Monthly Archives: July 2016


NIST: Time for SMS OTP Tokens to “RIP”

SMS OTP to be dropped from standards

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce and one of the nation’s oldest physical science laboratories.

An upcoming pair of “special publications” from NIST know as its official communiques have updated its recommendations for a host of authentication and security issues, and the documents are up for “public preview”. In its publication up for review, NIST active discourages using SMS as an “out of band authenticator” — essentially, a method for delivering a one-time use code for 2FA.

… If the out of band verification is to be made using a SMS message on a public mobile telephone network, the verifier SHALL verify that the pre-registered telephone number being used is actually associated with a mobile network and not with a VoIP (or other software-based) service. It then sends the SMS message to the pre-registered telephone number. Changing the pre-registered telephone number SHALL NOT be possible without two-factor authentication at the time of the change. OOB using SMS is deprecated, and will no longer be allowed in future releases of this guidance…

NIST recommends the use of alternative dedicated 2FA mobile apps. It adds that there are plenty of options — SMS was just the easy one!

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Initially, the information appeared in an article at TechCrunch.