Telecoms offering smart authentication service

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Telecoms offering smart authentication service

The nation’s three mobile carriers, SK Telecom, KT and LG U+, jointly launched a new smart authentication service based on the universal subscriber identity module (USIM) yesterday to increase the security of subscribers’ personal information.

Normally, a digital certificate is used to make sure online transactions are secure.

However, issues have been raised over the certificates after a string of malware cyberattacks in recent years led to massive leaks of personal information from banks, government agencies and corporations.

Smart authentication, the next generation of mobile certificates, saves the authentication certificate to the USIM in a smartphone and creates electronic signatures.

The new process makes it impossible to replicate the authentication because the USIM and certificate are integrated as one.

The Korea Internet and Security Agency has named the USIM-based authentication method as its top choice for security.

In addition, smart authentication is easy to use for mobile banking.

However, the USIM authentication service can only be used in Android phones, so it is not available for iPhone users.

“It is because the service is only available on devices that provide near field communications [NFC] and iPhones that have been launched recently do not have NFC,” said a source in the telecommunications industry.

“The iPhone is a unique device so we cannot predict whether the USIM public authentication service will be available in the next model that is released.”

The USIM-based authentication service costs 9,900 won ($9.63) per month. Since it costs 4,400 won per year to issue a digital certificate for banking services, it remains to be seen whether the USIM system will be widely used.

BY Kim Jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]






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