Online fraud has been an issue since the internet went public. The amount of money lost to online-based scams has steadily increased over the years and frequently sets new records. However, the previous records would be shattered in 2021 when more than $5.8 billion was stolen online. The total amount represented an increase of over 70% from the previous year.
Clearly, the issue of online security is a major issue that affects millions of Americans every year. While the issue has been very easy to identify, the solution has been particularly elusive. Over the years, the government has attempted to step in by passing various laws and bills. However, these attempts have largely been ineffectual as cyber criminals seem to stay one step ahead of them.
As a result, the responsibilities of maintaining cyber security have largely fallen into the hands of tech companies. The exact methods for each company are different, but there are a few similar tactics. For example, companies now prefer to use SMS verification to help protect the personal data of their users.
What Is SMS Verification?
SMS verification is a form of two-factor authentication that’s used to help double-check the identity of a user. The idea is that adding an extra step to the login process will make it harder for scammers to access your account.
Generally, the extra step appears to be effective at limiting outside access to accounts. However, there are still a few issues that we’ll dive into a little later on.
How Does SMS Verification Work?
The way that SMS verification works is relatively simple. You’ll be required to enter a phone number you have access to whenever you create your account. Whenever you do, you’ll be sent an SMS message with a code that you’ll need to enter within a certain amount of time. The verification code will verify your phone number and link it to your account.
In most cases, SMS verification is only triggered when you use a device to access your account that’s different from your normal one. You’ll enter your username and password the same way, but the app will require the SMS verification code it sends.
The purpose is to prevent someone else from accessing your account. Without SMS verification, anyone with your username and password can gain entry into your account.
What Are the Pros of SMS Verification?
You can probably imagine most of the pros that come from using SMS verification. There are several reasons why it’s so popular in the tech community right now.
These are the three main pros that come with using SMS verification:
- Enhanced Security
- Simple and Familiar to Customers
The most obvious benefit of using SMS verification is that it provides enhanced security for users. You would be surprised how easy it is for hackers to get ahold of your username and password.
Without SMS verification, that’s all that they would need to access your account. The first step after that is usually to change the password, which will lock you out of it. Once they do that, you’ll be at their mercy, and everything inside your account will be in their hands.
The software necessary for maintaining cyber security can get expensive in a hurry. If you’re using anti-virus software for your laptop or computer (you should be), then you know how pricey it can be.
SMS verification is much cheaper than these options as it’s an extremely simple technology. Companies can use this security feature without increasing their costs which means their users don’t have to pay more for the service. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Simple and Familiar to Customers
Account security doesn’t get any more simple than creating a temporary code that’s used for verification. All that you have to do is open the text message and enter the code that it’s inside.
If there’s a two-factor authentication that’s more simple than that, it hasn’t been implemented yet. SMS verification has become a standard operating procedure, so you shouldn’t have trouble after you’ve done it a few times.
What Are the Cons of SMS Verification?
Unfortunately, SMS verification isn’t a perfect system. There are a few issues that can be directly linked to the security measure. For example, several scams that use SMS verification as bait have been deployed. In an ironic twist, the thing that’s designed to protect your information might be the thing that comprises it.
Additionally, there are a few other issues as well:
- Lost Devices Can Cause Issues
- Synced Devices Create Vulnerability
We shouldn’t put too much blame on online services and social networks — yes, even in the days of telegrams and horse-drawn carriages, scams still were around. However, it was a lot harder for scams to work across continents and different countries.
Technology simply made it easier for scams, but SMS verification services can help…or hurt. But, like way back when — we can protect ourselves.
Find out how below:
Lost Devices Can Cause Issues
Remember that SMS verification isn’t required every single time that you log into your account. It’s only triggered when your account is accessed by an unfamiliar device.
While that makes logging in more convenient for you, it also makes the consequences of losing your device more severe. A thief could easily log into your accounts from your stolen device, and SMS verification would be powerless to stop them. This is especially true if the username and passcode are stored on your device.
Synced Devices Create Vulnerability
Syncing two or more devices is an easy way to transfer information between them.
Unfortunately, it’s also an easy way for hackers to steal said information. SMS verification is only effective when unfamiliar devices are being used to access your account. Having a ton of “remembered” devices kind of defeats the entire purpose of the feature.
It’s easiest to think of as creating multiple sets of keys for your home. The more keys out there, the more likely they can fall into the wrong hands.
Secondary Phone Numbers Can Solve SMS Verification Problems
The good news is that you can help to eliminate most of these issues by using a second phone number. A second mobile number is perfect for verification because there’s no personal information attached to them.
The process of SMS verification would be exactly the same. You would trigger the code whenever you attempt to access your account from a different device. The only difference is it would arrive in your second number app instead of your messaging app.
New Phone Numbers With One Click
SMS verification is here to stay. Chances are that you’ve already had to use it for several of your online accounts already, be it Uber, PayPal, WhatsApp, or more.
It’s practically a guarantee that you’ll need to set it up for any new accounts that you create in the future. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use it to protect your account, but it’s a good thing to have in place, just in case.
SMS verification is one way to try to keep your accounts safe. We’re here to tell you about another.
The Burner app can help protect your personal data. With Burner, you can create a second phone number to use for personal or professional reasons. Whether you need an area code for another city or simply don’t want hackers to find any information attached, a disposable phone number is a must. Sometimes, there’s just too much at stake by using your personal phone number.
Downloading the Burner app will allow you to choose a temporary phone number that can be used for a variety of privacy purposes. However, while it might not be able to help with every SMS verification you need, Burner is an essential part of a digital security fortress you can build yourself.
Visit Burner today to learn more about how it works and take a look and the plans and pricing. Plus, you can see how easy it is to make phone calls and texts anonymously too.
You can start your free seven-day trial and see what it’s like to have a second number.
How Easy Is It for a Hacker To Crack Your Password? | Infosec Resources
What Is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)? How It Works and Example | Investopedia
To Fight Cyber Attacks, Tech Companies Are Banding Together | Pop Sci
9-48.000 - Computer Fraud and Abuse Act | JM | Department of Justice
New Data Shows FTC Received 2.8 Million Fraud Reports from Consumers in 2021 | FTC