Eliminate passwords by users and their organizations with the latest authentication updates in Azure AD, now generally available. Joy Chik, Microsoft CVP from the identity engineering team, joins host Jeremy Chapman to review friction-free ways of going passwordless with the introduction of the new temporary access pass.
02:33 — Users: FIDO2 Security Key
03:41 — IT: Passwordless adoption
05:01 — See it in action
07:23 — How to enable experiences in Azure AD Portal
09:30 — Set up Temporary Access Pass
11:11 — How to issue a Temporary Access Pass to a user
12:57 — Wrap Up
Register your key at https://aka.ms/mysecurityinfo
If you are a Microsoft 365 admin, use an interactive guide at https://aka.ms/passwordlesswizard
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- Up next, a special edition of Microsoft Mechanics. We’re joined today by Microsoft CVP Joy Chik from the Identity Engineering team to review the latest authentication updates in Azure AD that are now generally available for eliminating the use of passwords by users and their organizations as well as more friction-free ways of going passwordless with the introduction of the new Temporary Access Pass. So Joy, welcome back into Microsoft Mechanics.
- It is great to be back on the show.
- And thanks so much for joining us today. So I remember the first time that you were on Mechanics back in Ignite 2018; you revealed Microsoft’s leadership role in eliminating the use of passwords as the main vulnerability both for security breaches as well as a primary data target when the perimeter has been breached. So, at that time passwordless methods, such as biometrics and Windows Hello for Business, they’d been around for a while and we launched the preview of the passwordless authentication method using the Microsoft Authenticator app. This experience now even works well on shared devices like Surface Hub. So a lot’s really happened since we started down this path but how far are you then in terms of reaching your goal of eliminating passwords?
- I would say we’re closer than ever to our goal of eliminating passwords. There has been a few stages along this journey. This includes, developing passwordless methods then growing the partner ecosystem for devices and improving the admin experience. But the good news is that as of today, everything Azure AD users need to go passwordless, is now generally available. So we expect to see much broader adoption moving forward. And as I will show you today we are now on the next step of this journey with the new Temporary Access Pass. This makes it even easier to introduce passwordless methods and it is in public preview today.
- This is one of those things where I think passwords are just so pervasive. You’re not going to be able to stop people using them overnight.
- You really can’t. But it’s encouraging that over the past year, with so many of us working remotely, the use of passwordless methods has really reached an inflection point. More than 200 million users are now using passwordless authentication across Azure Active Directory and Microsoft consumer accounts. So, hopefully it won’t be too long before passwords are a thing of the past.
- You mentioned that Azure AD users have now the pieces to implement passwordless and those are all generally available. What does that mean then in terms of both the user and the IT side?
- Well, we know that the easier we make it to stop using passwords the more users and services can get onboard. For users, beyond the methods that you mentioned Azure AD now supports FIDO2 security keys as an authentication method for signing into operating systems, applications, and services. Organizations can issue these keys to everyday information workers. And this approach can make life much easier for frontline workers using shared devices. It works by using industrial strength public private key technology. The FIDO device securely stores private keys. Which you can unlock via a biometric or pin. All authentication messages that are exchanged are signed by the private key and then validated by the public key that’s held in Azure AD. Which then sends a token, or a session cookie, to the device as a proof of authentication.
- And all of this happens by the way in just a fraction of a second. So it feels instantaneous and also convenient to the user.
- Right, and then for IT we have made it easier to drive passwordless adoption. This includes how you roll out passwordless authentication methods in Azure AD. You can automate the management of passwordless using PowerShell or our new Microsoft Graph APIs. We also have new reporting to help you track how well your organization is doing. And this really helps as you roll out new authentication methods and track their usage over time. And you can integrate these metrics with your apps using our APIs.
- Right, I have to really say this is a game changer for me because I use the Authenticator app and even though I frequently sign into lots of different machines and phones and cloud services, all I have to remember is my email address and I get a verification from my phone. So I never need to remember or even type a password.
- Yeah, it’s not only easy but also way more secure than using passwords. And it’s still two factors of authentication. And when users do not have a phone or a dedicated Windows 10 device they can use a FIDO security key. And in fact, we have worked as part of the FIDO Alliance to develop a simple common architecture for secure authentication with FIDO2.
- All right, so let me try this out. I’m going to start by using this method to sign into Windows 10. You can see here that I already have my profile on the device. So I’m going to go ahead and insert the USB key. Then I’m going to click on sign in options. And I’m going to choose the security key one in the middle and it’s going to ask me to touch the security key. So I’ll go ahead and do that. And so that’s going to use my fingerprint to authenticate. Now because we’re using seamless single sign on this authentication also carries forward within my session onto the browser. So I’m going to go ahead and go to myapps.microsoft.com and you’ll see that it just signs me in. Now this works with your Microsoft apps, but you can also see that the SaaS apps are configured here that are using Azure AD and Windows-based authentication. So here you can see, for example, that we have Box. And I also have my on-prem file share available and if I wanted to I could click into that and securely access linked resources that are on the internet or that are apps on-prem.
- Again, you do not need to enter a password. It is super secure and is super convenient. And you can connect to your resources whether they are on premise in the Microsoft cloud or in other clouds and services.
