Microsoft has already convinced 200 million of us to enable passwordless authentication so that we can access Outlook.com, Xbox Live, OneDrive and Skype. Now it is allowing those who wish to do so and remove the password altogether.
On Wednesday, the company opened up a new option to remove your password authentication. This means your only means of logon will be using some combination of hardware security keys, biometrics like fingerprint and Windows Hello face recognition, email codes, and the Microsoft Authenticator app running on Android phones and iPhones.
To disable password authentication, go to account.microsoft.com And open Advanced Security Options. Next, go to the Additional security option, then look for a passwordless account. Flip the “Turn On” option. Microsoft asks to install and install the Microsoft Authenticator app first.
Although convenient, deeper problems are leading the tech giant to past passwords for authentication. Biometrics such as fingerprints and facial recognition have helped immensely, as the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) standard is now built into browsers and operating systems. Infection is important for anyone who wants to avoid hackers and identity thieves.
A big password problem is that we reuse them, which means that a data breach can expose multiple accounts. But strong, unique passwords are harder to create and remember. Password managers help with that problem, but software can be complicated, even for technical experts.
“If you decide you prefer to use a password, you can always add it back to your account. But I hope you try passwordless – I don’t think you’ll want to go back,” Vasu Jakkal, leader of marketing for Microsoft’s security and identity work, said in a blog post.
Microsoft’s post-password moves are good for the company, too. Dumping passwords means there is less data that hackers can steal in the first place.
Microsoft said that nearly 200 million Microsoft customers, both individual and corporate users, have moved to passwordless logon. This is up from about 150 million people in 2020.