Yesterday May 5, 2022 was World Password Day. In a ridiculous celebration, Microsoft marked the day by helping people stay away completely from passwords. The company announced its support for the expansion of a passwordless standard created by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium. Apple and Google also announced their support for the standard, which is a huge step forward toward a passwordless future.
Passwords can be stolen or phished by attackers. Microsoft argues that it is safer to use multi-device FIDO credentials. They are also referred to as passkeys and allow people and organizations to get away from unsecured passwords.
The idea is that people will be able to verify their identity by logging into a physical device, such as a smartphone. This can be done with a fingerprint, face unlock or a PIN code and used to log into websites and services, all without the need for a password.
Microsoft highlighted in a tech community post that vital information never leaves a device. “Passkeys are a safer, faster, and easier alternative to your password. With Passkeys, you can sign in to any supported website or app by verifying your face, fingerprint, or using a device PIN,” the company added.
It is already possible to use Windows Hello to sign in to sites that support passkeys. Soon, people will be able to sign in to their Microsoft account with a passkey using an Apple or Google device.
Support for passkeys across devices and operating systems is – important – the key to the process. “With passkeys on your mobile device, you can sign into an app or service on virtually any device, no matter what platform or browser the device is running on,” said Microsoft Vice President of Security, Compliance, Identity and Privacy Vasu Jackal in a statement on Edge. For example, users can sign in to the Google Chrome browser running on Microsoft Windows—using a passkey on an Apple device.
Along with its support for the FIDO standard, Microsoft has announced new capabilities to help companies not use passwords. Windows 365, Azure Virtual Desktop, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure all support passwordless login in Windows 11 preview builds. It’s also on the way to Windows 10.
Microsoft Authenticator will soon support the use of multiple accounts without a password. This capability will be shipped to iOS devices this month and to Android users in the future.
Microsoft has pushed people not to use passwords for five years. The company shared that 240 million people now sign into Microsoft services each month without using a password. And 330,000 people have removed their passwords from their Microsoft accounts in the past six months as well.
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