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Silent Authentication: A More Secure and Frictionless Verify Experience

This article was published on January 26, 2024

In the current digital world, there’s an assumption that the more steps users are required to take during identity verification, the more secure they and the business must be. With cyberthreats and the potential for data breaches on the rise, it’s important that businesses shore up their security measures. But that doesn’t mean that authentication needs to be complicated or time-consuming for customers. In fact, creating friction during the first steps of the user journey can result in a poor customer experience — potentially causing customers to abandon sign-ups or transactions altogether. Enter Silent Authentication, a new verification method that offers authentication without requiring a password. Silent Authentication reduces friction for customers and, at the same time, can strengthen security against fake and fraudulent users.

Image of four mobile phone screens from left to right: One asking for a phone number, one showing gears as a process is completed, one displaying the word Verified with a checkmark, and then all the way to the right a hand holds the phone as the screen displays Welcome back

What is Silent Authentication?

Silent Authentication provides secure authentication without requiring users to input passwords or verification information, or memorize one-time passcodes (OTPs). Instead, users are automatically authenticated by their mobile network operators based on their smartphones’ data connection.

Silent Authentication is designed for any customer-facing business that needs to securely verify its customers or users during online account creation, account changes, password resets, or other important transactions. With a solution like Vonage Verify API V2, you can implement Silent Authentication measures for your business.

Authentication Reimagined

Silent Authentication can resolve the trade-off for businesses between a positive user experience and security. Because it doesn’t require customer input, Silent Authentication can reduce user authentication and activation time to a few seconds. This means less time for users to get distracted and abandon the process. In turn, that can increase conversations and encourage more time spent on a business’s app or platform.

Silent Authentication also addresses the security risks associated with SMS OTPs. Fraudsters can perform account takeovers through social engineering (phishing or proxy schemes) in order to intercept OTPs. Silent Authentication removes this risk because it doesn't rely on an OTP. It also protects businesses from becoming a victim of toll fraud and SMS Traffic Pumping, the most common form of attack on telecom networks.

Pros and Cons of Silent Authentication

As with any technology, Silent Authentication does have some limitations. It will only work for devices using a mobile data connection, and it cannot be used over Wi-Fi. If you’re looking for a way to ensure that users can still authenticate when a mobile data connection isn’t available, consider a verification solution that offers automatic failover. Authentication solutions like the Vonage Verify API can enable automatic failover to another authentication channel (such as SMS, voice, WhatsApp, or email). In the event that the Silent Authentication method isn’t available, the Verify API will roll over the authentication process to another channel and send the user an OTP.

Overall, the benefits of this new authentication method outweigh its limitations. Silent Authentication automatically weeds out fake users with no input required by genuine users themselves. It provides a passwordless, hassle-free way to sign up or sign back on to accounts. This reimagined and streamlined authentication experience protects businesses from fraudulent activity, while improving the overall customer journey.

Ready to get started with Silent Authentication and other verification methods? Explore the Vonage Verify API


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By Adam Weir Senior Manager, Product Marketing - APIs

Adam Weir is a senior product marketing manager for Vonage Communications APIs. He leverages his marketing expertise to develop strategies and promote key API solutions including Video, Verify, and Number Insight, along with Vonage Artificial Intelligence. Adam has broad marketing experience, working previously in the financial services, information technology, and staffing industries. He lives in the Orlando, FL area, where he enjoys the year-round sunshine by spending quality time with his family at the local beaches and theme parks.

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