I See You Windows Hello

Remember how cool it was watching those sci-fi TV shows and movies when a person would walk up to a door put their hand on a panel on the wall or have their eye scanned and then the door to a room would open. This is made capable by the use of biometrics. What was generally considered science fiction is becoming more of reality because the future of identity security lies with biometric technology.

Most modern devices, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones now come with some type of biometric capability built in. With biometrics, the device can analyze your facial characteristics, unique fingerprint, retina, or voice pattern to determine who you are and, based on your identity, authorize access to your device. Enabling biometric logins ensures there’s nothing for the user to remember (e.g. passwords or PIN) to gain access to a computer system. 

So why am I talking about biometrics? With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft introduced Windows Hello. Windows Hello is biometric authentication that provides you instant access to your Windows 10 device such as the Surface Pro 4 or other devices equipped either a fingerprint reader or Intel’s RealSense 3D camera installed. The concept behind Windows Hello is extremely simple. You sit down at your computer, which recognizes you by your facial image or your fingerprint and it will automatically log you in. This makes Windows Hello more convenient than typing a password because it provides a faster and more secure way to log in. Consumers get enterprise-grade security without having to type in a password, which we all know can easily be forgotten, stolen or even phished. Not to mention people are known to reuse a password at multiple sites that require a password. This means that if you lose your password in one place, you’ve possibly lost it in multiple places. This simple use of biometrics makes the user the password. 

What makes Windows Hello even more exciting is that developers will soon be able to integrate the biometric technology into their apps and websites. So far, Windows Hello support exists only for Windows apps. Imaging being able to log into your financial accounts or social media sites by using facial recognition. While Microsoft Edge will be the first and only browser carrying native support for biometric technology, Windows Hello is compatible with the FIDO 2.0 standard, so in theory, it can work with other web browsers such as Google Chrome.

Ultimately, Windows Hello provides simple and convenient user authentication without sacrificing the security and privacy of the user. Furthermore, biometric technology is definitely a better option than a short, weak, and often repeated password. If you have device that supports Windows Hello, it is definitely worth setting up. It's pretty cool technology.