How Big Data Can Secure User Authentication

How Big Data Can Secure User Authentication
  • Password has been in use to protect the system and the data for quite a long time. However, even two-factor and multifactor authentication processes have not been able to provide the protection as was expected from them.

But, big-data-based authentication systems looks to be a somewhat better option. It uses the multidimensional information to authenticate a user.
Multiple products are already available on the market, and they are becoming popular. However, other systems have not yet been forgotten due to various reasons.

Current Trends:

Password-based systems are still being used, and new novel methods are also emerging, but their acceptance ratio is far less. Some of the main trends in this domain are described below:

  • A combination of traditional password and multi-factor authentication system is being given to users, but multi-factor authentication system is optional because many users find it inconvenient.
  • Two-factor and multi-factor authentication have limited user acceptance.
  • Many companies have started using user’s fingerprints, voice and face recognition to authenticate the user.
  • Big data builds user profile without the user knowing about it. The profile is regularly updated and used to authenticate the user.

Various Working Processes

Irrespective of various new authentication systems coming up, the main system remains the same, that is, matching user inputs with the available data in the system. The different authentication systems are described below:

  • Password-based system: The password inputted by the user is usually matched with the encrypted one stored in the database.
  • Multi-factor system: The system matches multiple passwords with the inputs provided during the access request. Some of them are stored in the database and the remaining are dynamically generated.
  • Biometric system: The system collects data from a person’s voice, fingerprints or iris and uses that data to authenticate the user. The iris is a thin and circular structure in the eye. It is responsible for controlling the diameter and size of the pupil and thus enables the amount of light reaching the retina. Eye color is defined by that of the iris.
  • Big-data-based system: The system creates a profile of the user based on the data it regularly collects. It authenticates access requests by matching access inputs with the data in the profile. Any mismatch or deviation from the profile could set off a warning about unauthorized attempts.

However, organizations have been facing some problems:

  • Financial and technical challenges in moving from purely password-based systems to more secure authentication systems.
  • The users prefer to avoid layered authentication if given an option.

The big-data user data can be varied, unstructured and complex, for example:

  1. The user uses a physical keyboard or a virtual keyboard?
  2. The level of security permissions does the user have?
  3. Number of attempts, user takes to enter the correct password?
  4. An average number of system access, a user makes in a day?
  5. Number of times, the password has been reset?

The system collects data about the user and monitors his activities too. The system should adapt to the unique behavior of each user.
The authentication system analyzes the collected structured and unstructured data from a variety of sources to detect patterns of behavior and anomalies. It also detects attacks from a variety of sources such as network devices, security appliances, hosts, endpoints, applications and databases.
Organizations have been reaping benefits of this approach already. The data authentication system establishes whether the identity presenting a claim is real, and then verifies whether the identification is owned by the person making the claim.


Big data authentication sounds promising and it will take time to get the acceptability in the industry. The password-based system will continue and may be used in conjunction with two-factor and multifactor systems.
Organizations will invest a lot into making biometric systems more acceptable, especially, voice-based authentication system and iris-based authentication
Many organizations have been watching the developments with both interest and caution, especially those deals with a lot of confidential data, like, banking and finance, defense and healthcare.

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