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Phishing Attack Bypasses Two-Factor Authentication
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TextPower
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TextPower,
User Rank: Strategist
5/12/2018 | 10:29:41 AM
Received SMS will always be problematic
FULL DISCLOSURE: My company holds two patents on an SMS-based 2FA that eliminates this problem so this is NOT an unbiased or objective opinion.

The real problem here, as it always is with SMS-based 2FA where a message is sent to the user, is excatly that: that the message is sent TO the user.  

Text messages sent to phones are, by definition, both unencrypted and easy to intercept, as Mr. Mitnick has amply demonstrated. The answer to this problem is to reverse the process and have the user authenticate their login or identity by sending a message FROM their phone.  

Here's why this works: the U.S. short code system eliminates spoofing of phone numbers thanks to the carriers.  Cloning/spoofing/duplicating SIMs and IMEIs is a problem for carriers for a simple reason: the lose money when someone doesn't pay for another line.  They solved this problem long ago by implementing a barrier that has yet to be successfully hacked.  

This more secure approach reverses the process by having the user send a text from their device into an independent third-party server.  The server then makes a secure handshake with the web page where the authentication is occurring.  This completely eliminates the type of attack Mr. Mitnick successfully used (man-in-the-middle or man-in-the-browser) and confirms that the inbound SMS has come from the right number, registered IMEI and contains the right code.  I welcome Mr. Mitnick to test the system.  I will be happy to provide him with complete information about it and give him a test account.

Nothing is unhackable (although ours has not yet been successfully hacked) but we are confident that SnapID is substanially LESS hackable than any other SMS-based 2FA method on the market.  


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