Authentication (from (ギリシア語:αὐθεντικός) ''authentikos'', "real, genuine," from αὐθέντης ''authentes'', "author") is the act of confirming the truth of an attribute of a single piece of data (a datum) claimed true by an entity. In contrast with identification which refers to the act of stating or otherwise indicating a claim purportedly attesting to a person or thing's identity, authentication is the process of actually confirming that identity. It might involve confirming the identity of a person by validating their identity documents, verifying the validity of a Website with a digital certificate, tracing the age of an artifact by carbon dating, or ensuring that a product is what its packaging and labeling claim to be. In other words, authentication often involves verifying the validity of at least one form of identification.
(詳細はanthropology, a common problem is verifying that a given artifact was produced by a certain person or was produced in a certain place or period of history. In computer science, verifying a person's identity is often required to secure access to confidential data or systems.
Authentication can be considered to be of three types:
The first type of authentication is accepting proof of identity given by a credible person who has first-hand evidence that the identity is genuine. When authentication is required of art or physical objects, this proof could be a friend, family member or colleague attesting to the item's provenance, perhaps by having witnessed the item in its creator's possession. With autographed sports memorabilia, this could involve someone attesting that they witnessed the object being signed. A vendor selling branded items implies authenticity, while he or she may not have evidence that every step in the supply chain was authenticated. Authority based trust relationships (centralized) drive the majority of secured internet communication through known public certificate authorities; peer based trust (decentralized, web of trust) is used for personal services like email or files (pretty good privacy, GNU Privacy Guard) and trust is established by known individuals signing each other's keys (proof of identity) or at Key signing parties, for example.
The second type of authentication is comparing the attributes of the object itself to what is known about objects of that origin. For example, an art expert might look for similarities in the style of painting, check the location and form of a signature, or compare the object to an old photograph. An archaeologist might use carbon dating to verify the age of an artifact, do a chemical analysis of the materials used, or compare the style of construction or decoration to other artifacts of similar origin. The physics of sound and light, and comparison with a known physical environment, can be used to examine the authenticity of audio recordings, photographs, or videos. Documents can be verified as being created on ink or paper readily available at the time of the item's implied creation.
Attribute comparison may be vulnerable to forgery. In general, it relies on the facts that creating a forgery indistinguishable from a genuine artifact requires expert knowledge, that mistakes are easily made, and that the amount of effort required to do so is considerably greater than the amount of profit that can be gained from the forgery.
In art and antiques, certificates are of great importance for authenticating an object of interest and value. Certificates can, however, also be forged, and the authentication of these poses a problem. For instance, the son of Han van Meegeren, the well-known art-forger, forged the work of his father and provided a certificate for its provenance as well; see the article Jacques van Meegeren.
Criminal and civil penalties for fraud, forgery, and counterfeiting can reduce the incentive for falsification, depending on the risk of getting caught.
Currency and other financial instruments commonly use this second type of authentication method. Bills, coins, and cheques incorporate hard-to-duplicate physical features, such as fine printing or engraving, distinctive feel, watermarks, and holographic imagery, which are easy for trained receivers to verify.
The third type of authentication relies on documentation or other external affirmations. In criminal courts, the rules of evidence often require establishing the chain of custody of evidence presented. This can be accomplished through a written evidence log, or by testimony from the police detectives and forensics staff that handled it. Some antiques are accompanied by certificates attesting to their authenticity. Signed sports memorabilia is usually accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. These external records have their own problems of forgery and perjury, and are also vulnerable to being separated from the artifact and lost.
In computer science, a user can be given access to secure systems based on user credentials that imply authenticity. A network administrator can give a user a password, or provide the user with a key card or other access device to allow system access. In this case, authenticity is implied but not guaranteed.
Consumer goods such as pharmaceuticals, perfume, fashion clothing can use all three forms of authentication to prevent counterfeit goods from taking advantage of a popular brand's reputation (damaging the brand owner's sales and reputation). As mentioned above, having an item for sale in a reputable store implicitly attests to it being genuine, the first type of authentication. The second type of authentication might involve comparing the quality and craftsmanship of an item, such as an expensive handbag, to genuine articles. The third type of authentication could be the presence of a trademark on the item, which is a legally protected marking, or any other identifying feature which aids consumers in the identification of genuine brand-name goods. With software, companies have taken great steps to protect from counterfeiters, including adding holograms, security rings, security threads and color shifting ink.〔http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/howtotell/Software.aspx〕
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』