Ready to say goodbye to passwords? Users will no longer need one for Microsoft accounts

·2 min read
In this Nov. 10, 2016, photo, people walk near a Microsoft office in New York.
In this Nov. 10, 2016, photo, people walk near a Microsoft office in New York.

Microsoft wants you to ditch your password. For good, this time.

The company announced in a blog post Wednesday that it will give users the option to access their accounts without using a password.

Users can choose between downloading the Microsoft Authenticator app; a security key; a verification code sent to your phone or secondary email address; or Windows Hello, a biometric option that involves scanning your face, iris or fingerprint.

With the Authenticator app, for example, users get notified on their smartphone during a login attempt, and receive a prompt confirming their identity.

Vasu Jakkal, corporate vice president for security, compliance and identity at Microsoft, said in the blog post that the new option tackles two problems: complex passwords people can't remember and passwords that do not offer enough security because they're too simple.

"Nobody likes passwords. They’re inconvenient," Jakkal wrote. "They’re a prime target for attacks. Yet for years they’ve been the most important layer of security for everything in our digital lives – from email to bank accounts, shopping carts to video games."

The feature will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

iPhone 13, new Apple Watch, and more: Everything Apple announced at their September event

iPhone 13 deals: Here are best trade-in deal AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile

Jakkal said there are 579 password attacks every second, which amounts to about 18 billion annually; one reason that occurs is that internet users tend to create basic passwords.

According to security firm NordPass, "123456" was the most commonly used password in 2020, followed by "123456789."

Several apps have stepped forward to help users manage their passwords, including NordPass, 1Password and LastPass.

To bolster your password security without a manager app, NordPass advises creating passwords for each account, and using a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols to make them tougher to crack.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: So long passwords? Microsoft offers option to drop them for accounts

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting