Edge Browser Can Now Sign Into Microsoft Accounts With FIDO2 Security Keys

Judy Cobb
November 21, 2018

Microsoft Edge has joined Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox in its support for WebAuthn, which enabled the use of these hardware security keys. You can configure your MSA for a security key or Windows Hello there. Visit the Microsoft account page and sign in as you normally would.

You can now configure your Microsoft account on a YubiKey 5 Series hardware security key or similar and use that key to sign-in to Microsoft account-based services like Bing, Skype, Office, OneDrive, Outlook.com, or Xbox Live using the Microsoft Edge browser.

Microsoft believes that the password era is coming to an end and that password-less authentication methods such as Windows Hello or by using security keys are the way to go forward.

Windows Hello, which uses facial recognition to sign you into your account, is one example, but now users can take advantage of an even more secure login method: hardware-based security keys.

Microsoft and Yubico have been working on the FIDO 2 specification along with others in the FIDO Alliance and the W3C for the past few years.

I'll have more about the YubiKey 5 Series hardware security keys soon.

"This combination of ease of use, security and broad industry support is going to be transformational", stated Microsoft in an announcement.

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A FIDO 2 security key is not to be confused with a FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) security key, which works as a second authentication factor with the password being the first authentication factor.

Launch Microsoft Edge on the latest Windows 10 update (version 1809).

This private encryption key is stored on and known only to the device that created it and can only be unlocked using a PIN known to you or a biometric signal such as a gesture or touch of a button. One of the major introductions is in enabling the use of USB or NFC FIDO2 devices.

You will be redirected to the setup experience, where you will insert or tap your security key.

To do so, open Microsoft Edge and navigate to the Microsoft account website. The list of features that security keys need to support is listed on the Microsoft Docs website.

Select "Set up Windows Hello" if you want to use Windows Hello for that instead. Beginning today, Microsoft is letting users log into their Windows accounts using security keys or Windows Hello.

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