You Can Now Sign-In to Your Microsoft Account Without a Password

You Can Now Sign-In to Your Microsoft Account Without a Password

For starters, you'll need to be running the Windows 10 October 2018 update, which is the newest update available for the OS.

Users register a key with a site or service, like Microsoft's central login for services like Office, OneDrive, Outlook, Skype, and Xbox Live. "And now they can all benefit from this simple user experience and greatly improved security".

More specifically, Microsoft is allowing users to perform password-less sign-in FIDO2 security devices. Microsoft also plans on offering this feature to enterprise and education customers by integrating it into the Azure Active Directory in the future. A single key may be used with multiple sites and even locally installed software.

This private encryption key is stored on and known only to the device that created it and can only be unlocked using a PIN known to you or a biometric signal such as a gesture or touch of a button.

The no-password login overcomes weaknesses in accounts and passwords by relying on private, unique, complex information stored within the USB keys.

Sign out and open Microsoft Edge, select Use Windows Hello or security key instead, and sign in by inserting or tapping your key.

You Can Now Sign-In to Your Microsoft Account Without a Password
You Can Now Sign-In to Your Microsoft Account Without a Password

Configuring this is easy enough, and I was able to do so over the weekend because YubiKey had been kind enough to send me a YubiKey 5 Series hardware security key; Microsoft enabled this functionality on the Microsoft account website last week.

Assuming you meet those requirements (and you've got a compatible FIDO2 key), all you need to do is sign into your Microsoft Account through Edge and then head to the Security menu.

After you select that option, just insert your security key, type the key's PIN, and authenticate with your finger.

Microsoft will now prompt you to enter your key.

If you are not using a FIDO2 compatible key, Microsoft will display a message stating that the key is not compatible.

Compared to password managers, FIDO 2 security keys are easier to use, but also more secure, because the physical security key is always in your possession.

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