Bitcoin startup Airbitz has launched the “One-Touch 2-Factor Authentication for its mobile Bitcoin wallet for iPhone and Android devices.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) has become a key feature for enhanced security on the web and mobile devices. It involves the use of two or more different components to prove the identity of a user. The components used fall into three categories. The first has to be something that the user has in his possession. This could be in the form of a bank card, set of keys and the like. The second component could be in the form of something that the user knows. In this category, we include usernames, passwords and PINs. The third component has to do with what the user is. This could include fingerprints, iris scans and other such biometric features.
One of the areas in which 2FA has been used widely is in mobile application development. An app that has featured prominently in 2FA for mobile is Google Authenticator. Google Authenticator generates a different six-digit code every minute, which is then used to authenticate the login. This extra layer of security becomes all the more important in a case where an intruder gains access to the login credentials.
However for all its utility, there is a view that 2FA is tedious in view of the need to copy the 2FA code into the mobile app or website. It is this tediousness that Airbitz seeks to solve. The company has come up with the latest version of its mobile app that allows a user to enable 2FA at the tap of a button. The app does not remove the 2FA but makes the process much more hassle-free. This innovation may become the standard in 2FA in short order.
The 2FA links the device to the Airbitz account and prevents any other new devices from authenticating. A user can, however, add more devices. This can be done by scanning a QR code that is on the default device that enabled the 2FA. In the event of loss or theft of the original device, a user can have 2FA disabled. The request for disabling 2FA is done by logging into their Airbitz account on a different device. Disabling the 2FA comes with a seven-day waiting period. During this time, if someone else tries to log in, the Airbitz app would send notifications, so as to avoid the possibility of fraud.
Airbitz’s implementation of the One-Touch 2FA represents the next step in the development of multi-factor authentication. Its other unique feature is that does not require any email address, phone number or other personal information on the part of the user. The user is still in full control of their funds and can move them just like is the case with any other Bitcoin wallet.
Security will continue to be a key element in the Bitcoin ecosystem, especially in the light of recent high profile hacking into Bitcoin exchanges. Bitcoin companies will continue to spend big on securing digital assets. At individual level, focus may shift to creating security systems that are easy to use and intuitive in a way that takes into account human nature. Airbitz’s One-Touch 2FA points to what may become a standard feature in any Bitcoin wallet.