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Microsoft Edge is finally catching up to Google Chrome and Firefox

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All users need to log online now is Microsoft's new web authenticator, which relies on fingerprints, facial recognition, and special PINs.
All users need to log online now is Microsoft’s new web authenticator, which relies on fingerprints, facial recognition, and special PINs.

Image: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Microsoft Edge just got a little easier to use.

The web browser developed by Microsoft announced yesterday in a blog post that users no longer need passwords to log onto their favorite websites. All they need is Microsoft’s new web authenticator to get in, which relies on fingerprints, facial recognition, and special PINs.

This new feature accessible via Windows Hello is akin to Google’s and Firefox’s authenticators, which launched months ago. So while it’s revolutionary for Microsoft, the tech company is pretty far behind. No wonder Edge only holds 4.19 percent of the market share as of publishing time.

Microsoft rolled this out as part of its web without passwords campaign, founded on the company’s ideology that passwords are an “ancient security model.”

“But passwords are difficult to remember, and are fundamentally insecure — often re-used, and vulnerable to phishing and cracking,” reads the announcement penned by two of the company’s program managers.

“With Web Authentication, Microsoft Edge users can sign in with their face, fingerprint, PIN, or portable FIDO2 devices, leveraging strong public-key credentials instead of passwords.”

The purely virtual nature of Web Authenticator means if someone gets ahold of your device, the interloper has no way of getting in, since there is no longer a system on the device to hack. Its entire security process is essentially outsourced to Microsoft as a third party.

Microsoft a couple weeks earlier even published a web developer guide on how to code such a security tool.

Web Authentication on Microsoft Edge will become available to everyone once Microsoft ships Windows 10 version 1809, predicted to launch before the year ends.

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