Microsoft Gets Rid Of Passwords

BY Ray Stevens / ON Jan 15, 2022

All businesses hold important and private information over the internet these days, putting them at risk of a serious security breach if someone was to hack into this data. Despite this, many have a distrust of online security.

This is one of the reasons why Microsoft has revealed plans to allow users to go ‘passwordless’, so they can log on to their accounts by using their fingerprints or other authenticating methods, reported the Daily Mail.

Technology employees will know this is not a new move, as the firm introduced passwordless log-ins for its business clients earlier in March. However, it is now rolling this out for all its Microsoft customers, so long as they have up-to-date technology to support this upgrade.

Microsoft believes that using facial recognition programming, a physical security key or SMS or email codes is far safer than asking the user to input a password, as these can easily end up in the wrong hands.

University of Surrey’s security expert Alan Woodward told BBC News that it is “easier said than done” to keep passwords as safe as possible.

Therefore, he added: “Maybe the time is now right to start looking for something different. There are a number of different ways this could be done – and it would be good if everyone moved on, really, and tried to find a way of doing this.”

According to CyberNews’ lead cybersecurity researcher Mantas Sasnauskas, Microsoft is driving this technology forward, as it is widely recognised that having a password alone is not enough of a protection for online accounts.

“We have known for some time that multi-factor authentication is one of the strongest ways to protect an account, as access to multiple devices and biometric data is required for access. With this system in place, it becomes much harder for threat actors to compromise an account,” Mr Sasnauskas.

Passwordless technology could become popular among businesses, as a recent survey found a huge proportion do not trust online security.

According to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MeriTalk, nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of Americans claimed their social media activity was not secure; 63 per cent were worried their online information could reveal their physical location; and half of those asked said they believed their private text conversations could be looked at.

As a result, 71 per cent want national standards to be introduced to dictate how companies collect, process and share personal data.

What’s more, 85 per cent of Americans over the age of 40 want cyber criminals to face stronger punishments, while this is true of 70 per cent of younger adults.

Even though this survey was conducted in the US, British businesses could become increasingly concerned about their online protection. This is after the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) predicted 2021 could be the worst year in history for data breaches.

Figures for the year to date stand at 1,291, which is significantly higher than the 1,108 recorded for the same 12-month period in 2020.

To protect your business as much as possible, consider regular penetration testing.