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Now you too can ditch passwords on your Microsoft account as the company announced today the password-free features it offers for corporate users will also be available to everyone. Though a complete passwordless future will still take quite a while.
Microsoft will soon be rolling out support for Microsoft Authenticator App without a password and a biometric-based Hello login service for Windows. The latest features will help you ditch passwords on your Microsoft account and use a biometric like a fingerprint or face scan. A hardware authentication token or a verification code will be sent to your phone or email as an alternative to a password. The new system will allow you and billions of other Microsoft users to access services like Office 365 and OneDrive with it.
According to Vasu Jakkal, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of security, compliance, identity, and management in a blog said, “The number of cyberattacks has increased as a result of identity and password theft—as defenders we really have our work cut out for us in this asymmetric game. Without passwords, you get advanced security and it’s so much easier. It’s just a slam dunk.”
While systems go passwordless, biometrics or things like hardware security keys are used to confirm the identity of the users or to authenticate them. In contrast, while using passwords, it is something we know such as passwords which turns out to be problematic when this information is shared or guessed by others. Whereas while going, passwordless security codes can be sent to your phone which can be more secure as they require you to have access to your smartphone during a specific, brief period of time.
It certainly is exciting as going passwordless can turn out to be more secure, but more so people have been using passwords for decades. This may prove to be difficult to convince people to try something new or different. With the introduction of passwordless authentication, the use of password managers will perhaps be the thing of the past.
Passwordless login is also easy which might mislead you to think it is less secure as it certainly is hassle-free, as simple as looking into a
webcam for face scam or inserting the Yubikey into a USB port.
It has been a long while even for the likes of Microsoft to come up with a passwordless alternative and eliminate passwords entirely instead of adding more layers of defense on top of them.
Microsoft currently has more than 200 million passwordless users from its enterprise rollout. There are many other tech giants offering alternative login methods, though Windows and Office 365’s have a particular influence given their ubiquity among both corporate customers and individuals.
How to Ditch Password on Your Microsoft Account Forever?
- Download the Microsoft Authenticator app
- Link it to your Microsoft account.
- Go to account.microsoft.com, choose Sign In, and then Advanced Security Options.
- Under Additional Security look for Passwordless Account and tap Turn on.
- Follow the prompts and then approve the change from the Authenticator app.
If you want to reverse the process you can also add your password back.
According to Arsenault, “You think that everybody hates passwords, but there is one faction of people who love passwords. They’re called criminals.”