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Microsoft lets users go "passwordless"

New Delhi, Mon, 20 Sep 2021 Supratik Mitra

Multinational tech giant, Microsoft in a new move to make the user experience smoother, is allowing Microsoft account users to go passwordless.

The company will allow users to use fingerprints, facial recognition and authenticator apps instead to make the users accounts more secure.

Microsoft is rolling this optional service ahead of its Windows 11 launch, which is scheduled for this October.

To go password-free, users will need the Microsoft Authenticator app. After downloading and signing into the app using your Microsoft account. To remove the password, the user will need to go to the security option, under Security basics on their Microsoft account, one will find ‘Advanced security options’, where clicking on ‘Get started’ to view all the security settings. Under Additional security, there will be a  ‘Passwordless account’ option and click ‘Turn on to remove the password from the Microsoft account. Now a pop-up will appear that guides you through the setup process. After clicking ‘next’, a new prompt will appear urging you to check the Authenticator app on your phone to approve the password removal request. Clicking on ‘Approve’ will complete the process of removing the password from your Microsoft account. Moving forward, users can sign in to their Microsoft account using the Authenticator app, physical security keys, or Windows Hello biometrics.

Users can revert to adding a password, by going back to the Additional Security Options section.

However, all services don’t support the passwordless feature and might break if users switch to the options, so it is advised to avoid switching to the new feature if one uses, Xbox 360, Office 2010 or earlier, Office for Mac 2011 or earlier, Products and services which use IMAP and POP email services, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, or earlier, Some Windows features including Remote Desktop and Credential Manager, Some command line and task scheduler services.

The set-up process is straightforward to comprehend. However, on losing the phone on which the authenticator app is there, one will have to  try to recover the account through backup email or text message.

Vasu Jakkal, Corporate Vice President, Security, Compliance and Identity at Microsoft, said that passwords are easier targets for hackers. In a tweet, she added, there are a whopping 579 password attacks every second. While passwordless authentication is one of the simplest and most effective tools available to protect one’s accounts.

The move benefits users who have problems remembering passwords or use an external password manager, which can become tedious tasks, in the fast-paced digitizing world, with so many passwords and accounts a single person has. Jakkal, introducing the new feature, tweeted, “Are you sick of passwords? Me too! That’s why I’m thrilled you can now go passwordless with your Microsoft account. Using Microsoft Authenticator you can remove the password from your account completely, making for more secure and convenient login.”

Author: Supratik Mitra

Supratik Mitra is a student of political science at the University of Delhi. While completing college, he continues to work as a reporter, working with many media houses previously. He is interested in Indian politics and Science and Technology and is also an avid policy researcher. He reports and writes articles on national news, science and tech news, and health news.

Office Address: D-16/116, Sector-3, Rohini Delhi - 110085 India.

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