Security Advisor

Microsoft Reveals Windows Hello Biometrics for Windows 10

Also, the company announced a new security tool that will use Windows 10 device authentication over user passwords.

Microsoft is looking to bypass security issues associated with user passwords with a couple of upcoming security features for Windows 10.

First, Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 devices will include biometric authentication that would replace traditional passwords. According to a blog post released today announcing the new feature, called Windows Hello, the technology will allow for logins using multiple input methods.

"With Windows Hello, you'll be able to just show your face, or touch your finger, to new devices running Windows 10 and be immediately recognized," wrote Microsoft's Joe Belfiore. "And not only is Windows Hello more convenient than typing a password -- it's more secure!"

The feature extends well beyond simple login of a system. Windows Hello will allow for authentication of apps, access to protected enterprise content and "even certain online experiences without a password being stored on your device," according to Belfiore.

While Microsoft has not confirmed which Windows 10-based devices this security feature is coming to, Belfiore said that laptops and other hardware that has an included fingerprint scanner will be able to take advantage of Windows Hello. For the iris and facial detection, a special infrared camera will be needed for verification. This should help to avoid unauthorized access by someone attempting to log in with a photograph.

According to the company, Windows Hello will offer enterprise-grade security that will meet strict regulations used in industries such as health care, financial, government and defense.

Along with Windows Hello, Microsoft also announced a new security tool for developers code-named "Passport," that will provide a way for users to securely sign in without the use of passwords. Aimed at IT and Web devs, applications or Web sites can securely authenticate the Windows 10 device instead of authenticating a user through a stored password.

Belfiore said this should help curb the theft of network-stored passwords if a breach occurs because there are no passwords to be stored. "Windows 10 will ask you to verify that you have possession of your device before it authenticates on your behalf, with a PIN or Windows Hello on devices with biometric sensors, wrote Belifore. "Once authenticated with 'Passport,' you will be able to instantly access a growing set of Web sites and services across a range of industries -- favorite commerce sites, e-mail and social networking services, financial institutions, business networks and more."

Along with being supported by Windows 10, Passport will also be available for Azure Active Directory at launch.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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