Verizon, ATT, T-Mobile, Sprint team up (for mobile security)

Here’s something you probably weren’t expecting: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint have announced that they’re all joining forces. No, they aren’t coming together to summon some kind of 4G LTE demon that will end the world as we know it, but rather to work on a new mobile authentication solution. The new group they’ve formed is called the Mobile Authentication Taskforce, and while that name may be a bit silly, the group serves an important purpose.

As it stands, SMS is frequently used as the backbone of multi-factor authentication. While multi-factor authentication is certainly better than simply relying on a password to keep your accounts safe, SMS itself isn’t all that secure. Recognizing this, the Mobile Authentication Taskforce has tasked itself with changing that.

Since this group was just formed, we don’t really know what Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint will do to make mobile authentication more secure. We won’t know for at least a little while either, as the group said today that this new solution won’t roll out until sometime in 2018.

This pledge to improve mobile authentication couldn’t really come at a better time, with Equifax revealing yesterday it was the victim of a security breach that exposed the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans. With company after company seemingly announcing breaches just like this one, improved mobile authentication certainly can’t hurt when it comes to consumers keeping their information safe.

Though specific details are few and far between at this point, the group does say that this solution will work by “analyzing data and activity patterns on a mobile network to predict, with a high degree of certainty, whether the user is who they say they are.” Hopefully we get more details on this Mobile Authentication Taskforce soon, so stay tuned.

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