A lot has been said about mobile phone applications and their benefits, but one platform that has often been ignored is the USSD. USSD stands for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data and is a standard used on all GSM networks to provide important services to mobile network subscribers. They have several key benefits when used for two factor authentication for mobile.
Adding Layers of Security
One of the key benefits with this system is the added layer of security it can provide. It has been used for mobile payments and to help complete bank transaction through a mobile device. In order to provide secure 2 factor authentication service a one time password is provided through this system.
The USSD works mainly through codes and is an instant service. The subscriber requests a service and it provides a response instantaneously. For 2FA applications a secure password that expires in 30 seconds is sent. In case the password is not entered on time, it becomes invalid. This works better with USSD than with SMS/Text due to the instantaneous nature of the former.
Works on All Platforms
Another unique benefit of USSD when used for secure 2 factor authentication service is that it is cross platform. It can work on virtually any phone whether a Smartphone or the most primitive of mobile phones in the market.
There is no need to install any new software and all that is required is for the subscriber to use an easy to remember 3 or 4 digit number. This means that it is user friendly and can be used with little or no instruction.
Fast and Inexpensive Deployment
USSD is also perfect for two factor authentication for mobile, particularly when the speed of deployment is an issue. This is the fastest and cost effective method, particularly if the speed with which users learn the new system is also put into consideration.