You can now sign into your Microsoft account using hardware-based security keys


Posts: 2,955   +589
Staff member

Microsoft has been trying to kill off the password as we know it for some time now, and it's finally achieved that goal across its own suite of services - well, sort of. While using a password will undoubtedly remain a sign-in option for the foreseeable future, Microsoft now offers several solid alternatives to its users.

Windows Hello, which uses facial recognition to sign you into your account, is one example, but now users can take advantage of an even more secure login method: hardware-based security keys.

You're free to use any security key you'd like -- as long as it supports the FIDO2 authentication standard -- but Yubico's YubiKey device line-up has a few particularly affordable options. The $20 "Security Key" is a good way to get started if you don't want to shell out too much cash.

Regardless of which device you buy, you'll be able to use it across a wide variety of Microsoft services, including Outlook, Skype, OneDrive, Xbox Live, and even Windows itself.

If you want to take advantage of the new sign-in option, there are two catches to be aware of. First, your machine will need to be running the bug-ridden Windows 10 "October" update, and second, you must use the company's Edge browser to log in to the previously-mentioned services.

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Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,242   +810
Well they broke 2FA globally yesterday on o365. They are hopeless. Have a good think about what that means.

Not going to trust them with a security product for a LONG time until it has some pretty solid field testing.


Posts: 219   +83
Why would you need to "log in" to Edge to access apps that aren't based in Edge?
It gives me goosebumps when I hear these words together: you must use Edge. (but I assume if Edge was Internet Explorer I would say the same, but it is even more limited in some way)

I get it they want to push the Edge, but this is far more concerning that anything else...Why? Even Apple not pushing Safari that much, if you trying to set any other browser as a default, it will give you the choice to keep Safari or set the new browser and not pre-selecting/highlighting/pushing Safari in any way.
I just simply turned Edge off when another browser installed, that's it, no way to force me (and I recommend for everyone to turn it off as soon as you can).


Posts: 3,836   +1,186
To be honest, Edge has come a long way since the beginning and it feels faster than Chrome now, that said, I still don't use it very often and yes, it's a shame they are pushing it.

On regards to O365 MFA outage, things like this although shouldn't happen, they happen everywhere and that's the reason why you will never see a 100% uptime SLA anywhere.


Posts: 1,958   +1,144
Yeah, I don't hate Edge, I just like Vivaldi and Waterfox better.

I can see needing to use if you are logging into one of those services ' online portal? But the desktop version? Into Windows itself? Why? Or was the writing just confused here?