SMS 2FA: What is Text Message Authentication

A graphic with text overlays that read SMS 2FA: What is Text Message Authentication.

Technological developments usher in a new era of innovative security measures that transform business operations. However, as technology and data security measures advance, so do cyber threats. 

With digital hacking methods becoming increasingly sophisticated, cybercrime incidents are also rising. Recent statistics show that 60% of cyber attacks happen via mobile phones, deviating from the typical computer and laptop modus operandi. 

Fortunately, security options such as SMS 2FA or text message authentication allow your business to add another layer of safety for your clients. Read below to learn what SMS 2FA is and how it can enhance data security measures.

An infographic guide on SMS 2FA

What is SMS 2FA? 

SMS 2FA, or short message service two-factor authentication, is a cybersecurity mechanism that generates a one-time code to verify a user’s identity during login or sensitive transactions.

In a world where cyber threats are ever-present, incorporating this authentication measure is an excellent tool to safeguard your users’ data online.

To understand SMS 2FA further, you must know how it works.

How SMS 2FA Works 

This authentication method implements an extra layer of security to beef up the traditional username and password login process. Here’s a step-by-step process of how it works. 


  • The SMS 2FA method begins upon entering a username and password during login in an online platform.
  • After this initial step, the server will generate a unique one-time verification code (OTP).
  • The code goes directly to the user’s mobile phone as a text message.
  • Next, the message will instruct the recipient to enter the code into the login page for identity confirmation.
  • If the code matches the one generated on the server, the person requesting account access will receive the authorization. Otherwise, the system will deny the request.


Two-Factor Authentication vs. Two-Step Authentication

People often use the terms two-factor authentication and two-step authentication interchangeably. However, there are subtle differences that you must know to help you choose the suitable method for your authentication needs.

Firstly, a 2FA method requires two authentication factors to access an account. For SMS 2FA, the elements are typically information known only to users⎯such as the password⎯and “something they have,” like the mobile phone containing the verification code.

Conversely, the two-step authentication method can involve two factors of the same type. For instance, entering a password will prompt an email with a verification link sent to the user’s inbox.

While it adds an extra step for security since only the user knows these details, it may not incorporate the something-you-have aspect of a 2FA.

Additionally, knowing a user’s password is insufficient in the SMS 2FA method. Anyone attempting to access the user’s account will still need access to the mobile phone with the unique code.

The technique adds a safeguard powerful enough to deter unauthorized access, making it a valuable tool for protecting sensitive business data.

5 Benefits and Drawbacks of SMS 2FA

An SMS 2FA is a versatile cybersecurity tool. It offers several advantages to users, but it’s not without its drawbacks. You must be aware of its limitations and take steps to mitigate potential risks so your business can fully reap the benefits of this authentication method.

The Benefits of SMS 2FA

1. Cost-effective

Often, hardware tokens and biometric systems can be expensive to implement. Luckily, SMS 2FA is remarkably more cost-effective than other authentication methods.

It utilizes the infrastructure of mobile networks and the commonality of mobile phones, making it an affordable choice for your business.

2. User convenience

For most people, having a mobile phone is necessary. So, there’s typically no need for additional hardware or complex setups. You can send verification codes directly to your customers’ mobile devices, simplifying the authentication process.

3. Regulatory compliance

Many industries have stringent security standards, especially in the finance and healthcare sectors, which deal with vast amounts of sensitive data. Fortunately, SMS 2FA allows you to meet these requirements sufficiently.

Its robust authentication mechanism aligns with many regulatory guidelines to ensure your organization stays on the right side of the law.

4. Reduced risk for compromised accounts

By introducing a second authentication process, this verification method can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access to users’ accounts.

Even if malicious actors somehow obtain account passwords, they’ll still need access to the mobile phone for the code that will complete the login process. This extra layer of security can effectively prevent breaches.

5. Enhanced security 

SMS 2FA bolsters data security. It’s a simple yet effective way to protect sensitive information. The uniqueness of the verification codes and their limited validity window make it challenging for attackers to predict or intercept them.

The Drawbacks of SMS 2FA

1. Heavy reliance on mobile networks 

While SMS 2FA is accessible for most users, disruptions in mobile services or poor network coverage can hinder the timely delivery of verification codes. As such, those in remote areas or regions with less reliable networks may face challenges with this method.

2. Susceptibility to phishing and social engineering

Incidents of scam calls like voice phishing are common nowadays. These scams remain a significant threat, even with SMS 2FA in place. Cybercriminals can still trick users into revealing their verification codes by impersonating your organization.

