Microsoft Edge Takes Aim at Privacy with On-Device Password Encryption and Auto-Verify CAPTCHAs

Microsoft Edge is rolling out new privacy and security features, including on-device password encryption and auto-verify CAPTCHAs.

Image: Neowin

is in the process of rolling out new features aimed at enhancing user privacy and security. One of these features, as highlighted by Leopeva64 on Twitter, is the on-device encryption for passwords and the other is auto-verification for CAPTCHAs.

On device encryption, when activated, will encrypt passwords on the user's device before storing them in the Microsoft Password Manager. Although the option for on-device encryption can already be found under Settings > Account > Passwords in the version of Edge, it is not yet functional.

For context, Google Chrome already offers on-device encryption. Users can access this feature in Chrome under Settings > Autofill and passwords > Password Manager > Settings > Set up on-device encryption. Google's approach to this encryption is to transform the user's device into a key, ensuring that only the user can view their passwords. However, there's a caveat: if the encryption key is lost, the passwords might be lost as well.

As of now, the auto-verify feature is only accessible on Microsoft Edge Canary and Dev builds for Android. There hasn't been any official announcement regarding when these features will be available for other devices or the desktop version of Microsoft Edge.

Auto-Verify CAPTCHAs: A Step Towards User Convenience

Another feature in the pipeline for Microsoft Edge is the auto-verification of CAPTCHAs. This feature aims to verify users as humans on websites without requiring them to solve CAPTCHAs manually. Leopeva64 had previously spotted a similar “Auto-verify” feature in Chrome and noted its recent appearance in the Android version of Edge, stating, “Four months ago I spotted a new feature in Chrome called ‘Auto-verify', well, it turns out that this new option is now also available in Edge… but in the Android version (Dev and Canary).” The auto-verify feature works by storing a small amount of information with Edge, which other websites can then use to confirm a user's human identity.

Last week I reported on a recent study that shows bots are now surpassing humans in terms of solving CAPTCHAs. The researchers looked at 200 popular websites and found that 120 still used CAPTCHAs. They asked 1,000 people from different backgrounds to take 10 CAPTCHA tests on each website. They considered their location, age, gender, and education. They wanted to see how hard the CAPTCHAs were for humans and bots. The results showed that humans took nine to 15 seconds to solve the CAPTCHAs with 50 to 84 percent accuracy, while bots solved them in less than a second with 85 to 100 percent accuracy. Most bots had more than 96 percent accuracy.