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A soft token is a security resource often used for multifactor authentication. Its name comes from its evolution from an earlier type of security token called an "authentication token" or "hard token." A soft token involves security features created and delivered through a software architecture.
Using resources like a soft token, the security system can generate a single-use PIN for user transactions. In a hard-token setup, the security system uses an actual piece of hardware to display a pin or security code on a screen. With new soft-token resources, administrators can instead generate these security codes through a software interface. For instance, a security system may send a soft-token code through an email, text message or other format, which then shows up on the user's smartphone or other device. These types of multifactor authentication are now enabling better security for online banking and other types of modern uses.