Microsoft allows all users to access the account without having to enter a password.
This function has recently been enabled for all consumer accounts: instead of having to type the password and then carry out (if present) a second step for two-factor authentication (by entering a code received via SMS, for example), the procedure provides that the user signs in to the Microsoft account using only the Microsoft Authenticator application, available for iOS and on the Play Store.
This application allows you to authorize access by approving the request via a previously enabled third-party device (such as a smartphone). Microsoft Authenticator can also be used for two-factor authentication to not rely on sending the code via SMS, which can be at the risk of SIM swapping.
The advantage of using only Microsoft Authenticator is obvious: the password can be forgotten with consequences on the user experience. Therefore, many users are often inclined to use passwords that are easy to remember, such as the date of birth or the name of their pet; but this affects the level of protection of the account, especially if the same password has been used in other services, perhaps with the same e-mail address.
The Microsoft Authenticator application allows you to maintain a certain level of security because it passes through a device that must be unlocked to guarantee access to the Microsoft account.
Despite this, a user may find it more convenient to type in the password and then continue with two-factor authentication to have two steps to protect access to their personal data.
How to set up Microsoft Authenticator
The first thing to do is to install Microsoft Authenticator on your smartphone or tablet. Setup is simple and only requires you to log into your Microsoft account by entering your email address and password.
If two-factor authentication is configured, the user must also confirm access via a code sent via SMS or another application.
At that point the main Microsoft Authenticator screen will show the Microsoft account, the only one, at that point, to be configured in the application.
Guide: WhatsApp can now be connected to 4 devices without keeping the smartphone connected to the Internet
Go to the deepening
Tapping “Microsoft” will display a screen where the user can access an eight-digit one-time password (to be used as a second authentication factor when requested) or, by tapping on “Account without password”, they can configure passwordless access directly from the application if a PIN or a biometric recognition system (such as fingerprint or face scan) is already set to unlock the device.
The user will be transferred to the dedicated page and just go to Additional security> Account without password> Activate. At that point, it will be necessary to further confirm the decision after reading a brief notice from Microsoft that summarizes the mechanism of the function.
How to activate passwordless access
Users who already use Microsoft Authenticator for two-factor authentication can also enable access via the dedicated web page and go to the Security> Advanced security options section and click on “Get started”.
At that point, in the “Additional security” section, you can activate the “Account without password” option.
By clicking on “Activate”, a notice appears specifying that further details and click on “Next”. You will need to approve the request sent to the device on which Microsoft Authenticator is activated to proceed.
Just as easily, the user can disable this feature. If so, you will need to set a new password for your Microsoft account.