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Microsoft to kill passwords by 2021; Here's what it will do

In the blog post, the company has stated that almost 80% of the cyber-attacks are targeted towards the password with every 250 corporate accounts being hacked every day.

Representational image.
Representational image. (Microsoft)

Looks like Microsoft is about to completely change how we unlock our laptops and smartphones. In the latest blog post the company has spoken about its efforts in moving towards a passwordless future and its intentions to reach that stage in 2021.

In the blog post, the company has stated that almost 80% of the cyber-attacks are targeted towards the password with every 250 corporate accounts being hacked every day. And this has pushed the company to bring a password free solution. 

“In November 2019 at Microsoft Ignite, we shared that more than 100 million people were already using Microsoft’s passwordless sign-in each month. In May of 2020, just in time for World Password Day, that number had already grown to more than 150 million people, and the use of biometrics to access work accounts is now almost double what it was then. We’ve drawn strength from our customers’ determination this year and are set to make passwordless access a reality for all our customers in 2021,” said the company blog post.

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The firm adds that, along with new UX and API's for managing FIDO2 security keys, enabling customers to develop custom solutions and tools, it has also planned to release a converged registration portal in 2021. This will help users manage their passwordless credentials via the ‘My Apps’ portal.

As per the firm, passwordless usage in Azure Active Directory has gone up by over 50% for Windows Hello for Business, passwordless phone sign in with Microsoft authenticator and FIDO2 security keys. 

It has been mentioned that there are over 150 million total passwordless users across Azure Active Directory and Microsoft consumer accounts. The number of consumers using Windows Hello to sign in Windows 10 devices, instead of password, grew to 84.7% from 69.4% last year.

Microsoft is not new to working on passwordless future. The company has been trying to bring more light to this transition since years. Back in February this year, the company announced a preview of Azure Active Directory support for FIDO2 security keys in hybrid environments.

Also read: Microsoft says it found malicious software in its systems

With FIDO2, it enabled users with security keys to access their hybrid Azure Active Directory Windows 10 devices with seamless sign in providing secure access to on-premises and cloud resources with a strong hardware backed public and private key credential. 

In September this year the company, during its Microsoft Ignite conference revealed the new passwordless wizard available through the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.

And in November, the company once again stressed on how FIDO2 is a critical part of Microsoft's passwordless vision.

It is worth adding that besides Microsoft, Apple is also working on this feature. The iPhone maker has stressed a lot on its Touch ID, Apple ID log-in system and Face ID in laptops, mac and iPhones.

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