You can remove your Microsoft account password
Microsoft now lets you remove passwords from Microsoft accounts to embrace a passwordless future. Starting today, the software giant will let consumers sign into Microsoft accounts with its Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, a security key, or an SMS/email verification code instead of a password.
The new option comes just months after Microsoft rolled out passwordless authentication for commercial users in March to help people adjust to the realities of remote work. “When I think about security, I think you have to protect your whole life,” Vasu Jakkal, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of security, compliance and identity, said in an interview. ledge. “It’s no longer enough to just think about work or home and anything in between.”
Microsoft has been working towards a passwordless future for years, and the pandemic has only accelerated things. “When you have digital transformation and businesses have to go away overnight… the number of digital surfaces has grown exponentially,” Jakal explains. “The number of attack surfaces has increased rapidly, so this was a huge motivating factor for us to accelerate our security initiatives.”
“Today marks a major milestone for Microsoft’s passwordless ambitions, after the company enabled security keys in 2018 and made Windows 10 passwordless in 2019,” says Jakkal. More than 200 million commercial customers are already using the passwordless option, and Jakkal is optimistic about its adoption among consumers.
Removing your password is also a relatively simple process. You will need to have the Microsoft Authenticator mobile app installed and linked to your personal Microsoft account. Once this is done, you can go to accounts.microsoft.com and choose Advanced Security Options and then enable passwordless accounts in the Additional Security section. You then approve the change from your Authenticator app and you will be password free. You can always reverse the change and add a password back to your Microsoft account in the future.
The benefits of passwordless authentication are very clear. Most people create their own passwords, and creating something secure and memorable without relying on a password manager is often a challenge. People often reuse their passwords, allowing attackers to target a particular organization and quickly log into a variety of compromised accounts after the passwords have been dumped.
Google, Apple and others are also working towards less reliance on passwords. Google Chrome lets you sign in without a password, and the iCloud Keychain feature in Apple’s iOS 15 and macOS Monterey updates includes a passkey, an attempt to replace passwords with a more secure login process.