Today, Microsoft was a participant at the United States White House Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection Summit at Stanford University where industry leaders gathered to discuss collaborative opportunities and new developments that will bolster cybersecurity. Representing Microsoft at the event was Scott Charney, Corporate Vice President of Trustworthy Computing, who is responsible for a range of corporate programs that influence the security of Microsoft’s products, services, and internal networks.
One of the administration’s top discussion points for the summit was stated as “shaping a cyber-savvy workforce and moving beyond passwords in partnership with the private sector”, which is also one of the top priorities for us here at Microsoft. Our work in this area is one of the most important priorities for the upcoming Windows 10 release. We talked recently about new password alternative and credential technology in our Windows 10: Security and Identity Protection for the Modern World blog.
I’m happy to announce Microsoft has contributed design inputs to the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance, to be incorporated within FIDO 2.0 Technical Specifications. Transitioning away from passwords and to a stronger form of identity is one of the great challenges that we face in online computing, and we believe FIDO authentication, which is the subject of great discussion here at the White House summit, is the pathway to success. To address this challenge we joined the FIDO Alliance, where we are working alongside major industry partners to change the nature of authentication by developing specifications that define an open, scalable, interoperable set of mechanisms that supplant reliance on passwords to more securely authenticate users of online services.
FIDO standards enable a universal framework that a global ecosystem delivers for a consistent and greatly improved user experience of strong password-less authentication. Interoperability of FIDO products is a hallmark of FIDO authentication and for this reason we’re confident that it will succeed in transforming the industry. We’re excited about the prospect of bringing a FIDO solution to market and how it will solve a critical need for both enterprises and consumers alike.
Our current implementation in the Windows 10 Technical Preview reflects our inputs into the FIDO 2.0 Specification Technical Working Group and members of the Windows Insider Program can start evaluating it right away. The current Technical Preview build enables a number of enterprise scenarios and it showcases our integration with Windows 10 sign-in, Azure Active Directory, and access to major SaaS services like Office 365 Exchange Online, Salesforce, Citrix, Box, Concur, just to name a few. With Windows 10, for the very first time Windows devices and Microsoft-owned and partner SaaS services supported by Azure Active Directory authentication can be accessed end-to-end using an enterprise-grade two-factor authentication solution – all without a password. Windows 10 will also include Active Directory integration for on-premise scenarios and Microsoft Account integration for our consumer Microsoft services such as Outlook.com, OneDrive, and more.
Stay tuned for more of what’s coming to Windows 10 on the security front. In the meantime we encourage you to join the Windows Insider Program and start evaluating Windows 10 and our new strong authentication capabilities.