Microsoft has announced that it is rolling out a new feature for its Authenticator app that aims to make two-factor authentication (2FA) more secure and convenient. Microsoft calls the feature number-matching, and it involves users confirming a number displayed on their sign-in screen by tapping the same number on their Authenticator app.
According to Microsoft, this feature will help prevent phishing attacks that try to trick users into approving a sign-in request from a malicious website or app. With number-matching, users will have to verify that the number they see on their device matches the one they see on their sign-in screen before they can approve the request.
Microsoft says that number-matching will be enabled by default for all accounts that use Authenticator for 2FA, starting today. Users will see a prompt on their sign-in screen asking them to open the Authenticator app and tap the matching number. If they don't see a matching number, they can decline the request and report it as suspicious.
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.
The Recent Launch of Authenticator Lite in Outlook
Last month, Microsoft brought its Authenticator experience to the Outlook email client with the release of Authenticator Lite. The feature – which is in preview – allows Outlook users to sign in without needing to input a password.
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 enrol their Microsoft account for Authenticator Lite by scanning a QR code on the Outlook sign-in page.
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.
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