- Right, and this also works across devices. So your pin and biometric by the way are tied to that USB key so you can use it to sign into services with other devices as well. So for example here, my machine’s set up to dual boot to Linux. So it’s running Chrome, and in my case I’ll even try signing into myapps.microsoft.com one more time, this time on Ubuntu without even needing to type in my email address. I’ll click into the sign in options. Now it’s going to ask whether I want to use a security key or GitHub in this case. And again, I’ll choose security key. So I’ll go ahead and insert it. Then I’ll use my fingerprint. Now in my case, you can see that I have two accounts registered to this key. So I’m going to go ahead and choose my account. And similarly, you can see that I can get to the same resources that we saw earlier in the browser that are the apps and anything that supports Azure AD-based authentication.
- Right, it is fast and it’s secure. And the good news is that we are expanding the Microsoft Intelligent Security Association ecosystem of security partners. And these partners are developing a growing range of FIDO2 security keys. This includes a support for the use of NFC reader devices for passwordless sign-in.
- Right, so you also mentioned the admin updates earlier. So how easy is it to set all this up for your tenant? What are some of the changes that have been made?
- So, you enable these experiences in Azure AD portal. Just go to security settings then go to authentication methods. Here, you can see all of our new authentication methods including Microsoft Authenticator and the FIDO2 security key. I will quickly show you how to enable FIDO2 security keys by clicking in. You can scope it to all users or limit the scope to selected users or groups. And in my case, it is already enabled. I have already assigned the group FIDO Pilot and now I will add a new user, Megan Bowen. If I wanted, I could have broadened the scope by adding multiple users and groups. And finally I will hit save. And now Megan is ready for FIDO2 application.
- Okay, so now that Megan is set up what has to happen then for the FIDO key to be associated with her account?
- So Megan would need to register her key. Here I’m signed in as Megan, and I have already navigated to aka.ms/mysecurityinfo. And next I will choose add a method. And from the dropdown I will select security key and hit add. Here, I can choose a USB or NFC device type. And in my case, I will select USB. I will make sure my key is ready and then select next. Then when I continue Windows 10 will guide me through set up. So I will hit okay, and I hit okay again then tap my key to prove presence. Now I will set up the six-digit pin then I’ll re-enter it and click okay. Now I will give it a name, Feitian USBC, and then hit next, then done. And that’s it. My key is ready to use.
- Nice, so now you’ll be able to use this to sign into an Azure AD-joined PC, or like I showed before, you can use it at the browser level on PC, Mac, or Linux. And all of these capabilities are now generally available. But that said, you just released the public preview of Temporary Access Pass, so how does this help in terms of going passwordless?
- To be clear, if you already adopted MFA you have all the pieces in place to enable passwordless authentication quickly. With that said, for brand new employees who do not have a password or MFA that is where the new Temporary Access Pass comes in. This is the missing piece that we need to eliminate the use of passwords as scale. For example, most organizations have a process to prove that you are who you say you are. At the end of the process an administrator can issue a Temporary Access Pass to the verified user. And this Temporary Access Pass is a time-limited passcode that the user can apply to register their passwordless sign-in method, such as a FIDO key or the Microsoft Authenticator app. So let me show you how you would set this up. The Temporary Access Pass is configured as an authentication method. When I select it you see the same controls that we saw earlier. And in this case, I already have it enabled and I set the scope to all users. If I click into edit you will see all the available settings. I can set the minimum and a maximum lifetime as well as a default lifetime. In my case, it’s one hour. And then for the one-time use setting, we recommend you keep this setting to set no if you need to use it more than once during that timeframe. As you can see, it is a very simple process to get this up and running in your tenant.
- Great, so now this is all set up. How do you issue then a Temporary Access Pass to a user?
- So, when you need to generate a Temporary Access Pass in Azure AD just go to the user you want and then navigate to authentication methods. And next, choose add authentication methods and then select Temporary Access Pass. You can either keep the default duration, which is 60 minutes in this case, or choose a duration that you want. Then select add where display the Temporary Access Pass that you can copy and then send to the user. And this is just one way to do this. We also have APIs for this. So you can integrate this process into your own solutions. But Jeremy, we have created one just for you. Why don’t you show us the user experience?
- Okay, so I’ve received my Temporary Access Pass and not only can I register a FIDO key directly as we showed earlier, but I can also now set up passwordless phone sign in when I sign in directly to the Microsoft Authenticator app. Now, first I’m going to go ahead and open up the app. Then I’ll choose add account through authenticator. And now I’m going to choose a work or school account. Then sign in, then continue. And now I’ll type my email email@example.com And then I will be asked to sign in with the Temporary Access Pass that you just gave me. So I’m going to go ahead and type that. As I type, you’ll see it’s comprised of special characters, upper and lower case letters. And I’m going to go ahead and tap sign in and that will authenticate to the service. Then I’ll hit finish and now passwordless auth will be working. So I can then use the Authenticator app to sign in.
- Right, now as a user you don’t need to worry about passwords anymore.
- Okay, so I can see this really simplifying things for both users and IT. But given everything that we’ve shown today where’s the best place then to get started?
- If you have MFA set up you have what you need to go passwordless today in just a few steps. And in fact, if you are a Microsoft 365 admin you can use an interactive guide at aka.ms/passwordlesswizard. With that said, if your organization is not using MFA you can try the public preview of Temporary Access Pass to set up passwordless authentication. So try passwordless today.
- Thanks so much for joining us today and also sharing the latest updates for passwordless authentication. Of course, be sure to keep watching Microsoft Mechanics for the latest updates. Subscribe, if you haven’t already and we’ll see you next time.
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