What Is Knowledge-Based Authentication?

Knowledge-based authentication, otherwise known by its acronym KBA, is an authentication method that uses a series of questions to verify a user's identity to prevent unauthorized access. Discover all the details on this authentication method in this blog article!

What is Knowledge-Based Authentication?

A knowledge-based authentication (KBA) protocol is a security mechanism that relies on the authentication of users by means of knowing something about them, such as their name or password.

It is different from traditional authentication methods, which rely on identifying someone by matching their credentials (such as their name and email address) with those stored on a server.

KBA & KYC solutions are typically used in web applications and other types of systems where users need to access sensitive data. 

One example of a KBA protocol is the Secure Shell (SSH) protocol, which is used to log into remote systems. When you log into a system using SSH, the server sends you a set of instructions called an “authorized_keys“ file.

The authorized_keys file contains the public key of the system's owner, along with the corresponding private key. The private key is encrypted using your own password, so no one else can access it unless they also know your password.

When you try to log in using your username and password, the server checks to see if the public key in the authorized_keys file matches the one that it has stored for you. If it does, you're allowed to log in; if not, the server rejects your login