MICROSOFT HAS EXPANDED its Authenticator software to enable Android and iOS users to sign in to their accounts using just their smartphone.
When you sign in to a Microsoft service for the first time, or on a new machine, you'll be invited to check the app, which is now available for iOS and Android - but not for Microsoft's own Windows Phone mobile operating system - where a list of login attempts are shown, enabling users to approve or deny them.
In some cases, the app will produce an eight-digit password for the authentication.
"This process is easier than standard two-step verification and significantly more secure than only a password, which can be forgotten, phished, or compromised," according to Microsoft's security blog.
"Using your phone to sign-in with PIN or fingerprint is a seamless way to incorporate two account 'proofs' in a way that feels natural and familiar."
The decision gives further evidence that Microsoft has shifted its priorities away from its ailing mobile platform, although it was confirmed this week that dwindling number of Windows Phone devices still being used would be upgraded to the Anniversary Update.
If, for any reason, users don't have access to their phone at the crucial moment then there are fallback options, but using the phone as a login device is one of the simplest and most effective solutions to the growing problem of the post-password era.
The Microsoft Authenticator is not a new app, but this is the first time it has been used as a password alternative for Microsoft accounts. For anyone already using the Authenticator for other products, you can simply go to the app and select 'Enable phone sign-in' from the list.
Windows 10 users already have a bevvie of options for signing in, including fingerprint, biometric, face recognition, PIN code, and FIDO key, courtesy of Windows Hello, the company's ongoing quest to find an alternative to passwords. µ
Removed job listings suggests Cupertino is after chip talent
But some say the overall effect on privacy is unacceptable
Multi-core performance is just 500 points higher than the Snapdragon 845
Opinions are split between genius and Vogon