New iPhone App Reduces ID Theft by Unique Password

Dennis Faas's picture

With the Conficker worm spreading worldwide and social malware figures expected to quadruple in the near future, there is perhaps no greater time to maintain and protect your online identity than right now.

In response to these concerns, a new iPhone application is set to be released, hoping to make it virtually impossible for someone to infiltrate and steal your personal information.

The complex application will generate an additional password for most AOL, eBay and PayPal accounts. To access these protected accounts, users must now input their user ID, password and a six-digit number unique to their particular iPhone.

The application was developed by California-based VeriSign and is both optional and free to download for iPhone owners. VeriSign has been offering a similar identification service on a keychain-sized hardware device for about three years now.

Identity Protection Receives Mixed Views

VeriSign's keychain-sized gizmo has met with mixed reactions.

While people liked the idea of having an additional piece of security to protect their online assets, most were unwilling to shell out a couple extra bucks for a piece of hardware that had to be carried around at all times. In total, VeriSign distributed about 1 million of these security devices. (Source:

The company now hopes that repackaging the idea as an iPhone application will broaden its exposure. The simple logic is that most people carry their cellphones with them at all times anyways, so having the extra sense of security is a major bonus.

iPhone App Better Than Text Messages

This is not the first time VeriSign has experimented with cellphone-based passwords. The company has already developed a way to use text messages to authenticate Internet users. However, text messages are sometimes delayed and cannot be received in all geographic areas.

The new iPhone application eliminates any chance of failure. It generates a six-digit security code that changes every 30 seconds and creates a longer "credential ID" that is unique to that phone. (Source:

VeriSign is also planning to test similar applications for 40 more cellphones, including a few BlackBerry models.

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