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The Mobile Connect authenticator allows you to authenticate a user using Mobile Connect through the WSO2 Identity Server.

Introduction

Privacy and security are the biggest factors to consider when aiming to achieve sustainable digital growth in your business or enterprise. In today's technology-driven world, the mobile device acts as a link between people, businesses, social media, etc. The mobile device is often the common factor that connects to the most number of users around the globe. Thus, there is a possibility of gaining a business advantage by having a mobile device as a sensible and secure way of authentication for people worldwide. This topic aims to explain how Mobile Connect and an identity and access management system can help achieve this.



What is Mobile Connect?

Mobile Connect is a mobile operator facilitated authentication solution that provides simple, secure, and convenient access to online services. It is the convenient alternative to passwords that protect customer privacy. This is a concept introduced by GSMA (GSM Association), which provides a global and secure authentication platform by combining the user's unique mobile number and PIN to verify and authenticate the user, anywhere at anytime. It also allows the user to log in swiftly without the need of any usernames or passwords.


How does Mobile Connect work?

Mobile Connect works differently from a technical perspective and from the perspective of a consumer.

Technical perspective

The sequence above depicts the flow of actions from a technical perspective, or the perspective of someone who is setting this up.

  1. Consumer requests for authentication using Mobile Connect.
  2. The application or Web service connects with the discovery service and finds the local mobile operator.
  3. The application or Web service asks the mobile operator to authenticate the user.
  4. The user is authenticated via the mobile and is able to access the services from the device.
Consumer perspective

The given sequence above depicts the Mobile Connect flow, from sign up/login to the complete authentication in just 4 steps. The authentication process is carried out through your mobile device rather than your personal device.

  1. Click on the Sign up or Log in button.
  2. Enter your mobile number (optional).
  3. Confirm your authentication via the mobile device (via USSD, SMS, etc.). This method varies depending on your mobile service provider.
  4. Log in process is complete.

Why would you use Mobile Connect?

The 21st century is a digital era where cyber attacks have become a critical problem and many organizations are still concerned with the security of their systems and products. Today, the security levels required for data and information has eliminated access to these resources unless there is proper registration with the resource provider. Therefore, it becomes mandatory for users to sign up with the system, which results in remembering numerous usernames and passwords. What if we had a simple and secure mechanism to carry out the authentication process without much hassle, in just seconds?

By reducing the need for remembering the number of usernames and passwords, Mobile Connect eliminates the frustration of the end user, drives more repeat business, and ensures less abandoned transactions. 

The following table highlights the advantage of using Mobile Connect for both service providers and consumers.

Service ProviderConsumer
Accelerate and ease verification and authentication to make it easier to interact with consumersUniversal log-in for multiple websites
Reduce friction to increase registration and engagementStrong security
Enable access to services that utilize the attributes of subscribers (regardless of their operator) to provide better and more secure servicesControl over personal data



How WSO2 Identity Server can be used with Mobile Connect

WSO2 Identity Server is an open source identity and access management product that can interact with Mobile Connect to achieve the following solutions.

Scenario 1: Federated authentication

You can configure your application with the Identity Server and Mobile Connect so that the authentication request is sent from your application to the Identity Server and then federated to Mobile Connect. Mobile Connect does the authentication and sends the response back to the Identity Server, which in turn sends the response back to the application and authenticates the user. The following diagram illustrates this scenario.

Configurations to be done

To make this scenario work, you must do the following.

  • Configure your application in Mobile Connect.
  • Configure your application as a service provider in the WSO2 Identity Server.
  • Mobile Connect is configured as an Identity Provider in the WSO2 Identity Server.
  • Federated authentication is enabled in the Identity Server.
Scenario 2: Multi-factor authentication

You can configure your application with the Identity Server and Mobile Connect so that multi-step authentication can take place. The user can log in to your application with their credentials (or any other form of basic authentication), and as a second factor, an authentication request is sent to Mobile Connect. Mobile Connect does the authentication and sends the response back to the Identity Server, which in turn sends the response back to the application and authenticates the user. The following diagram illustrates this scenario.

Configurations to be done

To make this scenario work, you must do the following.

  • Configure your application in Mobile Connect.
  • Configure your application as a service provider in the WSO2 Identity Server.
  • Mobile Connect is configured as an Identity Provider in the WSO2 Identity Server.
  • Multi-step authentication is configured in the Identity Server.

To get started with the authenticator, see Mobile Connect Federated Authenticator for WSO2 Identity Server. Once you have completed your configurations, you can perform authentication with the Mobile Connect authenticator.


Additional information

To download the authenticator and other artifacts, go to the WSO2 store location for this connector.

To watch a webinar on configuring an authentication flow with Mobile Connect and WSO2 Identity Server, click here.

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