Microsoft Joins FIDO Alliance, Aims To Get Rid Of Passwords

If you’re responsible about managing passwords for your email and other online accounts, you’re probably juggling a bunch of memorized passwords or using software that stores them for you. The FIDO Alliance wants to make online passwords a thing of the past and have us providing our credentials via pluggable devices, thumbprints, and other easy methods. The Alliance has already reeled in some big names in the security industry who see a need for a widely-used authentication protocol for websites, and now it’s landed a particularly big fish: Microsoft is now on its board of directors.

Launched last year FIDO, which stands for Fast IDentity Online, is a relatively young group, but it’s grabbing headlines by signing up big companies, including Google. FIDO is meant to establish a universally-used protocol that handles the exchange between a website and the user’s client device. The idea is that a non-proprietary protocol opens users to whatever authorization tools they like, whether that’s fingerprint, retina scan, voice, or an old-school pin.

FIDO alliance, showing how users will be able to sign into websites without using passwords
FIDO's crypto protocol is meant to support whatever device and authentication method you prefer to use. Image credit: FIDO

"Microsoft has a track record of unwavering commitment to security and significant contributions to open standards organizations. Joining the FIDO Alliance board of directors is a logical step for us as a way to serve our customers and the community,” said David Treadwell, Microsoft Corporate Vice President in a statement.

By the way, if you’re more the “One Password to Rule Them All” type or are completely cool with using “password” as your login, let us lovingly smack you with some recent disturbing stats that were revealed with the discovery of the Pony botnet.