What Is SMS OTP verification?

Maïwenn Marchand
13 Apr, 2021

Security is a very important topic, especially when you process sensitive information within your company. Cybercrime is very common these days. That’s why using SMS OTP (one-time-password) verification could be a good option. One-time passwords allow for increased security within a company. Whether it’s to protect your customers or employees, for internal or external data protection, one-time passwords via SMS are a safe bet.

What is SMS OTP verification?

What is a one-time password and why is it safe?

An SMS OTP is an additional security layer. It is a secure authorisation method where a numerical code is sent to a mobile phone number. It is used to verify the identity of a user when logging in online or confirming an action for example. One-time passwords prevent identity theft by ensuring that a username/password pair cannot be used twice. By using SMS OTP verification, identity theft and email address hacking can be avoided.

We all heard stories such as the LinkedIn leak. In 2016, we learned that over 164 million passwords were exposed back in 2012. The breach was discovered only 4 years after they were hacked when it went on sale on the dark web. This makes you think about your computer security measures. With SMS OTP verification, you can secure access to any online tool.

Strong passwords: what are common rules to set them?

The most known computer security tip to secure access to a network such as your intranet or a platform is with a username and a password. You probably have set basic rules for password creation for your company, such as the password must be at least 8 characters long and include uppercase, lowercase and special characters. If you have done this, you are in a good way. Yet, you might want to continue reading to understand the flaws of this type of passwords and how to improve its strength.

Longer passwords are better for computer security

Did you know that length is more important than complexity for passwords? Long passwords are more difficult to hack than complex passwords. Why? Let’s see this with two of the most common attacks on passwords: brute force attacks and dictionary attacks.

When doing a brute force attack, the hacker will simply test passwords randomly with a tool that they created to test as many possibilities as possible. A longer password means that the tool needs to try out way more possibilities before finding the one you have chosen. It’s simple math. The dictionary attack consists of testing all commonly used passwords, hoping that one will match your username. Longer passwords are less commonly used and the risk that they might be in one of the dictionaries is much lower.

Use unique passwords and change them frequently

Most users tend to use the same password on multiple websites to remember them more easily. This means that some of your co-workers probably use their professional passwords for their social media accounts, their e-mail inbox and so on. So, if the password is leaked from another website with less computer security than yours, the hacker that finds it will have access to the entire user’s online identity. This is an open door to log into other sites the user has an account on, including yours. To avoid the leaking of passwords, you should make users change them at least once every 3 months. If the access the password provides contains very sensitive information, this should be even more frequently. Using one-time password services could be an effective solution.

If you change your password regularly, it prevents hackers from having access to all your data. This also means that you should set restrictions for re-using the same passwords within your company, otherwise the user might re-use a previously hacked password, giving the hacker access again. But, even with a very strong password that is changed regularly, a hacker might find out a password. So, how do you implement computer security rules that protect your sensitive data?

Use SMS OTP verification & multi-factor authentication for extra security

If you process sensitive data, adding an extra computer security layer might be something for you. With an SMS OTP service, you validate a user’s identity without going through the internet. This allows you to make sure the user is who he says he is. Since everyone has a smartphone today, the mobile network is the easiest to use for computer security.

One-time password (OTP) for better computer security

As its name explains, a one-time password is a password that can be used only once to log into a system. They are either generated by a device that the user owns or are sent by SMS to the user when he tries to log in. The user then enters the received password on the website. This quick and efficient system allows you to make sure the user is authenticated.

As you may imagine, hackers could also try to enter into the one-time password system and try to figure out the next passwords that will be used. Therefore, it is important to apply several security measures when generating passwords. First of all, the one-time password needs to be generated randomly. This will avoid hackers guessing the next password that will be generated by the system based on logic.

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Also, as the passwords will be used only once, it is important to limit their validity in time. That way, the password cannot be used after its validity has expired if it has been hacked. Finally, do not store the one-time passwords anywhere: the password server can also be hacked, making the extra security layer useless.

RingRing provides a full one-time password solution to its customers. The one-time password is sent directly to the user, without being sent to the company itself. That way, if the company’s authentication server is compromised, the passwords will not be, since they are not stored on the same servers. This reduces the risk of someone external having access to your data tremendously.

Multi-factor authentication for the best possible security

Improving computer security by using the mobile network is a good way of avoiding issues during authentication. But, what if the phone of a user gets physically stolen? The data could still be compromised. So, to avoid this situation, the best solution is to implement multi-factor authentication.

Multi-factor authentication is based on multiple verifications of the user’s identity. The basic rule is to verify something that only the user knows and something that he owns. So, you could implement rules to have every user having a strong password such as explained before and combine that with a one-time password. That way, you verify something the user knows (his password) and something that he owns (his smartphone). Indeed, to be able to access the data, the hacker needs to have access to the physical advice of the user AND know his password. This becomes almost impossible to do and the hacker will most probably move to a less secured website.

If you also, you want to secure your business and test multiple authentication or one-time passwords, don’t hesitate to test our platform!

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