Clef, an authentication client that combines several solutions for problems posed by centralized systems, continues gaining ground. Initially launched in early 2013, its appeal has recently inspired a partnership with AlphaPoint, a lead provider of cryptocurrency exchange software. Derek Minter, Clef’s founder, claims that Bitcoin inspired the project. What similarities do these systems really bare, though?
Like Bitcoin, Clef employs RSA cryptography – the use of private/public key pairs for signing and validating messages – in order to surmount the vulnerabilities posed by storing passwords on a database. This not only negates the risk of a hacker stealing passwords from the server, but also avoids any need for transmitting the private key (analogous to a password) during authentication, thus further protecting users from hackers that might try to intercept their communication.
Unlike passwords, which users must communicate in order to authenticate themselves, private keys require neither transmission from the user’s device (thus negating the threat of interception), nor storage on the system requesting authentication (thus avoiding the risk of a database security breach). Instead, RSA cryptography uses a hash function to incorporate verifiable