Microsoft is now making it handier and safer for users to sign into their Microsoft Account/s. The corporation has now started supporting standards-based FIDO2 security key devices for allowing users to sign into their Microsoft Account using just a ‘Security Key’ and without having to use a username or password.
Today, Microsoft is enabling this Security Key or Windows Hello support with its Edge browser. It’s the first corporation to bolster and finally support password-less authentication using the FIDO2 WebAuthn and CTAP2 standards.
If you have got the latest Windows 10 October 2018 update, then you will be able to set up a physical security key or Windows Hello from Yubico or FEITIAN that generally support the FIDO2 standard.
If you use a device that has a Windows Hello webcam or fingerprint reader, you can then directly go to your ‘Microsoft Account settings’ using the Edge Browser, and then link a Windows 10 machine to your account so that it doesn’t anymore need a password entry.
This will set up a private key on the trust platform module (TPM) in your Windows 10 device which is used in conjunction with the presence of the Physical Key or Biometric Windows Hello Authentication for verifying it against the public key put on the servers of Microsoft. This mixture is likely to make it thorny to get trapped in a phishing scam or any security threat, as you will soon be habitual of logging in without credentials or passwords.
Microsoft initially enabled its account users to sign in without a password using the company’s Android and iOS Microsoft Authenticator app. However, it was the first step taken by the tech giant towards password-less logins, and Support FIDO2 Security Keys is the second logical step.
Before now, both Facebook and Google have been using USB tokens to protect accounts, and now Microsoft is preparing to bring this similar support to work and school accounts that will be using Azure Active Directory.
As Microsoft has approved and adopted the open standards by W3C and FIDO Alliance standards bodies, Firefox and Chrome are also going to have this ability to use these security keys for logging into a Microsoft Account once the FIDO2 Standards is supported by them.
Ryan Johnsonis a Microsoft Office expert and has been working in the technical industry since 2002. As a technical expert, Steve has written technical blogs, manuals, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as office.com/setup.