PCI Question: One Time Passwords and Two Factor Authentication

Some of my secure online web sites have me request a one time password which can be sent as a text message to my phone, sent to an email account or heard via telephone robot.  Then to access the site in question you enter your name password and the one time password.  This appears to be a type of two factor authentication also.  It would seem superior to manage to a smart card in that smart cards break, get out of synch etc.  Everyone pretty much already owns a smart phone (or is afforded one from their company).  

From a PCI perspective would username, password plus this type of One Time Password count as two factor?
amigan_99Network EngineerAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

This is an accepted method of two-factor authentication, as it satisfies two of the three possible factors:

1. Something you know (password in this case)
2. Something you have (cell phone)
3. Something you are (typically biometric - not relevant in this case)

Interestingly, if you're using an iPhone 5s or other phone with fingerprint scanning, you're employing three-factor authentication, which significantly increases security.

What you describe satisfies two-factor authentication because it would require an attacker to compromise your password _and_ physically acquire your phone.  Note that the sending of a text is a critical component as it is device-dependent.  Sending an email with a password token would not be the same and wouldn't satisfy PCI requirements, since an email could be viewed from virtually any device.

Some may argue that this isn't a "pure" representation of "something you have" since a text message could technically be intercepted and is not independent of the 1st factor, but this method is in use fairly extensively and satisfies PCI requirements.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
amigan_99Network EngineerAuthor Commented:
Thank you!
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Network Security

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.