Phone Number Reputation (“PhoneID Score”) Being Created Based on Two-Factor Authentication

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It’s time to worry about your phone number reputation and mobile identity. The company that provides two-factor authentication for the users of sites such as Google and Facebook has been quietly amassing the phone numbers of those users, and is now assigning a phone number reputation, which it calls a PhoneID Score – or your Mobile Identity – to all of those phone numbers being used for two-factor authentication and, it seems, any other phone numbers the data for which they have access.

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Says Telesign of their new PhoneID Score system, “PhoneID Score combines proven predictive data from multiple sources, including telecom data, traffic patterns, and reported fraud to assess the risk level of a phone number. The product provides a reputation score, ranging from 0 to 1000, a risk level, and a recommendation based on a user’s phone number.

“The tide turned when Google started offering two-factor in 2010. When free email providers started doing two-factor, a lot of people asked why their financial services weren’t doing the same thing,” says Steve Jillings, CEO of Telesign.

As Telesign explains on their site, “Every user’s phone number serves as a unique online identity – their Mobile Identity. We use a phone number to assess the risk of a mobile identity provided at account registration or during a transaction. From the phone type to subscriber status and activity, the combined data gives us the ability to accurately predict fraud based on just a phone number.”

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So how does it work? According to a statement released by Telesign, “Companies simply send a user’s phone number to TeleSign via its REST API to receive a real-time score, risk level and a recommendation.”

“We each have a unique mobile identity tied to our phone number that is linked to a wealth of information, from where we live to our online activities,” they go on to say.

The PhoneID scoring is such that the lower the number the better. With ranges of 0 to 1000, a 1000 would correlate to a throw-away phone used only for nefarious activities. The company says that any score below a 200 would suggest that the inquiring company should “roll out the red carpet for you.”

Concludes Jillings, “The current user name/password system is broken. Eventually the mobile phone as authenticator of identity will be everywhere, because it’s immediately verifiable. You’ll have to provide your phone number for every site.”

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3 thoughts on “Phone Number Reputation (“PhoneID Score”) Being Created Based on Two-Factor Authentication

  1. I must say I agree with Hal.
    Our privacy is going down the drain, and one of Google’s Gurus is apparently in favour of that. He said so on the net. He considers privacy a blip, an anachronism. Bully for him. Well, of course: More profits. Big Brother is Watching. And by that, I do not mean those amateurs at the NSA.

    The beauty of cell spam, is that all the cell companies want it: More revenue for them. And with a cell both the sender and the recipient get to pay. Double the money, double the fun. But it is your pockets they have their hands in, people! Wake up! One wonders how much junk inundation there will be before the people have had enough.

    So somebody thinks they can decide who I am, and what I want and how they can market to me and coerce me into buying something from them based on my home phone of cell phone! HAH! Are they in for a surprise…. Do they not know that humans are unpredictable by definition? oh, the law of large numbers still exists. But a large number is not an individual.

    1. The land line (needed for 911, and the fact that if you call a company, or a govt office, you are on annoy for hours, etc) calls only a few certain numbers out 99% of the time. As for incoming calls, all calls except those from those few previously noted numbers, are ignored. What they will learn there, is zero. And I do not think our Privacy commissioner would be too thrilled about my outgoing calls being tracked.

    2. The cell is a regular cell, not a smart phone. It is OFF 99% of the time. I got it, so that when I needed to reach out, I could. At any rate, in Ontario, it is illegal to drive while using one, a very good law. (And I am usually the driver.)
    I think I have had 6 incoming calls on my cell in 12 years. And all from 1 or 2 numbers. They will learn little there. I do not want them to learn ANYTHING.
    There used to be a little thing on my cell, that looked like a mailbox. I never figured out how to get messages out of it. (I know lighting candles and pentagrams were involved.) I was at Rogers once, and they told me about it. I didn’t need a university course to figure out it was spam. I told them to turn off that feature on my account, permanently. They did. Anyone who wants to talk to me, can call at home. If we are friends, I will enjoy hearing your voice. As for messages, I have real mail and email. The emails I tend to get, are all from real people that I know. (And so are welcome.) And the junk mail filters are very good.

    Marketers, too bad. I am 57, I tend to be Spartan in my needs. I tend to know what I want. And I know where to get it. If you make something good, I will find it. If you are so desperate to sell you must prostitute yourself, then the answer is simple: Your product is of limited use, and/or not that good. Else, I would have acted on my own. I have no need to be told that milk exists. A newborn already knows that. And most of us know about eggs, cheese or bread. Advertising and commercials for such, are not needed.

    As for products and services, well, one tends to know when one needs something. If you need to be told you need something, then you are letting someone else do your thinking for you. Is this prudent? I think not.

  2. Did anyone think phone numbers would be used ONLY for Two-Factor Authentication? I get more than enough phone spam on my landline.
    “…You’ll have to provide your phone number for every site.”

    When sites require my cell phone I quit them. Besides, hard as it may be to fathom, what if I don’t have a cell phone?

    BTW, Nice upgrade to your site. Looks great!

  3. Can’t find the G+ button. Only the thingies for facebook and twitter.
    And no, you have to solve the human test EACH time you post. Not just the first time!

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