Bluetooth SIG and FIDO Alliance deliver two-factor authentication via Bluetooth Smart

Errett Kroeter

The Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance, the non-profit organisation focused on changing the nature of online authentication, entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) to use Bluetooth Smart as an alternative  to using a USB dongle in Universal Second Factor (U2F) authentication. The goal of the MOU is to contribute to  specifications for FIDO U2F over Bluetooth Smart to extend the reach of FIDO U2F from the desktop to the mobile device.

Mobile devices carry a full range of personal information and are being outfitted with simpler, stronger local device authentication. Currently, options to secure or “lock” mobile devices are a PIN, a gesture, or biometric authentication. The FIDO Alliance and Bluetooth SIG MOU looks to use the local device for online authentication, adding full FIDO U2F security to any over-the-air connection.

“There are more than eight billion Bluetooth enabled devices in use today around the globe and more than 10 billion are projected to ship in the next three years. This near-universal presence and the strong security built into Bluetooth Smart make the technology a natural choice for this innovative approach to multi-factor authentication,” said Errett Kroeter, senior director of marketing at the Bluetooth SIG. “We envision partnering with FIDO Alliance through this MOU will help provide the industry with a simple, yet powerful alternative for multi-factor authentication that is available to practically everyone.”

“The FIDO Alliance is focused on developing unencumbered specifications to offer secure, private authentication that removes our reliance on passwords, which are cumbersome,  inefficient, and vulnerable to many forms of scalable attack,” said Brett McDowell, executive director, FIDO Alliance. “Standards produced by Bluetooth SIG  are  uniquely suited to extend the current reach of FIDO U2F security from the desktop to the increasingly ubiquitous mobile device.”

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