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Microsoft Elevates Security with Passkey Support for Windows 11 Users

During an event that focused on AI and security tools alongside the introduction of new Surface devices, Microsoft made an exciting announcement for Windows 11 users. Soon, they will have an enhanced capability to utilize passkeys, which are digital credentials used for authentication on websites and applications.

This upcoming expanded support for passkeys in Windows 11 will allow users to create passkeys using Windows Hello, Microsoft’s biometric identity and access control feature. With their newly created passkeys, Windows 11 users can seamlessly access supported websites and apps using facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, or a personal identification number (PIN).

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One notable feature of Windows 11 passkeys is their versatility in management. Users can handle their passkeys on the devices where they are stored, or they can conveniently save them to their mobile phones.

In a recent blog post, Microsoft expressed its commitment to a passwordless future through passkeys, emphasizing that passkeys are poised to become the universal solution for accessing websites and applications across different platforms and ecosystems.

Microsoft initially began introducing passkey management support several months ago within the Windows Insider dev channel. Now, with this announcement, passkey functionality is becoming generally available to all Windows 11 users.

It’s worth noting that other major tech giants, including Google and Apple, have also embraced passkeys technology. About a year ago, these companies joined forces to adopt the password-free sign-in standard, commonly referred to as “passkeys,” developed by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium. The collaborative effort among these tech giants is starting to yield results, bringing us closer to a more secure and streamlined authentication experience.

Passkeys operate by synchronizing users’ authentication across their devices through cloud-based cryptographic key pairs. This means that users can sign in to websites and apps using the same biometrics or PINs they employ to unlock their devices. This approach significantly enhances security by requiring physical access to the user’s device, making it much more challenging for malicious actors to gain remote access to user accounts.

While multifactor authentication systems and password managers have offered improvements over traditional passwords, they are not without their shortcomings. For example, authentication codes sent via SMS can be intercepted. Additionally, some users find third-party password management tools to be cumbersome.

Recognizing these limitations, major players in the tech industry have rallied behind passkeys as a more robust and user-friendly alternative. Google integrated passkey support into Android and Google Chrome, and Apple introduced passkey management tools for iOS. Several websites, including GitHub.com, PayPal, and DocuSign.com, now support passkeys, further underscoring the growing adoption of this technology.

In conclusion, Microsoft’s announcement regarding expanded passkey support in Windows 11 is a significant step towards a passwordless future. With this innovation, users can look forward to a more secure and convenient authentication experience across various websites and applications, aligning with the broader industry trend towards passkeys as a superior authentication method.