Your Windows 10 Password Could Be a Thing of the past Soon
In this day in age, you won’t find a device that lacks password authentication capability. While almost every computer, phone, and tablet in the country are protected by a password, companies are coming up with new ways to protect their devices. Microsoft is the latest example of this. They just recently announced that Windows 10 users (an estimated 800 million people) will lose their ability to use a password to sign in.
Microsoft looks at the traditional user created Windows 10 password as a less secure way to access your computer than the more modern solutions that are already in place. Windows Hello, Microsoft’s biometric recognition introduced in 2015, will become fully FIDO2 certified this month. FIDO stands for “Fast Identity Online” and it is an alliance that aims to replace passwords by using open standards to drive technologies for more secure methods of authentication. FIDO2 certifications are backed by strong cryptographic security protocols making Microsoft Hello “safer”.
Microsoft, which is a huge supporter of the FIDO Alliance, has not specifically said that they are removing passwords from their devices. Their support for the alliance and the Windows 10 FIDO2 certification points to that outcome though. Andrew Shikiar who is the CMO of the FIDO Alliance claims that “Microsoft has been a preeminent advocate of FIDO Alliance’s mission to move the world beyond passwords.”
Yogesh Mehta, Microsoft’s crypto, authentication, and identity manager, stated in a recent conference “We encourage companies and software developers to adopt a strategy for achieving a passwordless future and start today by supporting password alternatives such as Windows Hello.” While clearly a strong advocate for the cause, he also stated that getting to this future passwordless society requires “interoperable solutions that work across all industry platforms and browsers.”
Personally, I believe that if a company with so many users makes such a big move it will cause controversy. There are still people out there who prefer an old school password and don’t want an alternative method of signing into their devices. I’m all for advancing security measures but hopefully, Microsoft will leave the traditional password sign in option with a security disclaimer.
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