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Microsoft aims to kill off passwords in 2021

passwords
(Image credit: italii Vodolazskyi / Shutterstock)

Microsoft has made no secret of the fact that it doesn’t like passwords, and now the company behind the Windows 10 operating system wants to kill off passwords in 2021.

That’s quite a bold ambition, but in a blog post, the company highlights how 80% of cybercrime attacks are directed at passwords, and one in every 250 corporate accounts is apparently compromised each month.

In fact, Microsoft claims that “passwords are a hassle to use, and they present security risks for users and organizations of all sizes.”

Ending passwords

By including Windows Hello, which allows users to log into Windows 10 (along with websites) using biometric information from finger print scanners or webcams, into the operating system, as well as Windows Hello for Business, passwordless phone sign-in with Microsoft Authenticator, and FIDO2 security keys, Microsoft has already made big strides in removing the need for passwords.

In fact, by May 2020, according to Microsoft, 150 million people were using their passwordless sign-in tech every month.

For 2021, then Microsoft feels confident that it, along with its partners, can banish passwords forever. The company is releasing a “converged registration portal in 2021, where all users can seamlessly manage passwordless credentials via the My Apps portal.”

The idea of never having to enter in a password again, while keeping your security and privacy, is certainly compelling, and Microsoft (along with the likes of Apple with its Touch ID tech) have shown that it is possible.

However, many people may have legitimate concerns about trusting a single company or service to manage all their logins. Microsoft may find that assuaging those fears will be one of its biggest challenges of 2021.

Matt Hanson

Senior Computing editor

Matt (Twitter) is TechRadar's Senior Computing editor. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. If you're encountering a problem or need some advice with your PC or Mac, drop him a line on Twitter.