Passwords are the most commonly used form of digital security. However, it cannot be denied that the password protection system is an outdated security measure. Using modern-day technologies, hackers can relatively easily bypass this security measure.
To avoid such security loopholes, Microsoft unveiled a new functionality for the Microsoft Authenticator app, which may replace password protection with a more secure system.
What Is Authenticator App And What Does The Update Bring?
The Authenticator app is basically a two-factor user authentication program through which one gets an additional layer of security for all external accounts such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and more.
For these accounts, the login process is quite simple. Users have to key in their regular username and password for the site they wish to access. After this, the Authenticator app will generate a one-time code, which the user is required to key in to access their account.
This method is similar to other two-level authentication programs, which other companies or apps offer. However, with the new update from the Redmond-based company, the Authenticator app removes the dependability of passwords when it comes to Microsoft accounts.
"The Authenticator app generates security codes you can use to help keep your Microsoft account secure. You can add your Microsoft account to the app by scanning a barcode or by manually entering a secret key," notes the app's description.
In case of Microsoft accounts, users who have phone-based authentication enabled will simply have to enter the email address which is linked to the account. After doing so, the Authenticator app will display an alert to the user to either approve or reject access to the Microsoft account. If the user taps "Approve", the account will be accessible instantly without them ever needing to enter the password.
Microsoft has integrated such an alert-based authentication in the past. However, at the time, a user was still required to key in their password.
"This process is easier than standard two-step verification and significantly more secure than only a password, which can be forgotten, phished, or compromised," stated Microsoft in a blog post, announcing the release of the Authenticator app.
The Authenticator app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows 10 platforms. However, the new features are only available for the iOS and Android devices and Microsoft is not looking to optimize the app currently for the lesser-used Windows platform.
"Windows Phone makes up <5% of the active users of our Authenticator Apps so we have prioritized getting this working with iOS and Android for now," said Microsoft.
It is also important to note that the application currently only works for Microsoft accounts. Azure Active Directory and Office 365 are not supported.