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Microsoft To Buy Mobile Security Company PhoneFactor

Microsoft is acquiring PhoneFactor, a provider of mobile-based authentication solutions, the two companies announced on Thursday.

PhoneFactor provides two-factor authentication for mobile devices. Besides a username and password, PhoneFactor gives users three choices for authenticating their log-in:

  • a confirmation phone call made to the user's mobile phone
  • a text message with a passcode sent to the user
  • using PhoneFactor's mobile app, a push notification sent to the user when a log-in attempt is initiated

Microsoft is already using PhoneFactor's technology in Active Directory, Internet Information Services and Outlook Web Access. The company said it plans to integrate PhoneFactor's service across its whole product line.

"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 CEO Timothy Sutton commented that the acquisition is a positive for the small company, as it provides PhoneFactor the means to extend 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," Sutton wrote 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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