SMS OTP Authentication – Demystified

SMS OTP a secure way of Login for Apps

Currently, a lot of online web applications are asking users to add an extra layer of security for their account. They do it by enabling 2-factor authentication. There are various methods of implementing 2-factor authentication, and TOTP (the Time-based One-Time Password algorithm) authentication is one of them. 

The OTP sms is important and secure because An OTP is a password that is only valid for one login session, which means it is less vulnerable to replay attacks than a traditional password. OTPs are created within an app running on a user’s device—rather than sent via SMS message—so they are inherently more secure.

Related Article : Is TOTP Really Better Than SMS? – Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Requiring authentication of users at this critical moment via mobile phone verification is so effective at reducing suspicious activity The OTP feature prevents some forms of identity theft by making sure that a captured user name/password pair cannot be used a second time. Typically the user’s login name stays the same, and the one-time password changes with each login.OTPs are unique passwords that are only valid for a single login session for a defined period of time.

Why is it important to send otp while app login

One-time password (OTP) systems provide a mechanism for logging on to a network or service using a unique password that can only be used once, as the name suggests. The static password is the most common authentication method and the least secure. An OTP allows only the owner of that phone number to receive access to that particular password, which allows them to log in to the application and verify their identity with an OTP or PIN code. This automatically generated OTP is then made available to user through various transmission techniques at the time of downloading, resetting the password in application. The OTP based login feature limits the chances of data theft or password compromise

How OTP is helpful in resetting the login password

When a user logs in to an app or website from an unknown or alternative device (i.e. with a different IP address from the one registered in their profile) and requests a password reset, sending an OTP via SMS to verify the user’s identity can help reduce fraud and identity theft. When a user of an application or website attempts to sign in after a long period of inactivity, an OTP can help ensure once again that your user is genuine and not a hacker or spammer.

The purpose of an OTP is to prevent fraud by confirming that the person making the login in app is the same. To do so, a temporary code is automatically sent by SMS to the phone number associated with the person 

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Now the few question arises

  • Can I generate this One Time Password (OTP) before the transaction?                                                            No. The One Time Password (OTP) would be automatically & instantly sent on your mobile no. & e-mail id registered at the time of installation of app
  • Can I use one OTP for more than one transaction?
    No. Every 6 digit OTP is valid only for that particular transaction and cannot be used for any other transaction.
  • For how long is the OTP valid?
    Each OTP is valid for a few seconds or one successful usage whichever is earlier.

Why is OTP useful?     

The more permission an app requires, the more suspicious it looks. However sending OTP is very important to control fraud. As a consequence, apps featuring OTP interception for a malicious purpose do not appear as suspicious at first sight. The apps can read the OTPs generated via their own servers. … Apps are allowed to access the SMS messages which include a unique alphanumeric code (hash) to connect it to the app which has generated the OTP Once a given code expires it is useless; even with many codes and knowledge of when they were valid, it is approximately impossible to determine what the key that generated them might be.The OTP ensures a genuine association between the user and phone number and this is why it has quickly become a popular safety measure in securing safety and privacy of one’s account.

Once the app is set up, that key is never transmitted anywhere ever again; it becomes literally just “something you have” and not under anybody else’s control (prevents all the attacks common to SMS.

Conclusion

Two factor authentication is gaining popularity. A lot of web applications are implementing it for extra security.

Unlike the SMS-based method, the TOTP method does not require a lot of extra effort either. So this feature is worth implementing for any application.

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