As more and more of our daily lives move into the cloud, and everything from banking activities to hailing a cab is through an internet connection, security becomes increasingly imperative. And the truth is many people are still using passwords like “password1234” that can be cracked in fractions of a second, or aren’t following simple steps to create sophisticated enough passwords.
It leads many to wish for a technology which kills off the password and replaces it with less user-error prone means for locking down our most sensitive information. Every tech company has their eyes on emerging trends they hope will kick passwords to the curb, and Microsoft notably has invested heavily in the future of Windows Hello to create a future of computing without passwords.
But until then, one of the best things you can do to help secure accounts is to enable Multifactor Authentication (MFA). This is the simple measure of entering in a secondary code after your password that is either sent via an SMS message or generated by an app only you can access. It is a strong second line of defense and can be easily enabled for most types of accounts.
And Windows Central is now reporting that Microsoft is rolling out their new Authenticator app for Windows 10 Mobile fast ring Windows Insiders. Just to note, our staff has not been able to get the app on our Windows 10 Mobile fast ring devices yet, only the previous Windows Phone 8 version. So it may still be rolling out to Insiders or has since been pulled.
Either way, Windows Central points out that some great new features are coming to the Microsoft Authenticator app for Windows 10 Mobile. The previous Authenticator app only generated codes for you to type in manually when signing into your Microsoft Account. But this new app will enable a new push notification allowing you to simply press Approve or Deny, making the whole two-factor sign in process much more streamlined. Those who used the previous version regularly know the nuisance of trying to type in a random string of digits as fast as possible before the code expires.
Those who use Microsoft services on their Android device might be familiar with push notification approvals for two-factor authentication from the Microsoft Account app for Android. But the Windows 10 Mobile Authenticator app could possibly be where Microsoft will center some of the new security features previously discussed for the Windows 10 Anniversary update.
According to the Windows Store listing, once the app is live and full featured you will be able to use the Microsoft Authenticator app to unlock Windows 10 computers in addition to enabling MFA approval through notification. When they downloaded the app, Windows Central found that it also supports Windows Hello so you can sign in with your iris or other biometrics for initial authentication.
So if you are a fast ring Windows Insider with a Windows 10 Mobile device, head over to the Windows Store and check out if the new Microsoft Authenticator app is showing up for you. And for the rest of, if you haven’t considered MFA for your account security, now is a great time as easier to use services like the new Microsoft Authenticator come online.