Apple has received help with SMS one-time passwords from an unexpected source: a Google engineer.
The project in question is an effort to standardize the formatting of SMS messages that are used in two-factor authentication by applications, websites and more. As AppleInsider reports, “first proposed by Apple WebKit engineers and backed by Google in January, the initiative seeks to simplify the OTP SMS mechanism commonly used by websites, businesses and other entities to confirm login credentials as part of two-step authentication systems.”
As the project’s GitHub page points out, “Many websites deliver one-time codes over SMS.
“Without a standard format for such messages, programmatic extraction of codes from them has to rely on heuristics, which are often unreliable and error-prone. Additionally, without a mechanism for associating such codes with specific websites, users might be tricked into providing the code to malicious sites.”
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The GitHub page lists Theresa O’Connor of Apple and Sam Goto of Google as the authors. While the two companies directly compete with one another on many fronts, their largest point of competition is the smartphone market, where iOS and Android dominate. Apple and Google working together to standardize something that impacts all users, regardless of their smartphone of choice, is good for everyone involved.