Finally: Two-Factor Authentication coming to Microsoft accounts

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 9, 2013
Updated • Apr 9, 2013

Selecting a secure password is the first step of ensuring that you are safe on today's Internet. While that is a great start, it may sometimes not be enough to properly secure an account. Several Internet companies have started to implement an optional two-factor authentication system for user accounts that adds another layer of security to the login process. It works by requesting a second authentication code after a successful sign in with the account's username and password. This second authentication code is either created locally on the fly whenever needed or sent to a linked mobile phone number by the company itself.

Examples of companies that enable you to create the codes by yourself locally are PayPal with its VeriSign Identity Protection devices and Blizzard with its authenticator. Google, Dropbox and many other companies prefer to send codes via email to the linked email address when requested.

And now Microsoft, at least if you believe the leaked information posted on the Live Side website. According to the site's information, Microsoft's implementation will fall into the first group meaning that users will have to use a mobile phone application to generate a code whenever they are asked to enter one during sign in to their Microsoft account or one of the services linked to it.

microsoft two-factor authentication

The Microsoft account website will soon offer a feature to pair one of the authenticator apps with a Microsoft account to improve the security of the account during log ins. According to screenshots posted on the site, Microsoft has already created a Windows Phone app that generates the codes for the user. The company states that authenticator apps for other phone operating systems are available by third parties but does not go into detail in this regard and does not link to any apps available in one of the app stores.

There seem to be certain limitations associated with the procedure. Live Side notes that users cannot add two-factor authentication to linked accounts, and that users need to unlink the accounts first before they can apply the feature to each of the accounts. Some apps or devices may also not support two-factor authentication and Microsoft will provide users with an app password that can be used to bypass the limitation on those devices. This works similar to the app passwords that you can create for your Google account.

It is definitely a step in the right direction considering that Microsoft maintains several of the most popular services on today's Internet. I think it has been long overdue and can't wait to add the second step of authentication to my accounts. It remains to be seen how easy that will be though. It is not clear when the feature will launch but considering that an app exists already in the Windows Phone store, it is likely that a launch is immanent.


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  1. Some Dude said on March 19, 2023 at 11:42 am

    Are these articles AI generated?

    Now the duplicates are more obvious.

    1. boris said on March 19, 2023 at 11:48 pm

      This is below AI generated crap. It is copy of Microsoft Help website article without any relevant supporting text. Anyway you can find this information on many pages.

  2. Paul(us) said on March 20, 2023 at 1:32 am

    Yes, but why post the exact same article under a different title twice on the same day (19 march 2023), by two different writers?
    1.) Excel Keyboard Shortcuts by Trevor Monteiro.
    2.) 70+ Excel Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows by Priyanka Monteiro

    Why oh why?

    1. Clairvaux said on September 6, 2023 at 11:30 am

      Yeah. Tell me more about “Priyanka Monteiro”. I’m dying to know. Indian-Portuguese bot ?

  3. John G. said on August 18, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    Probably they will announce that the taskbar will be placed at top, right or left, at your will.

    Special event by they is a special crap for us.

  4. yanta said on August 18, 2023 at 11:59 pm

    If it’s Microsoft, don’t buy it.
    Better brands at better prices elsewhere.

  5. John G. said on August 20, 2023 at 4:22 am

    All new articles have zero count comments. :S

  6. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 7:48 am

    WTF? So, If I add one photo to 5 albums, will it count 5x on my storage?
    It does not make any sense… on google photos, we can add photo to multiple albums, and it does not generate any additional space usage

    I have O365 until end of this year, mostly for onedrive and probably will jump into google one

  7. St Albans Digital Printing Inc said on September 5, 2023 at 11:53 am

    Photo storage must be kept free because customers chose gadgets just for photos and photos only.

  8. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    What a nonsense. Does it mean that albums are de facto folders with copies of our pictures?

    1. GG said on September 6, 2023 at 8:24 am

      Sounds exactly like the poor coding Microsoft is known for in non-critical areas i.e. non Windows Core/Office Core.

      I imagine a manager gave an employee the task to create the album feature with hardly any time so they just copied the folder feature with some cosmetic changes.

      And now that they discovered what poor management results in do they go back and do the album feature properly?

      Nope, just charge the customer twice.

      Sounds like a go-getter that needs to be promoted for increasing sales and managing underlings “efficiently”, said the next layer of middle management.

  9. d3x said on September 5, 2023 at 7:33 pm

    When will those comments get fixed? Was every editor here replaced by AI and no one even works on this site?

  10. Scroogled said on September 5, 2023 at 10:47 pm

    Instead of a software company, Microsoft is now a fraud company.

  11. ard said on September 7, 2023 at 4:59 pm

    For me this is proof that Microsoft has a back-door option into all accounts in their cloud.
    quote “…… as the MSA key allowed the hacker group access to virtually any cloud account at Microsoft…..”

    so this MSA key which is available to MS officers can give access to all accounts in MS cloud.This is the backdoor that MS has into the cloud accounts. Lucky I never got any relevant files of mine in their (MS) cloud.

  12. Andy Prough said on September 7, 2023 at 6:52 pm

    >”Now You: what is your theory?”

    That someone handed an employee a briefcase full of cash and the employee allowed them access to all their accounts and systems.

    Anything that requires 5-10 different coincidences to happen is highly unlikely. Occam’s razor.

  13. TelV said on September 8, 2023 at 12:04 pm

    Good reason to never login to your precious machine with a Microsoft a/c a.k.a. as the cloud.

  14. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    The GAFAM are always very careless about our software automatically sending to them telemetry and crash dumps in our backs. It’s a reminder not to send them anything when it’s possible to opt out, and not to opt in, considering what they may contain. And there is irony in this carelessness biting them back, even if in that case they show that they are much more cautious when it’s their own data that is at stake.

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