Next time you’re on your mobile and forget a password, wait for the email with the reset link, tap the eye icon to reveal the keyboard, retype the reset, get it wrong, do it right, and login again to order a takeaway, respond to a date chat, or book a gym class, remember it shouldn’t have to be this way.
Nor should you need SMS codes to interrupt a task, verify your account mid-flow, or wait for the countdown to refresh in an authenticator app.
These are familiar – and frustrating – account registration, login and verification experiences. And those in the security community know that passwords are insecure and SMS can be hijacked. Now tru.ID, the new mobile authentication platform, wants developers to reimagine, rethink and ultimately redesign verification.
How? The better solution to account experiences has been in our hands all along – it’s the mobile phone and the SIM card inside it. Mobile networks authenticate customers all the time to allow access to the network to make phone calls or use mobile data, so SIM-based verification offers a highly secure, and established form of identity verification. Up until now, SIM-based verification has only been available to mobile networks themselves, or to enterprise customers. tru.ID has taken a different approach and made it available to the people closest to the code – developers, with an API platform that connects to multiple operators at the same time.
The remote-first startup raised £3m in seed funding earlier in 2021 from early-stage investors Episode 1, MMC Ventures and NHN Ventures, and employs over 20 people across product engineering, sales and marketing. Founded by two serial entrepreneurs, Paul McGuire and Eric Nadalin, both with a substantial track record in mobile technologies, tru.ID counts Telefonica SA (known in the UK as O2), the Vodafone Group, Deutsche Telekom, amongst several other global carriers, as partners.
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So How Does tru.ID Work and How Would You Use It?
“Think of tru.ID as a connector”, explains Paul. “If an app wants to use the mobile phone numbers as a credential – be it as part of registration, or login, we look up the number, match it to the network, and ask – is this a valid subscriber? If the network replies ‘yes’, we return a positive response. All of this is possible because the network uses the SIM card, and passes the check result to tru.ID. There’s nothing more the user needs to do, it all happens seamlessly.”
The applications of such seamless checks are wide-ranging, much like the topic of digital identity itself, but we can assume that using tru.ID to replace SMS, magic links, social login and the like is a game changer.
And if any of this sounds like a privacy headache, McGuire wants to reassure app developers and security observers alike. “There’s no personally identifiable information exchanged between the network and the tru.ID platform. All we do is a lookup, and all we get sent is a response. We firmly believe in identity as being private, and that’s reflected in the technology we’ve built”.
tru.ID write extensively on the future of mobile identity, and anyone who wants to try out the tech, can register free on https://tru.id/signup. And next time an app logs you in without fuss using just your mobile number, it may well be that you won’t notice, thanks to tru.ID.
tru.ID (https://tru.id) is an API platform for verifying mobile identity. It is the simpler, stronger alternative to passwords, SMS codes, social logins, and other legacy 2-factor-authentication methods. tru.ID APIs connect directly to mobile carriers to verify real phone numbers and subscriber SIM status. tru.ID is live in 15 markets and covers over 3 billion mobile users.