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AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon reveal plan for new phone-number based app authentication

On Thursday the four major national U.S. carriers —AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon —revealed plans for a new authentication platform that could add an extra layer of security for people using apps on Apple's iPhone and other mobile devices.




The nameless technology will provide a "cryptographically verified phone number and profile data" for people using supported apps, the companies said in joint announcement. To achieve this, the platform will also rely on data such as how long a phone number has been held, its account type, IP address, and SIM card details.

"In addition, advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities will be used to help assess risk and protect customers," the announcement added, without elaborating on the point.

Developers will have to submit apps through a blockchain-based system. Internal trials of the technology are slated to start in the next few weeks, in preparation for launch later in 2018.

The platform is aimed at countering problems like fraud and identity theft. iPhone apps can sometimes use a hodge-podge of security measures, since apart from iCloud and on-device systems like Face ID, Touch ID, and passcodes, apps connect to external systems beyond Apple's control.