What Is One Time Password (OTP) & How Does It Work?

One Time Password

One Time Password (OTP) is a set of alphanumeric and numeric characters generated randomly and used to verify a single session or transaction. An OTP is better than a password made by the user because a user-made password is more likely to be stolen and used on multiple accounts. One-time passwords (OTPs) can either be used instead of traditional login information or in addition to it to make things safer.

How Does One Time Password Work?

OTP-based authentication solutions rely on shared secrets between the user’s app and the authentication server. The OTP values are timestamped for further safety to the minute or seconds. A user’s one-time password can be sent through SMS, email, or a specialized program installed on the endpoint. Security experts have been worried for a long time that 2FA systems which use one-time passwords are vulnerable to spoofing and man-in-the-middle attacks.

But the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has said it would discourage the use of SMS for two-factor authentication (2FA) and one-time passwords (OTP) because the method is vulnerable to attacks that could compromise such credentials. So, organizations considering OTPs should look into other ways to distribute them besides SMS.

In What Ways Are OTPs Helpful?

Having defined OTPs, we can discuss their security benefits for enterprises.

Tolerance to repeated attacks

Traditional password-based authentication isn’t as good as one-time password authentication in several ways. With OTPs, hackers can’t use replay attacks, in which they record a user sending information (like their password) and then use it to get into a system or account. The code is no longer helpful when a user successfully logs in with an OTP. It can’t be used to get into the bill anymore.

Not easy to guess

OTPs are often made by algorithms that use randomness. If attackers try to guess and use them, it will be harder for them to do so. One-time passwords (OTPs) can have a time limit, ask the user to remember a previous OTP, or challenge the user. These methods make it much harder to break into a system than just using a password.

Lower potential harm from stolen passwords

Users who don’t use strong security measures often use the same password for multiple accounts. When users’ credentials get out, they risk having their data stolen or being a victim of fraud. Even if an attacker has the correct login information, using one-time passwords (OTPs) helps keep access safe.

Easy to adapt

Organizations can add one-time passcodes to their authentication processes quickly and without much trouble. People may find it hard to learn and remember these codes because they are complicated. Still, security staff can easily use phones, credentials, and other standard technologies to make them work.

Wrapping Up

An OTP is a type of two-factor authentication that can help your business avoid the potentially disastrous effects of fraud and stay one step ahead of cybercriminals.

Imagine that the user must give his username and password and something he “owns” to complete the login. In that case, the chance of fraud goes down by a lot. The user’s phone could be this “something.” There are many kinds of one-time passwords, but they all work to make things safer.

By Vishal Negal

Meet Vishal Negal, a digital marketer and tech enthusiast with over 8 years of experience. Specializing in creating comprehensive how-to guides, in-depth reviews, and engaging tech-related content.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *