NISTHoly acronyms Batman!  What the heck does this headline mean?  Well, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has removed two-factor authentication (TFA) via short-messaging service (SMS) from the approved list of two-factor authentication methods.  The reason is that SMS is an unencrypted service, and the lack of encryption makes it too insecure for use in Federal authentication systems.  NIST is recommending that all companies consider other alternatives, too.

Those alternatives are:

  • RSA Key
  • YubiKey
  • Smartphone apps such as Google Authenticator or Authy.

The ink barely dried on my previous post when I was alerted to the impending demise of SMS based two-factor authentication. I accept the point, but in the interim, SMS two-factor is better than no two-factor so I am taking this with a grain or two of salt, and still recommending to my clients that they do whatever works for them to implement TFA that is acceptable to their user groups.

More information:


About the Author:

I am a cybersecurity and IT instructor, cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. I am an owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, I also conduct security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. I also teach Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. I work as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. I have worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments I am a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at

Add a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.