What you need to know
- Microsoft will allow people to remove passwords from their Microsoft account.
- People will be able to securely sign in to accounts with the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, a security key, or two-factor authentication.
- Microsoft explains that passwords are often insecure and repeated across several websites and services.
Microsoft has marched towards a passwordless future for years. That march took a significant step today when Microsoft announced that people will be able to remove passwords from their Microsoft account. To secure accounts without a password, people will be able to use the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, a security key, or two-factor authentication. The option will roll out over the coming weeks.
Passwordless authentication started rolling out to commercial users back in March. Microsoft states that 200 million commercial customers already use the passwordless option. Many of Microsoft's own employees are passwordless as well. "We have been rolling this out at Microsoft and nearly 100 percent of Microsoft is now passwordless," said Vasu Jakkal, corporate vice president for Microsoft Security, Compliance, Identity, and Management, in a blog post.
Microsoft explains the common risks associated with passwords in a Tech Community post. Many people choose insecure passwords and repeat them across services and websites. This leaves individuals more open to attacks from threat actors.
"We are expected to create complex and unique passwords, remember them, and change them frequently, but nobody likes doing that either. For the past couple of years, we've been saying that the future is password-less, and today I am excited to announce the next step in that vision," said Jakkal.
To remove a password from your Microsoft account, you need to visit Advanced Security Options for your Microsoft account. You can then select Passwordless Account. Prompts will guide you through the process of removing your password.
We have a complete guide on how to set up two-factor authentication on a Microsoft account if you're new to Microsoft Authenticator.
Microsoft explains that it is working on a way to eliminate passwords for Azure AD accounts as well. Admins will be able to choose whether passwords are required, allowed, or don't exist for specific users.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.