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Microsoft Acquires Mobile Security Authentication Company

Microsoft has acquired PhoneFactor, a provider of mobile-based authentication solutions, according to announcements made by both companies.

PhoneFactor specializes in providing a two-factor authentication for phones. Once a username and password is entered a user has three choices for authenticating the login: a confirmation phone call will be made to the user's mobile phone to complete the login process and a user can confirm by pressing the pound (#) key; a text message will be sent to the user with a passcode; or, using PhoneFactor's mobile app, a push notification will be sent to the user when a login attempt is initiated.

Microsoft said that it plans to expand integration of PhoneFactor's service across its whole product line. PhoneFactor's technology is already being used in Active Directory, Internet Information Services and Outlook Web Access.

"The acquisition of PhoneFactor will help Microsoft bring effective and easy-to-use multifactor authentication to our cloud services and on-premises applications," said Bharat Shah, corporate vice president, Server and Tools Division for Microsoft. "In addition, PhoneFactor's solutions will help Microsoft customers, partners and developers enhance the security of almost any authentication scenario."

Current PhoneFactor customers will not see a change in their services, and new customers can still purchase the company's authentication services directly from them, according to a company FAQ.

PhoneFactor's CEO Timothy Sutton commented that the acquisition can be seen as a positive for the small company, as it provides the means to branch out its services to a wider audience.

"With Microsoft's product breadth and distribution reach, it will be possible to bring the benefits of PhoneFactor to a broader set of customers, partners and developers than we could as a stand-alone company," wrote Sutton in a blog post. "And as part of Microsoft, we will work to improve the interoperability and ease of use of our solutions  --  but more to come on that in the future."

Specific details of the acquisition have not been disclosed by either company.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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