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It was useful while it lasted, but for government, so-called knowledge based authentication, at least in its current form, may soon go the way of the Dodo or analog television. We can credit the recent IRS data breach for highlighting the problem associated with this approach to security – yet, KBA has been on its last legs for some time.

Briefly, knowledge based security/authentication relies on a question and answer format where the visitor should (in theory) be the only person who knows the answer to a specific set of questions. It can be used a stand-alone security approach, or it can be paired with a password or other method of logging onto an IT system. If you ever forgot your password and were required to answer a question like "what is your favorite pet's name" then you have had some experience with this type of security.


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