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Yahoo is rolling out a new, phone-centric login system today that eliminates the need for you to remember a password.
Once enabled, the new, “on-demand” passwords work like this: At the Yahoo login screen, you enter your username. Yahoo sends you an SMS message with a brand-new password. You enter that password on the Yahoo website, and you’re in.
It’s related to two-factor authentication, which requires two things in order to log in: a password and, usually, a special code sent to your phone or generated by an app. Except in Yahoo’s case, you only need one thing: Your phone. (Plus, of course, your username.)
So I suppose it would be fair to call this “one-factor” authentication. It may not be as secure as true two-factor logins, since all someone needs to break into your account is your phone plus knowledge of what your username is.
But it’s a heck of a lot easier than remembering a unique password or installing a new app in order to log in.
Note: Yahoo’s SMS messages only work with true mobile numbers, not VOIP numbers (such as Google Voice phone numbers).
I’m trying to test this, but the confirmation SMS hasn’t yet arrived. It’s only been about 10 minutes, so I’ll update this post later with the results of my tests.
Update, 12:30 p.m.: Confirmation text messages have been arriving slowly, delayed by 10-15 minutes or more. It’s not clear if that’s a problem with Yahoo, with my carrier, or with my phone. Regardless, it is preventing me from confirming my phone number to set up the service.
Read more about how to enable on-demand passwords on the Yahoo blog.
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