Outlook users who want to sign in without using a password are getting a new feature to help stay secure. Known as Authenticator Lite, the tool is debuting now in public preview and allows users to authenticate by leveraging the Microsoft Authenticator app on their phone.
To do this, users must have a Microsoft Account. Microsoft brought passwordless capabilities to Outlook alongside OneDrive in 2021. It is a part of Microsoft's overall goal to ditch passwords.
Among the password-less decisions the company has made in recent years include password-free login for Azure AD through Microsoft Authenticator. Elsewhere, customers also get password-free Microsoft Account login with FIDO2 compatibility. Then there's Windows Hello, which uses biometric tools to remove the need for a password.
Microsoft launched its Authenticator app back in 2016. The service provides native multi-factor authentication on devices when accessing a Microsoft Account. Since the launch, numerous features have been added, including a phone sign-in ability, fingerprint support, password free login, and until recently it also supported the Apple Watch but Microsoft has now deprecated support.
How Does Authenticator Lite Work?
Authenticator Lite taps directly into the full Microsoft Authenticator and is based on the FIDO2 standard, which enables passwordless authentication across devices and platforms. Users can enroll their Microsoft account for Authenticator Lite by scanning a QR code on the Outlook sign-in page. Once enrolled, they can sign into Outlook by approving a notification on their phone, or by entering a one-time code generated by the app.
Microsoft says the tool brings more efficient ways to access Outlook without compromising security. This is especially true for users who have Outlook across multiple devices or hold multiple Microsoft Accounts.
Authenticator Lite also reduces the risk of phishing, password reuse, and account compromise. Users can still use their password as a backup option if they lose access to their phone or the app.
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