Windows 11 Users to Benefit from Enhanced Passkey Support
During a recent event focused on AI and security tools, as well as new Surface devices, Microsoft made an exciting announcement for Windows 11 users. Passkeys, which are digital credentials used to authenticate users for websites and apps, will soon be more accessible. Once the enhanced passkey support is available, Windows 11 users can create a passkey through Windows Hello, which is Windows’ biometric identity and access control feature. This passkey can then be used to access supported websites or apps through facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, or PIN recognition. Overall, this development will make passkeys more user-friendly and convenient for Windows 11 users.
Users will have the option to manage their Windows 11 passkeys on their own devices or store them on their mobile phones to make accessing accounts even more convenient. Microsoft has been working closely with the FIDO Alliance and its industry partners for several years to create a passwordless future with passkeys. Passkeys are the future of accessing websites and applications, providing a cross-platform, cross-ecosystem solution for authentication.
Microsoft started rolling out support for passkey management earlier this year in the Windows Insider dev channel, but it is now generally available. Other major tech companies, such as Google and Apple, have also adopted passkeys technology. A year ago, Microsoft, Google, and Apple pledged to adopt the password-free sign-in standard, known as “passkeys,” from the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium. This effort has been slowly coming to fruition, making it easier for users to access their accounts with greater security.
Passkeys use cryptographic key pairs to synchronize users’ authentication across their devices through the cloud. This allows users to sign in to websites and apps using the same biometrics or PINs they use to unlock their devices. With this technology, it is far more challenging for bad actors to access users’ accounts remotely, as physical access to the user’s device is required. While multifactor authentication systems and password managers offer some security improvements over traditional passwords, they are not without their flaws. For instance, an authentication code sent via SMS can be intercepted, and for some users, using a third-party password management tool can be a hassle.
Passkeys have become increasingly popular in recent months, with significant advancements in their support across various platforms. In May, Google announced passkey support for personal accounts and login services, while iOS gained passkey management tools in September. Web browser extensions from companies like Dashlane and NordPass now allow passkey storage, with NordPass joining the fray in February 2023. Popular websites like GitHub, PayPal, and DocuSign have also implemented passkey support for added security.