3. Vulnerability to SIM swapping 

In a SIM swapping attack, fraudsters trick mobile carriers into transferring a user’s phone number to a new SIM card under their control. In effect, they can receive SMS 2FA codes and access the owner’s account.

4. Privacy concerns

Often, the process for SMS 2FA involves sharing a phone number. However, some users may have privacy concerns, especially with many businesses misusing phone numbers or others gaining unauthorized access to this information.

5. Single-point-of-failure

The SMS 2FA method is not immune to single-point-of-failure risks. Say a user’s mobile phone gets stolen or lost. The second authentication factor is compromised since other unauthorized users can access the verification codes.

Should You Use SMS 2FA?

Undoubtedly, SMS 2FA can be a powerful tool that keeps users’ data safe from the ever-growing cases of data breaches.

It’s a cost-effective and user-friendly solution that can enhance the security of user accounts and business processes. For many, it provides an accessible and effective way to bolster security.

However, its reliance on mobile networks and susceptibility to phishing attacks, SIM swapping, and data privacy concerns can impede the SMS 2FA’s effectiveness.

As such, you must take the proper measures to address these issues. If you belong to organizations in high-security environments, you may opt for more advanced authentication methods. 

Whether to use SMS 2FA depends on assessing your unique circumstances and choosing the best solution for your security goals.

Safeguarding Your Business’s Data

SMS 2FA is a valuable tool in today’s ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape and offers benefits that can prevent cyber threats from hampering your operations. However, it doesn’t come without drawbacks.

So, assess your needs first before implementing this method.

Remember, informed choices today can secure your digital world tomorrow. Partnering with a data-driven SMS marketing solutions firm like Semaphore can help your business safeguard customer data. 

Make the most of your SMS campaigns with Semaphore. Contact us today to know more.

Alex built Semaphore’s tech backbone and keeps it running smoothly. With deep experience in tech: Over 20 years in Web Development, IT and Infrastructure; 10+ years management experience in technology; and an expert in enterprise application architecture, development and tech processes, Alex is an old-hat in bridging the gap between geeks and suits as well as applying tech to real-world business problems. Connect with Alex on LinkedIn.

Top Messaging Apps in the Philippines

A depiction of a person using one of the top messaging apps in the Philippines, which is Facebook Messenger.

If you had to send a message to someone right now, which app would you use? From the older Skype to the newer Discord, one of the most popular modes of communication nowadays is messaging apps.

Thanks to the internet and social media, bridging the global communication gap is easier than ever. All it takes is a few clicks; you can send messages to anyone worldwide, wherever and whenever.

In the Philippines, surveys show that 71% of Filipinos use messaging apps and other channels, including business messaging. As such, companies recognize the potential of these mediums and leverage them for product and service promotion.

With the continuous rise of these channels, this blog will inform you about the top messaging apps in the Philippines. 

7 Top Messaging Apps in the Philippines

A photo showcasing the top messaging apps in the Philippines.

Messaging apps offer seamless communication via voice, video, and text chats. While most apps below allow media sharing and group chats, they also have unique features specifically for business purposes. Here are the most used messaging apps in the Philippines.


  • Discord


Discord is a popular online connectivity tool, especially among gaming communities, making it the highest one in the Top Charts Communication category under Top Grossing. Game developers usually use Discord for sharing or launching gaming goodies.

You can use the platform to build communities where customers can interact. Discord also enables you to host events for real-time collaboration.

Learning more about consumers or followers is possible since your brand can get valuable insights from many Discord communities.

Discord ensures versatile accessibility and is compatible with various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android, as well as web browsers. 

Its other key features include a user-friendly interface and extensive server creation for tailored group interactions.


  • Skype


Another item on the list of the most popular messaging apps in the Philippines is Skype, with over 11 million downloads. The popular messaging app allows seamless real-time interaction globally through affordable international mobile and landline calls for users.

Skype’s screen sharing, language translation, and mobile compatibility on iOS and Android make it a versatile platform for personal and business communication.

While it’s one of the older platforms on this list, brands still consistently use Skype because of its reliability and tested conferencing capabilities.


  • Telegram


Known for its security and speed, Telegram offers encrypted conversations, self-destructing messages, and secret chats for added privacy.

One of the more unique features of Telegram is it allows you to save conversations in folders and send silent chats to avoid disturbing others. 

It boasts a translation feature and lets you find people nearby, perfect for festivals and events. Multi-device synchronization and cloud storage allow access across platforms.

