First announced as “Project Verify” in 2018, ZenKey was intended to be a single sign-on system, similar to the Google and Apple button sign-ins found on various websites. The idea was that each carrier would offer an app that could verify your identity and act as a pass whenever you logged into a supported website, made a bank transfer, etc. It can be more secure because it uses your SIM card data and location to verify that it’s really you trying to log in.
However, ZenKey didn’t seem to have made much progress and is now mostly gone. light reading Its website is reportedly down, AT&T stopped supporting it last year, and the “ZenKey powered by Verizon” app is no longer available in app stores (at least in the US). His website at T-Mobile appears to have few references to the system, as far as Google can find it, but the business site does mention one in his mid-2020 article. increase.
For those familiar with the history of multi-carrier joint ventures, this result isn’t necessarily surprising. light reading When the service was announced in 2019, we dubbed it with the headline “Meet ZenKey: Telcos’ doomed single sign-on service.” The Barge‘s Dieter Born called ZenKey “the right idea in the wrong company” when writing about the Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative, which sought to replace SMS with the then-burgeoning RCS. His opinion builds on past products such as SoftCard, which are intended to compete with Google Wallet and Apple Pay. (That he was almost as successful as CCMI. I mean, not at all. A lot of people).
Ultimately, the usefulness of a service like ZenKey depends on how much third-party support you get. Even if an app is good, most people don’t care if they can just use it to log it. For 3 or 4 sites. Also, is there any reason for a developer to add his ZenKey to his site when there are other options like Google, Apple, Amazon, Meta, etc. Also, brand awareness when users visit the login page? degree can be significantly improved.
Case in point: All sites and apps that worked with ZenKey in July 2022, according to the now-defunct website’s Wayback Machine archive:
A press release from late 2020 said other companies such as Proctorio and DocuSign had “trial or production plans” to support the service, but that didn’t seem to work.
Hopefully passwords will eventually be a thing of the past, even if the carriers can’t (predictably) make them go away. But removing them requires a stronger push from a much larger group. Perhaps Passkey, the FIDO-powered passwordless authentication system being pushed by Apple, Google, Microsoft, and others, will eventually matter. But until it’s widely adopted (which we can’t be sure of), we may be stuck with a patchwork of successful single sign-on options, password managers, and scattered sticky notes you know you shouldn’t use but use anyway. . .
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