Yosemite's new "Text Message Forwarding" feature is a great convenience for communicating with friends and colleagues who use SMS for texting, but it has the potentially to fatally* undermine 2-factor authentication schemes that use text messages.

Is there a way to limit which contacts' text messages can be forwarded?

  • *Maybe I'm overreacting here (since I assume the linked iPhone needs to be within Bluetooth range); but even so, the phone does not (seem to) need to be unlocked. So of it "fatally" then at least "seriously". – orome Oct 23 '14 at 14:40

I was totally sharing your concerns, hence my iPhone is forwarding any messages - including those from my bank accounts - although bluetooth on both Mac and iPhone is turned off (and so is wifi on the iPhone, so I assume the forwarding works via cellular data). According to a nice and helpful guy on the Apple-Hotline, there is no such option as filtering which messages will be forwarded and which not.

But after thinking about the issue for some while, I do not see it as such a big deal anymore. The 2-factor-authentication is based on the principle of knowing one information (like your password) and possessing something (e.g your phone) to receive a second piece of information which will, put together with the first bit, act as key. The situation with the message forwarding just differs in so far, that the "thing" you possess in this case are two things (the phone and the mac). So no breach, imho, since the guy who could possibly steal your Mac still has to know your password.

It just does not feel right to have the transaction no displayed on the same device that runs the session and thereby requested the number ;-)

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