One-Time Password Definition & Meaning

A one-time password, or OTP, is a series of characters generated by a device, application, or online portal for an individual to use only once. One-time passwords are typically a second form of authentication for accessing an account. A website will often generate a one-time password for a user who wants to change their password or forgot it. That password change then has to be verified through email, text message, or another method. One-time passwords as an added method of two factor or multifactor authentication are being used more frequently. These codes help businesses verify users when they’re accessing sensitive data: Entering a code that was texted to your phone to verify banking information on a third-party app, for example.

A one-time password prohibits attackers from using a stolen password. If an attacker learns a regular account password, they may be able to break into a user’s account. But a one-time password is only valid once; if an attacker tries to use it, the login attempt will be invalidated.

One-time passwords can also be generated using a token a piece of hardware or software that provides single-use passwords to users.

Some organizations are now recommending using an application for one-time password authentication, rather than receiving it through text or phone call. An application on your phone would reveal less information to any phone service providers or eavesdroppers who might be spying on your phone network. An application for one-time passwords will also have more features, such as the ability to scan a QR code.






Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a contributor for websites such as Webopedia.com and Enterprise Storage Forum. She writes about information technology security, networking, and data storage. Jenna lives in Nashville, TN.

Top Articles

Huge List Of Texting and Online Chat Abbreviations

From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 text message and online chat abbreviations to help you translate and understand today's texting lingo. Includes Top...

How To Create A Desktop Shortcut To A Website

This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE). Creating a desktop...

The History Of Windows Operating Systems

Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems. We look at the history of Microsoft's Windows operating systems (Windows OS) from 1985 to present...

Hotmail [Outlook] Email Accounts

  By Vangie Beal Hotmail is one of the first public webmail services that can be accessed from any web browser. Prior to Hotmail and its...

Cybersecurity Awareness Training Definition...

Cybersecurity awareness training informs employees of the attack surfaces and vectors in their...

Supply Chain Definition &...

A supply chain is a network between an organization and its suppliers to...

Relational Database Definition &...

A relational database stores and connects data in tables and columns, emphasizing the...