Microsoft on Wednesday informed owners of consumer accounts that they can now go completely passwordless and rely on other, more secure authentication methods.
Users with existing Microsoft accounts can delete their password from the account, and new accounts can be created without a password. Users will be able to rely on Microsoft’s Authenticator app, Windows Hello, physical security keys, or phone/email verification codes to sign in to services such as Outlook, OneDrive and Family Safety.
Users who want to go passwordless need to access the Advanced Security Options menu in their account and select Passwordless Account to remove their password. However, they need to ensure that another authentication method is linked to the account before removing the password.
Microsoft says the feature will be rolled out over the coming weeks.
As for enterprises, Microsoft announced the general availability of passwordless authentication for commercial users in March 2021, and the tech giant says it will soon start working on eliminating passwords for Azure AD accounts.
“Administrators will be able to choose whether passwords are required, allowed, or simply don’t exist for a set of users. Users will be able to choose not to set a password when creating an account or to remove their password from an existing account,” explained Joy Chik, corporate VP of the identity division in Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group.
Passwords are considered a highly insecure authentication method since they can easily get compromised, and attackers who obtain users’ passwords may be able to access even accounts that are protected with multi-step authentication, particularly if it relies on SMS messages.