PayPal offers SMS security key for mobile users

Company bringing more security to mobile users, offering them the option of receiving a unique security code via text message prior to logging in to their accounts.

Online payment service PayPal announced Monday that it has added a new layer of security for mobile phone users. The PayPal SMS Security Key gives users the option of receiving a unique six-digit security code via text message prior to logging in to their accounts. According to the company, the SMS (Short Message Service) security key generates the code every 30 seconds. Members will be required to input the code along with their usernames and passwords to sign in to their accounts.

PayPal's chief information security officer, Michael Barrett, believes this form of two-factor authentication, in which you need both something you know (your account password), and something you have (in this case, your mobile phone) is the next logical step for the company as it tries desperately to protect users against online security threats. Barrett says PayPal is "committed" to protecting customer accounts and it only makes sense for the company to deliver that protection "to something most people don't leave home without--their mobile phones."

The PayPal SMS Security Key is available now to customers in the U.S., Australia, Austria, Canada, and Germany. PayPal doesn't charge for the delivery of security codes to a cell phone, but it did warn that standard text messaging rates will still apply on each message.

Related: You can get two-factor authentication for your OpenID log-in. See The password that calls you: CallVerifID .

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.


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