Kim Dotcom claims to have invented two-step authentication

Mega founder says he hasn’t sued over patent filed in 1998 yet, but may do in the future.

Kim Dotcom

Kim Dotcom, founder of Mega and Mega upload, has issued a claim stating that two-factor authentication was invented by him as a means of ensuring account security in the late 1990s.

The claim refers to a patent filed in the US in April 1998 under Dotcom's original name, Kim Schmitz.

In the abstract of the patent, which was granted in 2000, states: "The invention relates to a method and to a device for the authorisation in data transmission systems employing a transaction authorisation number (TAN) or a comparable password."

It goes on to describe a system where a user inputs their identification, such as a username and password, into their computer. That data is then transmitted to a computer at the service providers' end, which uses it to automatically generate a TAN. The TAN is sent to a second device in the possession of the user "for example a pager", with the user then being able to enter it into the original computer in order to complete the log-in process.

This, Dotcom claims, is descriptive of the process used in two-factor authentication today, although a phone is generally used to receive the code now, rather than a pager.

The 39-year-old internet entrepreneur and former hacker, who is now resident in New Zealand, said on Twitter: "Google, Facebook, Twitter, Citibank, etc. Offer two-step authentication. Massive IP infringement by US companies. My innovation. My patent.

"I never sued them. I believe in sharing knowledge and ideas for the good of society. But I might sue them now cause of what the US did to me," the latter part of the statement referring to the closing of Megaupload by the FBI and the seizing of his assets, as well as a failed extradition attempt by the US from New Zealand in 2012.

Facebook and Twitter declined to comment on the issue. Citi and Google had not responded to reqeusts for comment at the time of publication.

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