In computer security, logging in is the process by which an individual gains access to a computer system by identifying and authenticating themselves.
Cybersecurity, computer security or IT security is the protection of computer systems from theft of or damage to their hardware, software or electronic data, as well as from disruption or misdirection of the services they provide.
A computer is a device that can be instructed to carry out an arbitrary set of arithmetic or logical operations automatically.
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The user credentials are typically some form of "username" and a matching "password", and these credentials themselves are sometimes referred to as a login.
A credential is an attestation of qualification, competence, or authority issued to an individual by a third party with a relevant or de facto authority or assumed competence to do so.
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In practice, modern secure systems often require a second factor such as email or SMS confirmation for extra security.
SMS is a text messaging service component of most telephone, Internet, and mobile device systems.
Electronic mail is a method of exchanging messages between people using electronics.
Logging in is usually used to enter a specific page, website or application, which trespassers cannot see.
A website, also written as web site, is a collection of related web pages, including multimedia content, typically identified with a common domain name, and published on at least one web server.
Once the user is logged in, the login token may be used to track what actions the user has taken while connected to the site.
Logging out may be performed explicitly by the user taking some actions, such as entering the appropriate command or clicking a website link label as such.
It can also be done implicitly, such as by the user powering off his or her workstation, closing a web browser window, leaving a website, or not refreshing a website within a defined period.
A web browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web.
In addition, the server invalidates any associations with the session, thereby making any session-handle in the user's cookie store useless.
This feature comes in handy if the user is using a public computer or a computer that is using a public wireless connection.
As a security precaution, one should not rely on implicit means of logging out of a system, especially not on a public computer; instead, one should explicitly log out and wait for the confirmation that this request has taken place.
Logging out of a computer, when leaving it, is a common security practice preventing unauthorised users from tampering with it.
There are also people who choose to have a password-protected screensaver set to activate after some period of inactivity, thereby requiring the user to re-enter his or her login credentials to unlock the screensaver and gain access to the system.
A screensaver is a computer program that blanks the screen or fills it with moving images or patterns when the computer has been idle for a long time.
There can be different methods of logging in that may be via image, fingerprints, eye scan, password, etc.
The terms became common with the time sharing systems of the 1960s and Bulletin Board Systems in the 1970s.
In computing, time-sharing is the sharing of a computing resource among many users at the same time by means of multiprogramming and multi-tasking.
A Bulletin Board System or BBS is a computer server running software that allows users to connect to the system using a terminal program.
Early home computers and personal computers did not generally require them until Windows NT, OS/2 and Linux in the 1990s.
Linux is a family of open source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991, by Linus Torvalds.
Windows NT is a family of operating systems produced by Microsoft, the first version of which was released on July 27, 1993.
A personal computer is a general-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use.
The noun login comes from the verb log in and by analogy with the verb to clock in.
Computer systems keep a log of users' access to the system.
The term "log" comes from the chip log historically used to record distance travelled at sea and was recorded in a ship's log or log book.
A chip log, also called common log, ship log, or just log, is a navigation tool mariners use to estimate the speed of a vessel through water.
A logbook is a record of important events in the management, operation, and navigation of a ship.