Hardware Authenticator

What Does Hardware Authenticator Mean?

A hardware authenticator is a type of device that is used to verify the identity of an individual on a particular system. It is implemented in multifactor or two-factor authentication processes, whereby a user must have a valid hardware authenticator to be granted access to a system or network. A hardware authenticator is also known as an authentication token.


Techopedia Explains Hardware Authenticator

A hardware authenticator consists of any hardware device that acts a security token or identity verifier, including a USB stick, smart card or embedded circuit within an external device. In a typical scenario, an individual plugs a hardware authenticator into a system which first validates the hardware authenticator and then requests another identity or password.

For example, bank ATM machines use hardware authenticators. A user must possess a valid ATM card to withdraw cash or other ATM machine services and is not provided access to the machine without this card, even if the user knows the correct user ID or password.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…