Microsoft Campus
A building on the Microsoft Headquarters campus is pictured July 17, 2014 in Redmond, Washington. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Microsoft platform is secure enough that it requires a two factor authentication. However, the two-factor authentication is at times troublesome. You have to download a mobile app, depending on your Mobile OS. However, this is about to change as Microsoft announce a new authentication app on Monday. The new app will launch on all major smartphone operating systems on 15th August.

The new app will replace the previous authentication apps that were clearly distinct. The old authentication apps used to authenticate business, and personal Microsoft accounts were divided into two categories. On one end was the Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) and on the other end was the Microsoft Accounts (MSAs). These two sets of customers used distinct apps in their preferred environments. Theoretically, everything was running smoothly.

But was everything running smoothly practically? Neowin observes that Microsoft has four different authentication apps on the various mobile platforms.  There is the Azure Authenticator app on App Store, Authenticator for MSAs on Windows Mobile and the Microsoft Account app on Android. As you can note, iOS has no app for authenticating Microsoft Accounts. There is nothing good with that considering the platform has quite a market share.

Microsoft has now decided to correct its mistakes with the two-factor authentication app. This time, they will launch a cross-platform app. According to Alex Simons, of Microsoft Identity Division, “Microsoft will combine the best functions of the previous two-factor authentication app into one single app.” The most obvious benefit of the new app is that it will allow users to authenticate Azure Ads and MSAs from one single interface.

More great features will come with the new app. The refreshed UI of the app will support one-click push notifications. Once you initiate a login, you will receive a message from the app with an “approve” button. You can hit the button on the taskbar and continue using the Microsoft account without breaking a sweat.

That is not all. The new Microsoft Authenticator app will support wearable. You can use the Samsung Gear smart watch or the Apple watch to approve Microsoft accounts. The app will also allow businesses to use certificates to sign into Microsoft accounts. If you prefer biometrics to a passcode or PIN, the app has you covered. It supports fingerprint based approvals that are part of high-end Android and iOS devices.

But the app does not support al wearable devices. Microsoft’s Band and Band 2 do not have support in the new authenticator app. Microsoft assures that its wearable Bands will be backed up in the future. Also, the app does not support wearable devices running the Android Wear OS. Fingerprint authentication on Windows Phones is also out of the game.

After the new app launches, you will not have to download it; you will receive a notification of an update, and the new app will install after you upgrade the old one.

1 COMMENT

  1. They should make sure not to bring in biometrics into the security schemes.

    It is known that the authentication by biometrics comes with poorer security than PIN/password-only authentication. The following video explains how biomerics makes a backdoor to password-protected information.
    https://youtu.be/5e2oHZccMe4

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