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article imageWindows Hello biometric authentication allows for instant logins

By James Walker     Mar 18, 2015 in Technology
Microsoft has unveiled a brand new way of logging in to your computer that will debut with Windows 10. Called Windows Hello, it uses biometric authentication to instantly log you in when you show your face or touch your finger to a device.
Windows Hello is billed as not only being quicker and more convenient than traditional passwords but also more secure. It is designed to make computing a more personal experience but at the same time a much more secure one.
The new system introduces OS-level support for biometric authentication techniques including fingerprint sensors, face recognition and iris scanners. It means that you are the unique key to your device instead of a "random assortment of letters and numbers" that can be exploited by attackers.
Microsoft promises that there will be several devices launching with Windows 10 in the summer that will include support for Windows Hello. The facial and iris detection aspects require special hardware and software equipped with infrared cameras to determine that it is actually you as opposed to an impersonator or simple image.
Existing devices that may already be equipped with fingerprint sensors such as some business-orientated laptops will be compatible with Windows Hello too. New OEM partners are already developing products with facial and iris unlock features to enable automatic sign-in to Windows without the need for a password.
Windows Hello will also be able to sign you in to websites you visit on your computer automatically. Called "Passport," you first have to verify that you have possession of the device you are using before being able to instantly access a growing list of websites and services without a password.
Microsoft says that sites from a range of industries including shopping, email, business networks, financial services and social networking will be open to automated sign-in with Windows Hello.
Windows Hello data will be kept securely on your own computer only. Microsoft says that your biometric signature will never be sent over a network and stays firmly on your computer, accessible only to you.
With new sign-in methods like this coming to Windows 10, it looks to be shaping up to the feature-rich operating system that it needs to be to pull Microsoft back from the generally negative public view of Windows 8 and 8.1. Whether people will actually convert to logging in to computers without a password remains to be seen.
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