Microsoft has announced that its Edge browser has moved into a world without passwords, allowing surfers to sign in using more secure means than a collection of (often badly chosen) typed characters – although only testers can currently access the feature in beta.
As the company notes in a blog post, with preview build 17723 of Windows 10, Edge now supports Web Authentication, meaning rather than tapping in passwords to access websites which require them, users can sign in and authenticate themselves with facial or fingerprint recognition via Windows Hello, or a special PIN number (or indeed using portable FIDO2 hardware – a dongle that you plug into the PC like Yubikey).
Chrome and Firefox already offer such authenticators, so Edge is playing catch-up in this respect, although Microsoft asserts that its implementation for Web Authentication represents the most complete level of support available, and caters for a wider variety of authenticators than rival browsers.
Microsoft noted: “We’re working with industry partners on lighting up the first passwordless experiences around the web. At RSA 2018, we shared a sneak peak of how these APIs could be used to approve a payment on the web with your face. Passwordless authentication experiences like this are the foundation of a world without passwords.”
As mentioned, the feature is only available to those testing Windows 10 preview builds currently, but Edge should gain this capability when the next big update for the OS is released later this year.
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