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Community Blog Redefining Mobile Verification with Phone Number Verification Service

Redefining Mobile Verification with Phone Number Verification Service

Alibaba Cloud has launched the Phone Number Verification Service to redefine mobile number verification methods.

By the Innovative Service Team at Alibaba Cloud Communications

On December 12, 2018, Alibaba Cloud Communications announced the official launch of Phone Number Verification Service to redefine mobile number verification methods. Due to the real-name policy of mobile apps, mobile number verification is required in an increasing number of scenarios, such as app registration and logon.

However, few mobile number verification options are available for developers. The most common methods are SMS messages and voice verification codes. To meet the strong demand of mobile app developers for mobile number verification techniques, Alibaba Cloud Communications has launched the Phone Number Verification Service for app registration, logon, and security verification scenarios. This service features a high one-click registration conversion rate, a good password-free logon experience, enhanced security for SIM card verification, and one-point access for network-wide Phone Number Verification Service.

Advantage 1: A High One-Click Registration Conversion Rate

SMS verification codes are the most common mobile number verification method. From the user perspective, its process is as follows:

  1. Enter the mobile number.
  2. Click Obtain SMS Verification Code.
  3. Receive the SMS message that contains the verification code.
  4. Check the verification code contained in the SMS message.
  5. Return to the app and enter the verification code.
  6. The verification is completed successfully.

According to the preceding process, after the verification code is sent to your phone, you need to switch to the SMS interface and note the verification code. If the app is not properly designed, you may have to log on again after returning to the app. If you have forgotten the verification code, you have to return to the SMS interface and check the verification code again. For many users, the SMS verification method is inconvenient.

To resolve these app verification problems, Alibaba Cloud Communications has launched the Phone Number Verification Service. Unlike other common verification methods, Phone Number Verification Service adopts an imperceptible verification method that returns the verification result in just seconds. The verification process is simplified to the following steps:

  • Enter the mobile number.
  • The verification is completed successfully.

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Figure 1. Phone Number Verification Service registration process

The previous 9-step verification process is now simplified to a 2-step process. Therefore, the user registration conversion rate increases significantly. Tests show that the registration conversion rate increases by 10% to 15% (depending on the actual service scenario) compared to the SMS verification method.

Advantage 2: Password-Free Logon Experience

Apps are ubiquitous in our mobile Internet era. As a user of Internet apps, you may find it troublesome to remember the passwords of different apps. However, using the same password for all apps can lead to serious security problems. In addition, due to the requirement for third-party logon, you may also be asked to further bind your mobile number after logon, which is time-consuming and annoying.

Is it possible to create a secure verification method that does not require passwords? This is exactly what Phone Number Verification Service provides.

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Figure 2. Phone Number Verification Service logon process

Though this process seems a bit complicated at first, you simply need to submit a verification request, and all the further steps are automatically completed by Phone Number Verification Service. This eliminates a lot of inconvenience for users.

Test results show that when Phone Number Verification Service is used, the total logon duration is 13 to 19 seconds shorter than the conventional SMS verification method.

Advantage3: Enhanced Security for SIM Card Verification

This year, a new means of fraud known as "black magic" has everyone panicking. As a victim, you may wake up and find hundreds of transfer records flooding your phone from online shopping websites, mobile banks, or even lending websites. In addition, the Internet bonuses for attracting new users provided by app developers are soon exhausted, while few new users are actually drawn in.

These vulnerabilities are attributed to the use of the SMS verification method for high-security services, such as money transfers and bonus claiming. The SMS verification method does not require you to bind a SIM card with your mobile phone. However, separating the mobile phone from the SIM card leaves a backdoor for malicious users.

SMS verification codes has become the main verification method for Internet financial services and e-commerce transactions. Once the SMS verification code is intercepted, the last defense is breached.

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Figure 3. Phone Number Verification Service verification process

Phone Number Verification Service from Alibaba Cloud uses the unique SIM card integrated verification capability to provide imperceptible verification for high-security services. The entire verification process is conducted with the support of encrypted packets in the background, and no plaintext data is sent or received. In addition, this service can quickly check whether the SIM card with the mobile number used for service registration has been inserted in the phone that runs the app. Therefore, this method has quickly surpassed other verification methods, such as "SMS sniffer" and "remote verification code provided by the card pool".

Advantage4: One-Point Access for Network-Wide Phone Number Verification Service

As the upgrade of the previous SMS verification method, Phone Number Verification Service integrates the unique gateway authentication capabilities of the three carriers and makes it available to all Alibaba Cloud customers. Then, customers simply need to access the Alibaba Cloud platform to obtain Phone Number Verification Service that covers the entire network.

A demo of this service is already available on the official Alibaba Cloud website. With this service, it takes 3 seconds to enter the mobile number and less than 2 seconds to complete verification. That is, the entire verification process takes less than 5 seconds to complete.

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Summary

We expect that more and more Internet apps will use Phone Number Verification Service in the future, especially apps and services that impose rigorous security requirements. Phone Number Verification Service has already been used in many well-known apps, such as Alipay (for registration), Youku (to collect bonuses), zhipin.com, and tianyancha.com.

To a certain extent, Phone Number Verification Service is more sophisticated than the SMS verification method in the same way that Apple's Face ID mechanism is more robust than its previous Touch ID mechanism. In this context, enhanced security is the underlying requirement, improved convenience is the core driver to upgrade the user experience, and the imperceptible experience is a plus for users who are fond of the new and tired of the old.

With the end of the five-month open beta test of Phone Number Verification Service on December 12, 2018, Alibaba Cloud now officially provides this service to the public.

Note: This product is not yet available for customers from the international portal at the time of writing. You may access this product through the domestic portal.

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