Your company can turn to Telegram to give customers 24/7 support and monitor digital marketing success by tracking reposts and subscribers. The app is in 2nd place in the Top Charts Communication category under Top Grossing.


  • Line


Line is a multifunctional messaging app with diverse tools, making it a popular choice for personal and professional communication, entertainment, and utility.

The app supports voice and video calls for up to 500 participants and even provides a timeline for sharing updates with friends. Line allows your brand to make a business profile page where you can share promotions and posts.

Plus, it improves online engagement while providing customer support via direct messages. Additional features include Line Pay for transactions, Line Games, and a built-in news platform supporting business accounts for customer interaction.


  • Viber


Viber ranks in 4th place in the Top Charts Communication category under Free Downloads. It has security features like end-to-end encryption and disappearing messages to ensure privacy.

The messaging app can also facilitate group chats with up to 250 participants. 

Apart from that, Viber enables the creation of a business profile or public chats for celebrities and brands to engage with followers. This strategy is helpful if you want to run effective campaigns.

With these features, it’s much easier to maintain constant interaction with customers to build trust and an excellent public image

Meanwhile, Viber Out allows affordable calls to non-Viber users. Integrating games, news, and a built-in shop enriches the user experience. Viber’s communication, entertainment, and utility features make it a comprehensive choice for numerous users.


  • Facebook Messenger


Recent surveys report that 98% of Filipinos use Facebook Messenger to communicate with family and friends.

Facebook Messenger boasts over 87 million downloads and offers a variety of features. It has multiple chat themes to personalize conversations, and you can watch videos with others over video chat.

The app integrates with Facebook, offering easy access to one’s social media contacts. It enables customer interaction through Pages, automated responses, and appointment scheduling.

You can also run ads that lead to Messenger when jumpstarting a conversation with a customer. Likewise, Messenger allows Inbox ads to capture attention and steer a prospect to interact with you.


  • WhatsApp


WhatsApp is the most popular chat app in the Philippines, with more than 180 million downloads. It’s available on multiple platforms and syncs seamlessly across devices for simplified data backup and restoration.

Its user-friendly interface, reliability, and emphasis on privacy make it suitable for personal and professional communication.

When you set up a business account on WhatsApp, ensure you access customer engagement tools to give convenient support and share brand updates with consumers.

WhatsApp also lets you market your business by sending tailored promotional messages to your target audience.

Additionally, you can create broadcasts and groups to promote your business or craft a detailed catalog showing your products.

Leverage the Philippines’ Most Popular Messaging App

The best messaging apps meet the demands of their users. When choosing one for your business, look for features like seamless communication and robust security to cultivate trust with people following your brand.

Then, partner with a reputable and reliable SMS solutions provider like Semaphore. We’ll supercharge your marketing game with our top-tier and trusted SMS marketing for businesses. Reach and engage your customers with our proven solutions today!

Alex built Semaphore’s tech backbone and keeps it running smoothly. With deep experience in tech: Over 20 years in Web Development, IT and Infrastructure; 10+ years management experience in technology; and an expert in enterprise application architecture, development and tech processes, Alex is an old-hat in bridging the gap between geeks and suits as well as applying tech to real-world business problems. Connect with Alex on LinkedIn.

Scam Calls in the Philippines

A photo depicting a scam call being done to an individual.

Despite the government’s best efforts to mitigate scam calls in the Philippines, the problem continues.

In fact, the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG) reports that 25% of unwanted calls in the country are from criminals looking for victims to defraud.

Unfortunately, even if some know better and hang up, many still fall victim to these calls.

We’re here to help you learn more about this issue. Let’s delve into scam calls from the Philippines and practical ways to protect yourself from fraud.

Types of Scam Calls in the Philippines

Depiction of an unknown caller that could be a scammer.

Awareness of the following types of scam calls provides insights into how fraudsters operate, helping you avoid or counter their tricks.

  • “One-ring” phone scams

If an unrecognized number calls your phone, rings once, and then hangs up, it’s likely a “one-ring” or “cut-call” scam. Naturally, you may feel inclined to call back.

Once you do, an automated machine will only trick you into calling a premium-rate number by claiming the call is important—perhaps a message from the government or a financial institution. 

However, these numbers charge exorbitant fees for every minute you remain on the call. Some would even impersonate legitimate institutions to make you stay on the line longer or prompt you to give sensitive information.

  • Voice phishing

Voice phishing or “vishing” uses fear tactics to trick you into providing your social security number, credit card information, or other critical data.

