You and 800 million other people now can use hardware authentication keys — and no password at all — to log on to Microsoft accounts used for Outlook, Office 365, OneDrive, Skype and Xbox Live. Microsoft is using a technology called FIDO2, which employs hardware keys for the no-password logon, the company said Tuesday. New versions of Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system and Edge web browser support the technology. The hardware authentication keys plug into laptop USB ports or, for phones, use Bluetooth or NFC wireless communications to help prove who you are. Initially, they worked in combination with a password for dual-factor authentication, but FIDO2 and a related browser technology called WebAuthn expands beyond that to let the company ditch the password altogether. Microsoft’s no-password logon offers three options: the hardware key combined with Windows Hello face recognition technology or fingerprint ID; the hardware key combined with a PIN code; or a phone running the Microsoft Authenticator app. It works with Outlook.com, Office 365, Skype, OneDrive, Cortana, Microsoft Edge, Xbox Live on the PC, Mixer, the Microsoft Store, Bing and the MSN portal site. The prospect of moving to hardware keys after decades of using just passwords may strike you as daunting, but it’s probably a good idea to get used to the idea now. Passwords have been purloined from countless companies through data breaches, and the ones that are hardest to crack also happen to be the ones that are hardest to remember. Fingerprint and face authentication on… [Read full story]
You are here: / / New hardware security keys let you log into Outlook, Xbox, Office websites with no password at all
CNET is an American media website that publishes reviews, news, articles, blogs, podcasts and videos on technology and consumer electronics globally.