Security support has been added to the recently released Hadoop 1.0 and HBase 0.92. With security enabled, only authenticated users can access a Hadoop and HBase cluster. The authentication is provided by a separate authentication service managed by trusted administrators. This makes HBase a considerable option to store sensitive, big data such as financial data.
Hadoop relies on the Kerberos authentication service for its security support. A secure HBase must run on HDFS with security support, so HBase also relies on Kerberos to provide it with security support.
The following is the description of Kerberos on Wikipedia:
Kerberos is a computer network authentication protocol which works on the basis ...