Microsoft Accounts dumped passwords for something much safer

Now you can sign in to your Microsoft Account using Windows Hello, FIDO2 devices

A security key such as YubiKey or Windows Hello compatible fingerprint reader/camera can replace your user name and password to sign in to Microsoft services.

Though Microsoft explains that many FIDO2 CTAP security key will work with Microsoft Account sign-in (the company has listed required features and extensions in a separate help document), it specifically mentions Yubico and Feitian Technologies as its partners for this new initiative in today's announcement. And its Microsoft Edge web browser now supports the widest array of authenticators compared to other major browsers, Microsoft says.

In both cases, Microsoft stresses that the system won't easily fall prone to phishing attacks or malware, since it requires an indication that you were present and used a "local gesture" (such as a face scan or PIN code) to login. "In fact, we dislike them so much that we've been busy at work trying to create a world without them-a world without passwords". You can configure your MSA for a security key or Windows Hello there. The user only has to press a button on the security key to log into a website if they use a browser (such as Edge) that supports the WebAuthn web API, which connects the FIDO 2 hardware to a website's server. Then, navigate to Security "more security options".

You will now be at a page asking what type of security key you wish to use.

FIDO2 devices protect your account by utilizing a private/public encryption key pair that is created by the security key.

To do so, open Microsoft Edge and navigate to the Microsoft account website.

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You will be redirected to the setup experience, where you will insert or tap your security key.

Microsoft will now prompt you to enter your key.

Take the follow-up action by touching your security key.

And sure enough, when I try to sign-in to Microsoft account-based services with Google Chrome, there's no option to use Windows Hello or my preconfigured security key.

Name your security key so that you can distinguish it from other keys.

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