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Microsoft Extends Windows Hello Reach with New Keyboard

While a growing number of PCs now support Windows Hello authentication, many still can't take advantage of the feature aimed at letting users access their systems without a password. The new Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID, launched last week, brings Windows Hello Authentication to any PC running Windows 10.

Biometric authentication was among many key new features introduced with Windows 10, released two years ago this week. The number of new systems that support Windows Hello is on the rise but many still lack the necessary hardware -- especially lower-end PCs and older ones upgraded to Windows 10. Microsoft is looking to encourage users to create unique passwords for various accounts and believes Windows Hello will encourage that practice.

"Studies show more than 80 percent of people use the same password across multiple Web sites, managing around 20-30 different accounts," noted Jennifer Thompson, product marketing manager for accessories, in a blog post. "We want to make sure that everyone running Windows 10 can experience the beautiful relief that comes from letting go of your written Pa55w0Rd5! So, we worked to deliver a predictable, intent-driven and simple solution for someone to quickly and securely log into their PC, or authenticate an action."

Microsoft earlier this year pointed to a number of peripherals that provide Windows Hello authentication from Acer, Asus, Fitbit, HID, Huawei, Nymi, Plantronics, Vanconsys and Yubico. RSA Secure Access Authenticator also provides Windows Hello authentication. Nevertheless, while Windows Hello supports biometric authentication to PCs, which reduces the likelihood of unauthorized access to an unattended PC, the number of apps that support Windows Hello integration is paltry. Besides Microsoft OneDrive, the company now points to only 11 third-party tools that support Windows Hello, such as Dropbox, Citrix ShareFile, OneLocker Password File and Cloud Drive.

The new keyboard can link to PCs via Bluetooth or a hardwire connection and costs $130, with a matching mouse priced at $50.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/31/2017 at 11:40 AM


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