Microsoft has recently shown off a new biometric authentication feature called Windows Hello, which will be supported by the upcoming Windows 10 operating system.
Windows Hello will allow users to unlock their Windows 10 devices using facial, iris or fingerprint recognition – technology Microsoft says is much safer and more secure than traditional passwords.
Because it requires specialised hardware, such as a fingerprint reader, illuminated infrared sensor or other biometric sensors, Windows Hello won’t work on most existing devices. However, Microsoft has said the technology will support devices that already have a fingerprint reader.
The company is already working with its hardware partners to deliver devices that support Windows Hello. It has also announced that all devices that have an Intel RealSense 3D Camera will support the facial unlock features of Windows Hello. New Windows 10 devices featuring Intel’s 3D for iris and facial recognition will also ship later this year.
According to Microsoft, Windows Hello is built on asymmetric key cryptography and has been developed over the years based on what it has learned with Kinect. It uses new infrared technology, which has been optimised so that it can still be used in different lighting conditions, and will still recognise you if you are wearing loads of make-up, or if you’ve grown facial hair, for example.
In addition to Windows Hello, Microsoft has also created Windows Passport – which allows you to get into your applications and online content without a password too. The feature is compatible with your Microsoft account and the thousands of web services that work with Azure Active Directory. Microsoft has also joined the FIDO Alliance so that the technology may also be used across a wide range of other devices and applications.
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