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Microsoft users can now sign-in without using passwords: Here is how it works

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Highlights:

  • You Can Now Sign-in to Your Microsoft Accounts Without a Password.
  • There are 579 password attacks every second.
  • Passwords are difficult to remember and easy to crack.

Nobody likes passwords. They’re inconvenient. They’re a prime target for attacks. Yet for years they’ve been the most important layer of security for everything in our digital lives—from email to bank accounts, shopping carts to video games. Users are expected to create complex and unique passwords, remember them, and change them frequently, but nobody likes doing that either.

Beginning today, you can now completely remove the password from your Microsoft account. Use the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, a security key, or a verification code sent to your phone or email to sign in to your favorite apps and services, such as Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft Family Safety, and more. This feature will be rolled out over the coming weeks.

“Passwords are one of the most annoying and least secure things in our lives. A new YouGov survey commissioned by Microsoft found that 30 percent of people stopped using an account or service because they couldn’t remember their password, and they would rather abandon the account than deal with a password reset,” Microsoft said in a statement.

By dropping passwords out of the equation, the idea is to make it difficult for malicious actors to gain access to an account by leveraging a combination of factors such as your phone (something you have) and biometrics (something you are) for identification.

Users can use the new feature to sign in to Microsoft services such as Microsoft 365, Teams, Outlook, OneDrive, and Family Safety, but after linking their personal accounts to an authenticator app like Microsoft Authenticator, and turning on the “Passwordless Account” setting under Advanced Security Options > Additional Security Options.

Here is how you can set up Microsoft Authenticator App:

  • First, ensure you have the Microsoft Authenticator app installed and linked to your personal Microsoft account.
  • Next, visit your Microsoft account, sign in, and choose Advanced Security Options. Under Additional Security Options, you’ll see Passwordless Account. Select Turn on.
  • Finally, follow the on-screen prompts, and then approve the notification from your Authenticator app. Once you’ve approved, you’re free from your password!
  • If you decide you prefer using a password, you can always add it back to your account.

Microsoft said each second, 579 password attacks take place — a whopping 18 billion each year. Two reasons for such attacks, according to Microsoft, are hacker nature and human nature. Jakkal said it gets difficult for users to create a secure enough but also easy-to-remember password.

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