Would you like to know one of the benefits Microsoft gained by building Kinect? Look no further than a new feature for Windows 10 called Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport.
Windows Hello was announced earlier today on the Blogging Windows site by Joe Belfiore. According to Belfiore, Windows Hello has the ability to not only log you into your computer but it can also authenticate your identity for using applications, enterprise content and some online experiences – all without a password on your device or a network server.
Windows Hello introduces system support for biometric authentication – using your face, iris, or fingerprint to unlock your devices – with technology that is much safer than traditional passwords. You– uniquely you– plus your device are the keys to your Windows experience, apps, data and even websites and services – not a random assortment of letters and numbers that are easily forgotten, hacked, or written down and pinned to a bulletin board. Modern sensors recognize your unique personal characteristics to sign-you-in on a supporting Windows 10 device.
Windows Hello will meet the needs of companies with high level requirements for security including defense, financial, health care and other similar organizations. Do not let the ease of use be misleading either as this system will be able to distinguish between you and a picture of you using special hardware and software for verification purposes.
The other part of this announcement relates to accessing apps and websites securely using Microsoft Passport, which is not to be confused with the predecessor of the Microsoft Account.
Microsoft Passport will work by having you authenticate your identity and that you have the device in your possession. If the device has Windows Hello compatible hardware then it will use biometrics to verify your identity on that device. Once that is done and you are properly authenticated then you can sites and services that use the same validation technology. By joining the FIDO alliance, Microsoft will be able to support replacing passwords on other services that are part of the same alliance.
I guess the closes comparison I can make to Microsoft Passport is a password manager that integrates with your browser to log into various websites but I still need to log into that password manager using a password.
Between Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport that password, which can be the weak link in our online security, becomes a thing of the past.
Personally, I am ready to kick it to the curb!
P.S. The small print: "Windows Hello requires specialized hardware, including fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor or other biometric sensors."