Microsoft’s Azure AD begins public preview of FIDO2 security keys, enabling passwordless logins

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Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) this week began its public preview of support for FIDO2 security keys.

The implementation of FIDO2 technologies allows users to sign into devices and services without the use of a traditional password. In this case, developers will now be able to offer FIDO2 login solutions for Azure AD-connected apps and services.

“Every day, more and more of our customers move to cloud services and applications. They need to know that the data and services stored in these services are secure. Unfortunately, passwords are no longer an effective security mechanism,” Microsoft’s Alex Simons explained in an official blog post. “We know from industry analysts that 81 percent of successful cyberattacks begin with a compromised username and password. Additionally, traditional MFA, while very effective, can be hard to use and has a very low adoption rate.”

“It’s clear we need to provide our customers with authentication options that are secure and easy to use, so they can confidently access information without having to worry about hackers taking over their accounts. This is where passwordless authentication comes in. We believe it will help to significantly and permanently reduce the risk of account compromise.”

To coincide with the added support for FIDO2 security keys, Microsoft, today, also announced a partnership with Feitian Technologies, HID Global, and Yubico, three companies that specialize in the creation of modern secure login hardware using biometrics, NFC and USB security keys, and smart cards.

All three companies are currently offering discounts on their hardware for organisations interested in investing in bulk. Details on each offer can be found here.

Microsoft began working with the FIDO organization way back in 2013 and has since been an active party in developing newer and more secure technologies. The company’s own Windows Hello login method gained FIDO2 certification in May.