This approach takes more effort on the criminal’s part than emails and SMS scams, so victims are generally more trusting. Fraudsters use synthesized speech, claiming there are suspicious activities on your financial accounts.

They then direct you to a telephone number where someone asks for your personal information, pretending to verify your account but trying to access your funds.

Scammers sometimes impersonated the Philippine Post Office and called parcel recipients for their personal information to receive their shipments. They also requested the victim’s home address, making voice phishing extremely dangerous.

  • Compromised bank account calls

In some instances, scammers may pose as bank employees and claim that unauthorized transactions occurred in your accounts. Then, they request sensitive information to “verify your identity,” like account details or one-time passwords (OTPs).

However, they’ll use these data to steal your funds while you falsely believe they’re secure.

This issue happened to numerous Security Bank account holders, who became victims of impersonators in 2021. Their losses amounted to over ₱5.7 million after fraudsters accessed and stole from their accounts.

  • Call center phone scams

Some scammers operate out of call centers, making their schemes appear legitimate by impersonating technical support representatives.

Once you surrender control of your computer, believing they can help troubleshoot a malfunction, they’ll install spyware without your knowledge or take over and steal sensitive data.

Meanwhile, some scam call centers operate as investment schemes. In 2022, the PNP ACG raided a call center that had stolen AU$ 3.3 million (₱119,815,010) worth of pension funds from Australians.

  • Telemarketing scam calls

One of the classic ways scammers target their victims is by posing as legitimate businesses offering attractive deals over the phone.

They usually pressure you into purchasing or investing with the promise of high returns, such as pump-and-dump schemes and fake cryptocurrency investments. However, they’ll deliver nothing during payouts.

In 2022, the PNP ACG arrested 31 telemarketing scammers who targeted Australian and British nationals by offering them pension plans, resulting in fraud worth over AU$ 900,000 (₱32,632,112.75).

Best Practices to Avoid Scam Calls from the Philippines

Adopting the following measures can prevent financial losses and identity theft due to scams.

  • Never give sensitive information over the phone

A fundamental rule in protecting yourself from scam calls is never to share sensitive information via calls. Remember, legitimate institutions will never ask for details like passwords and credit card information.

If a caller requests such details, immediately hang up and report it to the concerned institutions and authorities.

  • Verify with the supposed concerned party

When suspicious of a call’s legitimacy, you should immediately verify it with those supposedly involved.

For instance, if a sketchy caller claims to represent a bank, hang up and reach out to the institution directly via the contact information from their website or other official correspondence. 

This step ensures you’re speaking to a legitimate representative, not a scammer. Ask questions like the bank employee’s identity, the purpose of the call you received earlier, and any other information that scammers typically don’t have access to.

  • Use a call-blocking app

Technology is your ally against scam calls. Call-blocking apps automatically identify and filter out potential scammers using a database of reported numbers.

Most smartphones also have built-in call-blocking features to help you avoid unwanted calls without downloading anything. You can then manually block suspicious numbers on your device.

  • Avoid extended interactions and hang up

Never entertain suspected phone scammers. Talking more than you should encourages them to continue calling because they think you’re falling for their tricks.

Plus, like “one-ring” phone scams, speaking longer might incur payments to premium-rate numbers. It’s best to end the call at once if you suspect it’s a scam.

  • Educate yourself and others

Knowledge is a valuable tool in the fight against scam calls. After all, what good is a fraudster if you’re completely aware and knowledgeable of their methods?

So, stay on top of the latest scam tactics and share this information with your loved ones. Make sure you teach them preventive measures and safe calling practices to create a safer digital environment for everyone.

Stay on Top of Scam Calls

The prevalence of scam calls in the Philippines is a stark reminder of the importance of vigilance and awareness. Fraudsters exploit victims’ trust and ignorance, so equip yourself and your loved ones with the information presented here.

Finally, report scam calls to the appropriate agencies so you can help mitigate these situations and protect others from fraud.

Being credible and verifiable is vital to avoid getting flagged as a scam number. So, enlist the help of Semaphore, a trusted SMS marketing partner for businesses. We offer reputable SMS solutions that can help you provide a better and more secure customer experience.

Alex built Semaphore’s tech backbone and keeps it running smoothly. With deep experience in tech: Over 20 years in Web Development, IT and Infrastructure; 10+ years management experience in technology; and an expert in enterprise application architecture, development and tech processes, Alex is an old-hat in bridging the gap between geeks and suits as well as applying tech to real-world business problems. Connect with Alex on LinkedIn.