Root of Trust

In cybersecurity, a Root of Trust (RoT) is a hardware, firmware, or software component that is inherently trusted. A Root of Trust is the foundation of any security process, such as identity validation. Think of the Root of Trust as a fallback method in case the first factor of authentication fails.

What is Root of Trust in Cybersecurity?

Root of Trust, or RoT is most often used to carry out safe boot procedures in a chain of trust, as it provides identification keys required for cryptographic activities like encryption and decryption. However, a RoT also relates to other scenarios in which a fallback method is required. For example, when you may need additional identity validation to confirm your identity for account login, an important transaction, or to sign a document, your RoT could be anything from a one-time passcode (OTP) you receive via SMS or email, to fingerprint scanning or voice ID.

In an authentication scenario, think of the Root of Trust as a fallback method in case the first factor of authentication fails. Let’s take a real-life scenario example of login authentication to understand what RoT means in this context. Let’s say you’re trying to log in to your social media account, but for extra security, your account has two-factor authentication (2FA) enforced. If you were using TypingDNA Verify 2FA, the way you typed your username and password would count as a second factor of authentication; but let’s say that because of a hand injury you weren’t able to be identified by the way you type as a 2FA. In this scenario, your Root of Trust (RoT) would be the one-time SMS passcode that TypingDNA Verify 2FA will send to your mobile phone to confirm your identity. Your phone (the device that you linked to your online account when you initially created the account), is used as your root of trust — the most secure piece of evidence linked to your account.

Learn more about how TypingDNA Verify 2FA uses Root of Trust in an authentication scenario.

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