Microsoft Wants to Protect Your Windows Devices with Physical Keys

April 19, 2018, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Tech companies have been pushing beyond the edge to come up with an alternate for passwords. Remedies like two-factor authentication and face/fingerprint recognition have become more popular, yet human frailty is forcing the developers to come up with even more. Now, Microsoft is up to it with a physical solution.

Microsoft is updating its Windows Hello security framework in alliance with the Fast Identity Online (FIDO), as a result of which it will now be offering support to the newly ratified FIDO2 security keys. Not too far from now, users will be able to get their Windows device unlocked using the removable USB key, which will have the fingerprint tapped inside.

Microsoft’s solution appears to be a mix of modern-day secure solution and old-school technology. Relying on a physical device to unlock your device would be the least one would wish for. But the advanced security framework and the need for advanced security could push enterprises to shift to the technology.

It’s similar to having a physical key to get doors opened, but the difference is that Microsoft will have additional layer of security by adding fingerprint authentication. Chances are also that Microsoft could opt for other authentication options including customized security codes. This would bring down the misuse of the physical keys in case it gets stolen or lost.

Microsoft could also have the USB keys replaced with NFC cards, which would make it more convenient with the modern-day devices. Either way, users will have to carry with them a physical key, preserving it just like you would do with any other key.

Windows Hello FIDO2 Security Key is currently available in limited preview. We would get to know more of it when it becomes available for enterprise customers, which shouldn’t be too far from now.

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