Security

Will Microsoft finally kill the password with its Authenticator upgrade?

Microsoft has extended its support for passwordless login using the app to the hundreds of thousands of Azure Active Directory-connected apps used by business, one of a series of security improvements announced at Ignite.

Microsoft is hoping to finally kill passwords within businesses with its latest upgrade to its Microsoft Authenticator App.

The password is increasingly viewed as an insecure way to authenticate users, with employees often resorting to weak passwords as they try to keep up with corporate demands for frequent changes.

Microsoft already offers a range of alternatives to passwords, such as Windows Hello facial and fingerprint log-in, which is used by over 47 million users, and the Microsoft Authenticator app, which can be used to log into a range of Microsoft and third-party accounts. The iOS and Android app eliminates the need for passwords, by offering authentication via a combination of phone and fingerprint, face or PIN for a more secure, multi-factor sign-in.

Now Microsoft has extended its support for passwordless login using the app to the hundreds of thousands of Azure Active Directory-connected apps used by business.

"Cybersecurity is the central challenge of the digital age. Without it, the most basic human rights like privacy cannot exist," said Rob Lefferts, corporate vice president for security at Microsoft.

"Every day organizations take precious time and resources away from their core business mission to defend against and recover from cyberattacks."

This new feature is one of a series of new products and services designed to enhance data and network security for its enterprise customers announced today at Microsoft's Ignite conference, including:

  • New offerings for Microsoft Secure Score, a dynamic report card that assesses Microsoft 365 customer environments and makes recommendations to improve security that Microsoft claims can reduce breaches thirtyfold. Microsoft Secure Score now provides additional controls from inside Microsoft Cloud App Security, Azure Active Directory and Azure Security Center.
  • Microsoft is bundling together existing threat protection services under a new offering called Microsoft Threat Protection, which will be available to Microsoft 365 customers. The service is designed to help protect, detect and resolve cyberthreats, bringing together advanced threat protection and auto-remediation across email, PCs, identities and infrastructure.
  • Microsoft also launched the public preview of Azure confidential computing, which it says will help protect the confidentiality and integrity of data in use on the cloud platform. The service will be available in public preview on the new DC series of Azure virtual machines, previously available in private preview and backed by Intel SGX technology, from October 1st.
  • Microsoft also revealed that 61 companies are now signed up to the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, a cross-company agreement to bring the entire technology sector together in defending customers from malicious attacks by cybercriminal enterprises and nation-states.

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    About Nick Heath

    Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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