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Microsoft Brings Passwordless Sign-In to Consumer Accounts

Back in March 2021, Microsoft introduced a passwordless sign-in experience for work or school accounts. With the help of the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, or FIDO2 security keys, corporate users can sign into services connected to Azure Active Directory (AD), like Microsoft 365, without needing to remember their account password.

Microsoft has been pushing passwordless sign-in over the past couple of years as a more secure way to provide access than passwords and multifactor authentication.

Passwordless sign-in replaces passwords with something you have, like a security key, plus something you are or know. Something you are, might be a biometric gesture like a fingerprint. Something you know might be a PIN.

For more information on passwordless sign-in for corporate work or school accounts, check out the following articles on Petri:

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Microsoft Accounts (MSA) get passwordless sign-in

Starting today, September 15th, consumers can now completely remove passwords from their Microsoft accounts. MSAs are used to log into services like Skype, Outlook.com, and many others.

Why you should go passwordless

Microsoft gives four key reasons why you should go passwordless.

  1. Passwords make you an easy target.
  2. They waste time.
  3. Passwords aren’t user-friendly.
  4. They take up too much brain space.

In a YouGov survey commissioned by Microsoft, 43% of respondents said that they experience problems with passwords every month. Wasting time for users and IT support alike.

And 27% of people rely on their memory to recall passwords. And naturally, those who don’t use a password manager or passwordless sign-in, forget their passwords quickly.

Microsoft has been working hard to provide a familiar and simple to use experience that works with a wide range of devices and services. Microsoft says:

Weak passwords are the entry point for the majority of attacks across enterprise and consumer accounts. There are a whopping 579 password attacks every second — that’s 18 billion every year.

How to enable passwordless sign-in on a Microsoft Account

Consumers can enable passwordless sign-in by just following a few simple steps. They will need to have the Microsoft Authenticator app installed on a smartphone and link it to a personal Microsoft Account.

And then visit account.microsoft.com, and go to Advanced Security Options. From there, users can enable a ‘Passwordless Account’.

Your Passwordless Future Starts Now

If you would like to learn more about passwordless sign-in, Microsoft is hosting a digital event on October 13th called Your Passwordless Future Starts Now.

During the 90-minute event, Microsoft will discuss best practices for building a passwordless future and share insights. Click here to register for the event.

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IT consultant, Contributing Editor @PetriFeed, and trainer @Pluralsight. All about Microsoft, Office 365, Azure, and Windows Server.