I’m all of a sudden having flashbacks to Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo, “Hello.” Microsoft is once again spilling the beans on upcoming features for its next generation Windows 10 operating system and the latest addition is Windows Hello.
Windows Hello can scan your face, fingerprint, or iris to unlock your machine, negating the need to type in a password. While fingerprint recognition is old hat these days (even today’s flagship smartphones ship with fingerprint sensors), unlocking your desktop, laptop, or tablet by fixating on your face or iris is a bit more intriguing, and will no doubt raise security concerns.
The first thought that comes to mind regarding security is if someone would simply be able to hold up a picture of the computer’s rightful owner to gain login access. However, Microsoft assures us that Windows Hello uses “enterprise-grade security that will meet the requirements of organizations with some of the strictest requirements and regulations.” In addition, while you can still sign in with Windows Hello using existing fingerprint reader hardware, systems that tack advantage of face and iris scanning must incorporate Intel’s RealSense 3D Camera (F200) for added security.
“You– uniquely you– plus your device are the keys to your Windows experience, apps, data and even websites and services – not a random assortment of letters and numbers that are easily forgotten, hacked, or written down and pinned to a bulletin board,” wrote Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore. “Modern sensors recognize your unique personal characteristics to sign-you-in on a supporting Windows 10 device.”
Microsoft is also rolling out Passport, which is a system that allows apps and website to authentic a user without the need for a password. “Instead of using a shared or shareable secret like a password, Windows 10 helps to securely authenticate to applications, websites and networks on your behalf—without sending up a password,” Belfiore adds. “Thus, there is no shared password stored on their servers for a hacker to potentially compromise.”
Windows Hello and Passport make a great one-two punch to tackle security and account authentication for Windows 10 systems. When you couple that with the P2P software updates and storage space optimizations that we told you about yesterday, Windows 10 is shaping up to be a blockbuster release for Microsoft.