Here's How Microsoft Is Killing The Password

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 19, 2017

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While two-factor authentication is often touted as a great tool for combating threats that into systems, Microsoft’s Authenticator app can now save you a step when logging into anything that requires a Microsoft Account. According to a blog post from the company’s identity division, users no longer require to follow the usual password-based login setup. Microsoft’s Authenticator app now allows you to skip through the password entry entirely.

Microsoft’s phone sign-in works similarly to Google’s sign-in prompts in that it uses a mobile app - available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone - to confirm your identity, but you’ll never actually need to type a password when signing on to Microsoft services. Once you’ve set up your Microsoft Account in the app, you can enable phone sign-in through the settings menu. The next time you log in to your Microsoft Account on the desktop, you only need to enter your username and you’ll receive a notification on your phone to approve the login. Tap approve, and you’re in. The notifications act as a safeguard against unauthorized login attempts and the app can also create a unique code that works as a second authentication factor for OAuth logins.

Of course, you can always switch back to your password if you’ve somehow been separated from your phone, but Microsoft says the whole process is “easier than standard two-step verification and significantly more secure than only a password.”

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A number of tech organizations are stepping up their efforts to put an end to the password, thanks to the rise of Biometric data that is increasingly being used to replace passwords. The passwords people use are often weak and security gets compromised. In contrast, biometric information is authenticated on the device itself and unlike passwords, it is not stored on a remote server.

There are several other ways organizations are killing password, Selfie of course is a more popular concept that’s being experimented with by quite a few companies. The device takes a photo of your face, and using facial recognition, checks to see if you’re authorized to access it. Android smartphones can be set to unlock when they recognise your face, Apple has previously been granted a patent for a similar idea, and Mastercard lets customers use facial biometrics to authenticate payments. And that’s just a handful of examples — there are plenty of others out there.

Some companies are exploring wearable tech as a way to unlock user devices. This functionality is already built into the Apple Watch and has a long way to go. An increasing number of companies are also using voice recognition software as an alternative way to authenticate their customers. 

While biometrics, including fingerprints, face, iris, palm and speech-recognition, will continue to grow as a more secure substitute for passwords, they will not render passwords obsolete, according to Yole market and technology analyst Guillaume Girardin.

Fingerprint and facial recognition together will probably be the first combination that could replace passwords in some applications, Girardin said in an article on EETimes. But he predicts it will be 2030 by the time multi-modal biometric recognition will become generally accepted.