SMS 2FA [Explained]

Two-factor authentication using SMS

Two-factor authentication using SMS


In today’s digital environment, maintaining online security is of the utmost importance for both businesses and their customers. There are more website and data breaches than ever before. With an increase in hacking and stories of leaked private information regularly appearing in the media cycle, companies and consumers alike are looking for alternate ways to keep their data safe. Two-factor authentication is a popular way to achieve this.

Two-factor authentication is a process that requires two different criteria to access an account or website. It is a subset of multi-factor authentication.


Typically, authentication factors can be split into three categories.

Something you know
- this is something the user has committed to memory, such as a password, a PIN (personal identification number) or an answer to a secret question, for example, ‘What was your first pet’s name’.

Something you have
- this can be either a physical possession, such as a bank key card or pass, or a soft token sent to your mobile phone, typically via SMS or an application.

Something you are
- this is something that is unique to the user, such as a biometric fingerprint pattern, an iris scan or a voiceprint.

In most instances of two-factor authentication, the first of these is a username and password combination that the user has committed to memory, and inputs into their device. This is a universally used way of accessing private data, but its simplicity can leave accounts vulnerable to hacking.

As shown above, the second factor of authentication can come in a range of forms.

This article will explain how SMS can be used for two-factor authentication.


What is SMS Two-Factor Authentication?


SMS two-factor authentication is a process that involves a single-use, time-limited passcode being sent via SMS to a user as a secondary form of identification in a login procedure.

What does it do?


Put simply, two-factor authentication via SMS increases website and account security by adding an extra layer of verification to the access process. Sending the verification via SMS ensures the process is fast, efficient and direct to the appropriate individual.

How does it work?


SMS two-factor authentication uses an SMS platform through which the verification message is sent upon receiving a trigger. The trigger occurs when a user inputs their username and password combination, and selects ‘Send code via SMS’. By creating and utilising an automated workflow, the platform will push out a unique verification code to the corresponding mobile number and, once the correct code is inputted, the user is allowed access to the account.

Who uses it?


Any business or account that stores personal data and information about their customers behind a gated wall can, and should, use a form of two-factor authentication. Banks and other businesses in the finance industry have utilised the service to keep accounts safe from scammers for years, and the tool is becoming more prevalent across other platforms too. Email providers are employing SMS for one-time passwords for two-factor authentication and password replacement links, and social media accounts are increasingly adding SMS verification as an extra layer of security to combat data hackers. Insurance and accounting companies also use the service to keep their customer's sensitive data secure.

Benefits of SMS two-factor authentication


Customer satisfaction
- With a rise in security breaches and leaks, customers are choosing to work with companies that prioritise keeping their data secure.

Automation
- It’s easy to automate two-factor authentication with a dynamic SMS platform or API integration. Minimise the workload and let the platform do all of the heavy lifting with a quick and simple automated workflow.

Immediate delivery
- Delivery speed is one of the most important aspects when it comes to two-factor authentication. With premium enterprise tier routes available, the SMS is guaranteed to be delivered immediately, allowing for a seamless login process.

Convenience
- Other two-factor authentication systems require a physical token or internet access via an application on the user's side to allow delivery of the single-use code. SMS is ubiquitous and doesn’t require internet access, making it the perfect tool to reach anyone, anywhere.

Integration support
- With a premium SMS provider, integration specialists will set up and manage two-factor authentication to be triggered through the software, application or website, providing enterprise level support when necessary.

GDPR friendly
- As of 2018, the European Union’s privacy policy was updated to require companies to increase their data security. Adding an extra layer of privacy with two-factor authentication is a well-regarded component of security by the General Data Protection Regulation.


How to set up two-factor authentication with SMSGlobal

The simplest way to get started is to give SMSGlobal a call on 1300 883 400 or email info@smsglobal.com. The SMS specialists and integration team will get two-factor authentication via SMS set up in no time, ensuring a smooth transition to increased security.