This series, and my blog, have moved! Check it out!
Note: much of this comes from the OWASP Cheat Sheet on Access Control, by Shruti Kulkarni, Adinath Raveendra Raj, Mennouchi Islam Azeddine and Jim Manico. And if not, it may come from one of the other offerings from the amazing OWASP Cheat Sheets Project. For more information on almost any AppSec topic, check out the project, it’s definitely worth your time!
Authentication is ensuring that the user who is using the application is the actual person they purport to be. For instance, when I log into my webmail, it verifies that I am the one-and-only Tanya Janca that owns this account. Not a different person who is also named “Tanya Janca”, and not someone pretending to be me. The real, authentic, me; the person who owns the account.
Identity (digitally speaking) is a hardware or software-based solution for proof of identity of citizens, users or organizations. For example; in order to access benefits or services provided by government authorities, banks or other companies in person, you must verify your identity, usually with a driver’s license, passport of another physical document. However, if you are verifying your identity digitally (electronically), you must use a software or hardware based solution to prove your identity.