An authentification credential is a required security field (such as a username and password combo) typically used for access to protected areas. Sometimes the credentials could also be an encryption key, or biometric information.
Authentication, simply put, is the act of verifying that you are who you say you are. The three basic forms of authentication are:
- Something you are
- Something you have
- Something you know
- Passwords are something you know
- One-time tokens are something you have
- Digital Certificates are something you are.
Another popular form of authentication is Biometrics.
Note: Authentication is not to be confused with authorization.