one-time password (OTP)

A one-time password (OTP) is an automatically generated numeric or alphanumeric string of characters that will authenticate the user for a single transaction or session.

A one-time password (OTP) is an automatically generated numeric or alphanumeric string of characters that authenticates the user for a single transaction or session.

An OTP is more secure than a static password, especially a user-created password, which is typically weak. OTPs may replace authentication login information or may be used in addition to it, to add another layer of security. 

OTP tokens are usually pocket-size fobs with a small screen that displays a number. The number changes every 30 or 60 seconds, depending on how the token is configured. For two-factor authentication, the user enters his user ID, PIN and the OTP to access the system. 

OTP mobile apps are also available.

 

This was first published in September 2013

Next Steps

Multifactor authentication is especially important when it comes to protecting enterprise data. Knowing how to secure one-time password tokens to implement them in an MFA scenario will keep corporate data safe in the long-run. Understand how to distribute OTP to employees so that systems aren’t left open for attack.

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