California-based digital security firm VeriSign has launched a free application on the Apple App store that turns an iPhone into a one-time-password generator for accessing online accounts.
While I am a vocal supporter of the idea to use mobile phones to strengthen security in transactions, I am not persuaded that an application for a single phone is ideal for the purpose.
Without questioning the dubious long term viability of such a solution in the face of hackers, I feel that an approach which would ultimately require participants to cater for a vast array of individual phone applications and the vast potential support issues
is not in the interests of financial institutions.
I also notice that it doesn't quite make the process exactly easier for the customer. PINs logons and OTP's is a lot of hoo haa. Better you than me.
One Time Password are definitely a step we can't avoid in fighting against online fraud. Static password do have this bad habit of being re-usable.
Using a phone app is not a bad idea, now that almost everyone has a phone (at least those who do online banking).
BUT simply adding the OTP layer to the classical user login/password, moreover in the same login page, DOES NOT PROTECT from Man in the middle, Phishing and certainly not against one of the most advanced hacking attacks that is Man in the browser.
I strongly believe in other types of architecture in order to exchange sensitive data or to ensure a secure connection.
The "2 entities" connection has reached its limits.
Being a hacker in nowadays is like being a fisherman in an sea with no water, all targets are apparent and easy to catch.
User are not security experts, and even when they do know a little bit about security, hackers surely do know more.
It is time to think like hackers in order to protect end-users from them.
Advanced architecture in the way data are exchanged is the answer. And more than 2 entities have to be involved.
© Finextra Research 2013