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Microsoft will support biometric password-killers on Windows 10

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Soon, you may be able to log in to Outlook with a fingerprint or an eyescan. At the Stanford Cybersecurity Summit on Friday, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would support the next version of the Fast Identification Online (FIDO) spec, allowing devices to work with a wealth of third-party biometric readers and providing an easy framework for any hardware makers that want to build extra security into a laptop or phone. Unlike existing fingerprint readers, FIDO is designed to entirely replace passwords, moving towards faster and more localized authentication methods. In a blog post accompanying the announcement, Microsoft's Dustin Ingalls said moving beyond the password was, "one of the top priorities for us here at Microsoft."

Designed as an open standard, FIDO has the support of some of the largest companies in banking and tech, including Microsoft, Google, PayPal, and Bank of America. The system is designed to protect biometric information through a zero-knowledge proof, authenticating eye scans or fingerprints locally without exposing them to the web at large. Version 1.0 of the specification was released in January, and companies like Yubico are already making hardware that uses FIDO to log into Google accounts. Windows 10 support is tied to the 2.0 release, to which Microsoft is contributing design inputs.