Gartner Research

A Taxonomy of Authentication Methods

Published: 29 February 2008

ID: G00154522

Analyst(s): Ant Allan


The broad variety of authentication methods can no longer be usefully described by counting factors. Gartner's fine-grained taxonomy provides organizations with a better understanding of technology choices.

Table Of Contents
  • Overview
  • Preamble
  • The Scope of This Taxonomy
    • High-Level Taxonomy
    • The Structure of This Research
  • The Anatomy of Knowledge-Based Authentication Methods
    • What the User Knows
    • What the User Adduces
    • What the User Uses
  • A Taxonomy of Knowledge-Based Authentication Methods
    • Passwords
    • Q&A
    • Pattern-Based OTP
    • Images
    • Compound Methods
  • The Anatomy of Authentication Tokens
    • Credentials and Authentication Mechanisms
    • Embedded Technologies and Out-of-Band Channels
    • 3.11 Form Factors
  • A Taxonomy of Authentication Tokens
    • OTP Token
    • OTP Software Token on a PC
    • Lightweight OTP
    • Smart Token With Public-Key Credentials
    • Soft Public-Key Credentials on a PC
    • Soft Public-Key Credentials on a USB Flash Drive
    • Other Kinds of Tokens
    • OOB Authentication
    • Hybrid Tokens
  • A Taxonomy of Biometric Authentication Methods
    • Biological Traits
    • Behavioral Traits

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