Sep 11th, 2017

With how much of our lives are conducted online, the current implementation of 2-factor authentication for our digital lives is pretty chaotic. Some sites only support SMS login, while others will allow you to link your account to an app, like Google Authenticator or Authy.

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile all recognize that getting codes through SMS is a painful process and not the most intuitive when better solutions exist. That’s why they’ve announced that they’re joining together create the Mobile Authentication Taskforce, which will develop a mobile authentication solution to be deployed by 2018.

Essentially, the Big Four say that because they’re working together, they can create a 2-factor authentication service that can be even more tailored to individuals by using things like network-based device authentication, geo-location, and SIM card recognition.

The press release says all four companies will contribute resources toward the effort to help reduce fraud and identity theft and increase trust in online transactions. They say that their solution will analyze data and activity patterns on a mobile network to predict whether people are who they say they are.

It might be surprising to see all four networks banding together to tackle the mobile auth problem, but the press release says “providing customers with an effortless, safe experience is in the best interest of the public and the industry.” It’ll be interesting to see if this effort to create a 2-factor authentication standard ends up like carriers and their attempts to create a mobile payment standard.

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