It’s not yet clear what Microsoft wants to accomplish through Fido but it’s a powerful alliance that could result in the computing industry seriously moving beyond passwords within two or three years. But it makes sense because in the last dozen years or so Microsoft has gotten serious and put a lot of R&D behind security, said one analyst.
Microsoft is looking to Fido to help move beyond passwords. That’s the Fido Alliance, an industry organization that is attempting to standardize authentication protocols and make passwords less necessary. This week, the technology giant lent its weight to the effort by taking a seat on the organization’s board of directors.
An acronym of Fast Identity Online, the organization started in July of last year. Microsoft joins other major technology firms in the effort, including Google, PayPal, MasterCard, BlackBerry, LG and Lenovo.
The Fido Alliance says on its Web site that its key goals are to increase ease of use, privacy and security, and standardization. The organization is also attempting to foster innovation in creating authentication that goes beyond passwords, an innovation that it believes has been stymied because of the many proprietary clients and protocols currently required.
The organization said that by standardizing client and protocol layers, a “thriving ecosystem” could be created that utilizes biometrics, PINs and second-factors usable across devices and platforms.
The standardization Fido is interested in advancing utilizes standard public key cryptography, involving a public key that is registered with an online service at the initial setup. This is followed by a local authentication method, such as a secure PIN, biometric ID from face, voice or fingerprint, or a second-factor keychain device.