Along with Microsoft’s announcement of Windows Hello last week, a project code-named “Passport” has been announced as well. Passport allows IT staff, developers, and website authors to provide users a more secure method of authentication and login to their applications and websites. Passport allows for secure authentication without the use of a shared or shareable secret or password. No passcode is stored or sent up to the server, so there is nothing for hackers to capture or steal.
So how does Passport accomplish this? Windows 10 authenticates a user as possessing a device, either via Windows Hello or a PIN if the device doesn’t have biometric sensors. Once this authentication has been achieved, the user is instantly given access to websites and services across IT environments and industry services who have integrated with Passport technology and offer this type of authentication.
Passport will work with Azure Active Directory services when it is released, and Microsoft has joined the FIDO alliance (Fast IDentity Online), an alliance consisting of a federal government cybersecurity taskforce as well as private sector industry leaders and is focused on “shaping a cyber-savvy workforce moving beyond passwords.”
With the combination of Windows Hello and Passport technologies, Microsoft has positioned Windows 10 as being a strong base platform to support moving into an online world where passwords no longer exist and security has moved to being based on biometric characteristics of the user. Reminds me of the Sci-Fi movie I was obsessed with back in the day – Total Recall (the 1990 version, of course).