Wireless Identity Management: Multimodal Biometrics and Multilayered IDM

Wireless Identity Management: Multimodal Biometrics and Multilayered IDM

Abdullah Rashed (University of Minho, Portugal) and Henrique M.D. Santos (University of Minho, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0191-8.ch013


In the wireless era, digital users in the electronic world (e-world) are represented by sets of data called Digital Identities (ID), which they use, among other functions, for authentication purposes. Within the e-world it is risky to lose an identity and so security solutions are required to protect IDs. Information security should provide the necessary Identity Management (IDM) process to mitigate that threat. Moreover, efficient protection of digital identities would encourage users to enter the digital world without worries. The suggested solution depends on three dimensions: management, security solution, and security dimensions. The proposed model appears as a multi-layered security approach, since it tries to integrate different security technologies and multimodal biometrics tools and practices, such as wireless management, policies, procedures, guidelines, standards, and legislation. The advantages, limitations, and requirements of the proposed model are discussed.
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Wireless network and mobility have laid the foundation for a new era of computer users (Higby & Bailey, 2004), especially in Internet arena, and generated a lot of wireless clients everywhere (Yan, et al., 2009). This growth of the Internet has made it an integral part of many businesses’ daily operations (Taylor, 2001). Today’s user desires both flexibility and mobility (Keshariya & Hunt, 2008). The growth in the popularity of Internet services, increasing demands of mobile users together with a wide range of access technologies and mobile-networked devices, demands integration and inter-working of these heterogeneous access networks (Keshariya & Hunt, 2008). However, this popularity has not been as eagerly received by network administrators. Because a great majority of these users lack the knowledge and/or experience to implement best practices, such as installing the latest security patches and antivirus software protection, or properly configuring firewalls, small networks are experiencing high levels of unwanted malicious activity (Yan, et al., 2009). Therefore, securing wireless networks in an untrustworthy open environment is always a challenging problem (Boudriga, et al., 2006). Network has facilitated some security vulnerabilities and malicious attacks. Even with good internal security practices, such as firewalls and virus protection, small networks are still vulnerable to malware, since wireless access on small networks allows the spread of computer viruses and worms due to laptops moving between campus and less-protected networks (Yan, et al., 2009). Distributed security management would be used for preventing malicious behaviours (Boudriga, et al., 2006).

To enter the e-world users have to use some sort of credentials (ID) as shown in Figure 1. Authentication is a process of two different actions: provision and verification (Sklavos, et al., 2007) as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 1.

Authentication process

Figure 2.

A three-party authentication model (Sklavos, et al., 2007)

Due to its fast and networked nature, e-world can provide that information for non expected purposes, such as business communications and marketing (Casassa & Thyne, 2006). Moreover, given the lack of face to face interaction, stolen or lost credentials can be easily abused to hide many types of e-crimes. Besides, users might be fooled into providing personal digital identity to rogue sites that redirect legitimate traffic (Madsen et al 2005). To illustrate that, we will use an example provided by (Claub, et al., 2005): when users visit a bookshop they do not need to show their unique numbers or any other personal information; in contrast, when they visit e-bookshop, they have to show, at least, their IP address but normally, sites are able to capture more information. To address these issues Identity Management (IDM) is a viable solution (Ahn & Lam, 2005) and it seems essential to protect the privacy of users in the electronic society (Claub, et al., 2005) and to make them feel safe.

Digital identity is defined as the digital representation of the known information about a specific individual or organization (Squicciarini, et al., 2008). By definition, IDM is a set of business processes and a supporting infrastructure for creation, maintenance and use of digital identity. An IDM system (IDMS) is a system that provides the control tools for managing the identity information and the amount of it that should be available for each interaction in electronic society (Claub, et al., 2005).

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