Microsoft rolling out passwordless log-in for consumer accounts

Officials with Microsoft this week began rolling out password-free log-in options for consumers, allowing users to instead use the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello or a security key or verification code to access their accounts.

>> Read more trending news

In an announcement Wednesday, Vassu Jakkal, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of security, compliance and identity, said users will be able to remove passwords from personal accounts, including Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft OneDrive and Microsoft Family Safety.

“We know people hate passwords,” he told The Washington Post in an emailed statement. “Thirty percent of people said they just have stopped using an account or service they were trying to log into rather than deal with a password reset. I’ve even done that. Imagine the shopping carts, memberships or accounts that have been abandoned because of password issues.”

In Wednesday’s statement, Jakkal said the move is also aimed at better securing accounts against hackers. According to Microsoft, weak passwords are the entry point for most cyberattacks, with 579 password attacks happening every second, or 18 billion each year.

“The number of cyberattacks has increased as a result of identity and password theft—as defenders, we really have our work cut out for us in this asymmetric game,” Jakkal told Wired. “Without passwords you get advanced security, and it’s so much easier. It’s just a slam dunk.”

The move follows a similar one announced in March for commercial accounts.

To go passwordless:

  • Log in to your Microsoft account online.
  • Click on “Advanced Security Options.”
  • Under “Additional Security Options,” click “Turn on” under “Passwordless Account.”
  • From there, follow the on-screen prompts to set up your account as password-free.