Microsoft to introduce biometric authentication
Windows 10 to support password-killing Fast Identity Online 2.0 specification
Microsoft is about to officially join the fight for authentication without pesky passwords. It recently announced that Windows 10 will support the Fast Identity Online (FIDO) 2.0 specification. The end result is that instead of using passwords to log in to PCs, Microsoft services, and other third-party accounts, you’ll also be able to use a fingerprint or eye scan – possibly integrated with a key fob for two-factor authentication.
In its blog post announcing FIDO in Windows 10, Microsoft focused largely on features that would interest IT types, such as FIDO support for major enterprise-focused cloud services including Office 365 Exchange Online, Salesforce, Citrix and Box. But FIDO in Windows 10 will also work with consumer services such as Windows 10 sign-ins, Outlook.com, and OneDrive.
The call to kill passwords with a better authentication solution has been going on for some time. FIDO appears to be the best chance for a one-size fits all solution to password-less authentication. The FIDO Alliance includes many major tech companies and other businesses with a big interest in security, including Google, MasterCard, PayPal, and Visa. Microsoft joined the FIDO Alliance in late 2013. When heavy hitters work together on problems like this the end result tends to be a near-universal solution.
The idea behind FIDO isn’t new. Instead of using passwords – that can be forgotten, lost, stolen or even guessed – a FIDOequipped device would use biometrics such as fingerprint and eye scans that are much harder to acquire. This initial login method could also be paired with a key fob for twofactor authentication for added security.
Biometric scanners have already been integrated into smartphones, laptops, and other devices for years. The difference with