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w w w . B E R K SB A R .o r g
The Post-Password Era
By Jeffrey A. Franklin, Esquire
Are you tired of passwords? They are hard to remember, always
needing to be changed, seem to get longer every week, and need
to be unique, Ugh! Well, Microsoft has started a new trend - no
more passwords. That is right, you can now ditch the password for
your Microsoft accounts. The best part, Microsoft says you will
actually improve your account security by removing your account
password. Sweet!
On September 15, 2021, Microsoft announced that you
can now completely remove the password from your Microsoft
account. Use the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello
(camera), a security key, or a verification code sent to your phone
or email to sign in to your favorite apps and services, such as
Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft Family Safety,
and more.
The problem with passwords
Weak passwords are the entry point for the majority of attacks
across enterprise and consumer accounts. There are a whopping
579 password attacks every second-that's 18 billion every year.
Why are passwords so vulnerable? There are two big reasons.
Human nature
Except for auto-generated passwords that are nearly impossible
to remember, we largely create our own passwords. But, given the
vulnerability of passwords, requirements for them have gotten
increasingly complex in recent years, including multiple symbols,
numbers, case sensitivity, and disallowing previous passwords.
Updates are often required on a regular basis, yet to create
passwords that are both secure enough and memorable enough
is a challenge. Passwords are incredibly inconvenient to create,
remember, and manage across all the accounts in our lives.
To solve these problems and create passwords we can
remember, we try and make things easier for ourselves. We often
rely on known and personal words and phrases. One of our recent
surveys found that 15 percent of people use their pet's name for
password inspiration. Other common answers included names
and important dates like birthdays. We also found 1 in 10 people
admitted reusing passwords across sites, and 40 percent say
they've used a formula for their passwords, like Fall 2021, which
eventually becomes Winter 2021 or Spring 2022.
Hacker culture
Unfortunately, while such passwords may be easier to
remember, they are also easier for a hacker to guess. A quick look
at someone's social media can give any hacker a head start on
logging into their personal accounts. Once that password and
email combination has been compromised, it's often sold on the
dark web for use in any number of attacks.
Hackers also have a lot of tools and techniques. They can
use automated password cracking tools to try many possibilities
quickly. They can use phishing to trick you into putting your
credentials into a fake website. These tactics are relatively
unsophisticated and have been in play for years, but they continue
to work because passwords continue to be created by people.
How to go passwordless today
Go to and select the advanced security
options and then turn on passwordless accounts in the advanced
First, ensure you have the Microsoft Authenticator app
installed and linked to your personal Microsoft account.
Next, visit your Microsoft account, sign in, and choose
22 | Berks Barrister


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