Microsoft announced some big news today. The company now allows anyone to remove their passwords from their Microsoft accounts and log in without one, while significantly improving user account security.
Microsoft now allows users to sign in with the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, a security key, or even SMS or an email verification code. Microsoft claims that the options mentioned offer a lot more security and protection than using passwords. The new sign-up option comes months after the company started using and testing it with commercial users in March.
The company has been working on offering passwordless login for many years, in fact it started over four years ago. The current pandemic has only accelerated development as more people worked from home and suffered more from resetting and trying to find out their passwords. The number of cyber attacks has also increased over the past year; As more people spent time at home, hackers and scammers knew it was easier for them to achieve their goal.
The way it works is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is download the Microsoft Authenticator app for your device (available on both Android and iOS) and link your existing Microsoft account. Once all of that is done you can visit account.microsoft.com and select advanced security options and enable the passwordless account option for additional security. You then need to approve the changes in the authenticator app and you’re good to go. If you change your mind and want to use passwords again, you can go back to Settings and turn the option off.
Having to log in without passwords gives you more freedom and fewer headaches when you have to log into a service quickly. It also offers a lot more security than a simple eight-character password that is reused many times. Password managers are also a great way to manage all passwords and log into services, but they can also be compromised.
Also, keep in mind that Google and Apple also offer similar passwordless services themselves, although they still require a text message, verification code, or other method to prove your identity when you sign in from a new device or location.
Roland is a technology enthusiast and software engineer based in the UK. He is also a content creator and author and is best known by the name “Techusiast”.