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Password/Token/PIN definition

Password, Token, PIN, Passcode… every day we use this items when we need to authenticate in different systems. I observed that there are times, during a discussions, when is not very clear what is the difference between this items and the terminology is used in a wrong way.
Let’s see what each item means:
Password: It is a set of characters used during authentication process and is known by the user. The user can also set the password.
Token: It is a temporary access key that is generated by a provider (server, hardware device …) and can be used by someone to have access to different resources. A token cannot be change manually by an end-user to a friendly-value
PIN: It is similar to a password and is used during the authentication process. Normally the PIN is used when the user is partial trusted (for example mobile phone). In general a PIN is not very long and after several attempts of using a wrong PIN the account/device is locked. 
Passcode: Is a combination between PIN and Token and is used to authenticate in secure environment. This Passcode is available only for a limit period of time. Because of this the system can request to the user after a specific period of time to enter the Passcode again.
Using the correct term is very important, because the way you implement the authentication process can be very different if you are using a token or a password for example.


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