Microsoft is beta testing an app that unlocks Windows 10 PCs via Bluetooth

By Shawn Knight
Mar 9, 2016
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  1. Microsoft is one of many companies hard at work on developing a successor to the modern password. The Redmond-based firm already offers a number of alternative log-in methods in Windows 10 including setting up a PIN and using a picture password.

    Now, Microsoft is quietly beta testing another approach that relies on your nearby smartphone.

    A new app in the Microsoft Store called Phone Sign-in Beta is a beta version of the Authenticator app described as the first step towards a world without passwords. Once your device has been synched with your Windows 10 PC via Bluetooth, all you'll need to do to unlock said PC is open the mobile app and tap on the nearby computer.

    Unfortunately, the listing currently says it's only for internal testing purposes. Microsoft says future versions will include support for Microsoft accounts, a sign-in solution for browsers and VPN, one-time passcode generation and MFA approval through notifications.

    One Twitter user claims he was able to get the app to work, saying all that's needed is a work PIN, Office 365 or an internal account. He said he might post a video of it in action later but as of writing, no proof has been provided.

    Do note that the app is currently only compatible with Windows Phone 10 devices.

    Windows 10 users – what method do you currently utilize to unlock your PC (or maybe it's not protected at all?)? Let us know in the comments section below.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +113

    I have been using blue tooth to unlock my computer for 3 years...I walk up to it and it wakes and unlocks.
    wontolla likes this.
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,294   +662

    Oh? I'd love to know how so I can make sure the IT guys block that on every single machine they oversee. That's the most insanely insecure thing I've heard of next to facial recognition.
  4. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +113

    Lol it only unlocks on a paired device and you can only pair it when it's unlocked, it doesnt work with just any bluetooth, silly.
  5. infiltrator

    infiltrator TS Booster Posts: 140   +21

    Not everything in the IT world is 100% secure. A determined hacker will figure out a way to unlock your computer via his bluetooth enabled Smartphone, silly...
  6. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +113

    A determined hacker can unlock a computer easily enough by sitting down at it. Silly. :)
    The 'hacker' needs to be within 330 feet (with a class 1) to even transmit to the computer and most are class 2 that operate within 33 feet. The power of the transmitter governs the range over which a Bluetooth device can operate and, generally, devices are said to fall into one of three classes: class 1 are the most powerful and can operate up to 100m (330ft), class 2 (the most common kind) operate up to 10m (33ft), and class 3 are the least powerful and don't go much beyond 1m (3.3ft). So even if they are using the most powerful type, they would be in your building already anyways and you have a bigger security problem than bluetooth unlocks.

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