identity assurance would be a disaster. (Ref. Removal of Passwords and Its Security Effect )
  2. Two-factor authentication made of passwords and tokens provides a higher security than a single-factor authentication of passwords or tokens. (Ref. Quantitative Examination of Multiple Authenticator Deployment )
  3. Pseudo two-factor authentication made of biometrics and a password brings down the security to the level lower than a password-alone authentication. (Ref. Negative Security Effect of Biometrics Deployed in Cyberspace )
  4. Passwords are the last resort in such emergencies where we are naked and injured (Ref. Availability-First Approach
  5. We could consider expanding the password systems to accept both images and texts to drastically expand the scope of secret credentials. (Ref. Proposition on How to Build Sustainable Digital Identity Platform )

We could add the following.

‘Easy-to-Remember’ is one thing. Hard-to-Forget’ is another – The observation that images are easy to remember has been known for many decades; it is not what we discuss. What we discuss is that ‘images of our emotion-colored episodic memory’ is ‘Hard to Forget’ to the extent that it is ‘Panic-Proof’. This feature makes the applied solutions deployable in any demanding environments for any demanding use cases, with teleworking in stressful situations like pandemic included.

The password is easy to crack – Are you sure?

Quite a few security professionals say ‘Yes’ very loudly. 

We would say that a ‘hard-to-crack’ password is hard to crack and an ‘easy-to-crack’ password is easy to crack, just as strong lions are strong and weak lions are weak; look at babies, the inured and aged. 

However hard or easy to manage, the password is absolutely indispensable, without which digital identity would be just a disaster. We need to contemplate on how to make the password harder to crack while making it harder to forget.

 This subject and related issues are also discussed on Payments Journal, InfoSec Buzz and Risk Group

  •  https://www.paymentsjournal.com/easy-to-remember-is-one-thing-hard-to-forget-is-another/
  •  https://www.informationsecuritybuzz.com/articles/identity-assurance-and-teleworking-in-pandemic/
  •  https://www.valuewalk.com/2020/05/digital-identity-biometrics-use/
  •  https://riskgroupllc.com/democracy-and-digital-identity-2/

Future society enabled by expanding the password systems

Textual passwords could suffice two decades ago when computing powers were still limited, but the exponentially accelerating computing powers have now made the textual passwords too vulnerable for many of the cyber activities. The same computing powers are, however, now enabling us to handle images and making more and more of our digital dreams come true, some of which are listed below.

  • Electronic Money & Crypto-Currency
  • Hands-Free Payment & Empty-Handed Shopping
  • ICT-assisted Disaster Prevention, Rescue & Recovery
  • Electronic Healthcare & Tele-Medicine to support terminal care in homes
  • Pandemic-resistant Teleworking
  • Hands-Free Operation of Wearable Computing
  • User-Friendlier Humanoid Robots
  • Safer Internet of Things
  • More effective Defense & Law Enforcement

all of which would be the pie in the sky where there is no reliable identity assurance.

By Hitoshi Kokumai

Fahim Kahn

The 5 Biggest Hybrid Cloud Management Challenges—And How to Overcome Them

Hybrid Cloud Management Challenges The benefits of the cloud—reduced costs, greater IT flexibility, and more—are well-established. But now many organizations are moving to hybrid cloud ...
Hamza Seqqat

The Benefits of Virtualizing SD-WAN and Security

Benefits of Virtualizing SD-WAN As more companies adopt SD-WAN technology to enhance the agility of their networking architecture, they must give strong consideration to how ...
Or Lenchner

Destination IPPN: why the travel sector must harness a global IP proxy network

Destination IPPN While massive growth in the travel sector has been predicted, the digital environment has also massively upped competition amongst service providers, keen to ...
Martin Mendelsohn

Supporting CISOS, CIOS and CTOS That Are Overwhelmed During the COVID Battle

The Covid Era and CISO Stress Even before COVID-19, senior technology executives, including CISOs, CIOs and CTOs were overwhelmed, and felt an increasing lack of ...
Mark Barrenechea

Security is Job 1: Machines vs. Machines

Digital is redefining cybercrime and cyberwarfare Cyberattacks today are multi-stage, hard to discover and highly targeted. Some security threats are accidental, stemming from unauthorized employee ...
David Friend

Data Centers Need to Wake Up and Compete with the Hyperscalers

Data Centers Need to Wake Up and Compete with the Hyperscalers Win Customer Hearts & Minds and Become a Trusted Technology Partner Data center operators ...

SIGNUP FOR OUR FREE NEWSLETTER

Enjoy thought leadership insights, industy news, free tech reports, podcasts and comics.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.