Microsoft users can now opt for app-based logins instead of passwords


Microsoft Corp. has announced that it is now expanding support for passwordless logins to all its apps and services including Outlook, OneDrive, and FamilySafety. The tech giant will allow users to sign in using the Microsoft Authenticator app, its facial recognition feature Windows Hello, a physical security key, or through email or SMS verification code.

It is worth noting here that Microsoft has long been pushing for a “passwordless” future, with the recent COVID-19 pandemic only accelerating its efforts. This is a major milestone for the company’s vision, after introducing security keys back in 2018 and making Windows 10 passwordless in 2019.

Users will be required to connect the authenticator app to their respective Microsoft accounts. Once done, they can enable the passwordless feature on the company website in the additional security section. Microsoft is also allowing users to revert to default changes and add a password if required.

According to Microsoft, a passwordless future will help in preventing phishing attacks. Users tend to create insecure passwords and use them on multiple websites, further allowing hackers to log into various compromised accounts and reuse them on other platforms.

Microsoft employees have been using this feature for a while, with nearly 100% of the company now being passwordless, claimed Security Vice President Vasu Jakkal. Passwords are inconvenient to create, remember, and manage all accounts on various platforms.

However, some exceptions will still require passwords, such as Windows 8.1 or earlier systems, Microsoft Office 2010, and Xbox 360 consoles.

Even Apple, Google, and others have been pushing for less reliance on passwords. For instance, Google Chrome does allow users to sign in without a password, while Apple’s iOS 15 updates consist of a Passkeys iCloud Keychain feature, an ambitious attempt to replace passwords with an alternative and secure login process.

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