Microsoft and other tech companies are currently hard at work to replace passwords with more secure alternatives. Today, the Redmond giant is making a huge step forward by making it possible to sign in to your Microsoft account online using Windows Hello or a FIDO2 security key.
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it was adding support for FIDO2 security key authentication to Windows 10. The feature initially launched in limited preview during the Spring, but it’s now officially available with the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.
For those unfamiliar, FIDO2 authentication keys are standard-based devices that allow users to sign in to online services without a password. FIDO2 devices usually look like USB keys (some models also use NFC), and they come with a built-in biometric technology for letting you verify your identity.
Companies selling FIDO2 devices include Yubico and Feitian Technology with prices starting at $20. The set up process will require you to go to the Microsoft account page on Microsoft Edge, and then set up a security key in Security > More security options > Windows Hello and security keys. Once you’re done, you’ll be able to choose your security key next time you need to sign in to your Microsoft account with Microsoft Edge.
For those of you who don’t want to invest in a FIDO2 device but already have a PC that supports Windows Hello, you’ll also be able to use that to sign in to your Microsoft account online. If Windows Hello is already configured on your PC, you’ll be able to use it as a login option when you sign in using Microsoft Edge. Again, the ability to sign in with your Microsoft account using a FIDO2 device or Windows Hello requires the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, and Microsoft has just resumed the public rollout of this major update last week.
“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,” Microsoft said today.Further reading: authentication, FIDO, Windows 10, Windows 10 October 2018 Update, Windows Hello