A world without passwords beckons! Microsoft is here with another improvement for Windows Hello, one that makes it possible for users to log in to their Microsoft accounts without passwords.
Redmond has been making some solid strides towards more secure means of authentication — for Windows 10 users in particular.
And this latest announcement has been pretty much an year in the making.
The company first unveiled support for the FIDO2 security key authentication feature in the operating system earlier this year. It launched in preview in spring, but is now officially available for everyone with the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.
FIDO2 devices look like USB keys, and enable users to sign in to their online services without a password.
They are fairly inexpensive too, with companies like Yubico and Feitian Technology offering them at starting prices of $20. Alongside the built-in biometric technology for verifying your identity, some even come with NFC capabilities.
This video shows them in action:
Microsoft explains how they are paving a path to the future where passwords are used less and less:
“With each update, we’re eradicating places where you’re forced to enter a username and password, bringing you peace of mind that your account is protected and accessed by you, and only you. We’re excited about the journey we’re on and hope you join us on this quest to go password-less.”
Of course, this is for devices that don’t have Windows Hello capabilities built in.
If you already own a modern machine that has the feature already configured, all you need to do is run the October 2018 Update and use the Microsoft Edge web browser. You will then see this new sign in option when you try to log in to your Microsoft account.
A little housecleaning would be necessary on your Microsoft account page here.
But once you set things up, you’ll be cooking with gas!