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Thursday, 18 April 2013 10:50

Microsoft moves to two-factor authentication

Written by Nick Farrell



Yet another one wants your mobile

Microsoft is moving to two-factor authentication for its Microsoft Account service. MAS, was once known as Windows Live ID, is the log-on service for many of its online and desktop products.

Eric Doerr, Microsoft Account group programme manager said the move will make it possible to protect a user’s entire account with two-step verification, regardless of what service or device being used. He said that it is up to users to choose to set up the verification system and it is not compulsory at the moment.

Two-factor authentication involves a user logging in to a service or device supplies a second piece of information in addition to a password, thus making it harder for another party to gain access to the user's accounts without all the separate pieces of information. Microsoft is using additional verification methods such as a short code sent to the user's mobile phone, which is then entered in addition to the password, or by asking the user to supply additional information, such as an another email address.

Microsoft Account is a single sign-on Web service to authenticate users of Outlook.com, SkyDrive, Skype, and other Microsoft services. Vole is providing a number of other forms of authentication as well. For smartphones, users can deploy an authenticator app. Microsoft has released an authenticator app for Windows Phones, and third-party authenticator apps can be used for other platforms.

Apple, Google and Facebook have already moved to these security systems. Google keeps demanding my mobile phone number, which I can never remember because I hardly call myself, well not since the court injunction.

Nick Farrell

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