Windows 10: two-factor authentication coming to every device

Windows 10 will help protect users against phishing attacks and database breaches using built-in two-factor authentication.

“In today’s world, the market for cyber-attacks … is wide-reaching and attacks are increasingly high-profile and successful in execution,” said Jim Alkove, head of Microsoft’s Windows enterprise management team.

“We will have nearly everything in place to move the world away from the use of single-factor authentication options, like passwords,” Alkove added.

Windows 10

While two-factor authentication often requires an additional piece of hardware, such as a key fob or smartcard, Windows 10 uses your own devices to verify your identity.

The first half of the process requires the user to register at least one device as trusted for authentication purposes. This then acts like a smartcard for all other Windows 10 devices, providing it can connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Alternatively, users can register all their Windows 10 hardware as trusted, meaning they can be logged into each independently of others.

The second half is a PIN, which can be made up of any number of alphanumeric characters, or a biometric input such as a fingerprint.

This means that, even if a user’s PIN is stolen, it’s useless without a trusted device and, if a device is stolen, it’s useless without the PIN or fingerprint.

While the feature, which is not currently turned on in the Windows 10 Technical Preview, is being promoted to the enterprise market, Alkove said it will also be available to, and useful for, consumers.

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