Feeds

Microsoft gets with the times, builds two-factor authentication into Office 365

Redmond extends security protections to all users

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Microsoft is beefing up the security in Office 365 by offering two-factor authentication to all users of its cloud productivity service.

The company said that it would enable two-factor authentication on accounts ranging from Enterprise and Midsize Business plans to academic accounts and standalone single-user subscription plans.

Under the plan, users will be able to link their Office 365 accounts with an additional contact point such as voice call, text message, or an app notification on their mobile device. The acknowledgement is then paired with the successful entry of a password in order to sign a user into the Office 365 service.

"Multi-factor authentication increases the security of user logins for cloud services above and beyond just a password," explained Paul Andrew, technical product manager for Office 365.

"With Multi-Factor Authentication for Office 365, users are required to acknowledge a phone call, text message, or an app notification on their smartphone after correctly entering their password."

Previously, the option to utilize multi-factor authentication had been limited to users who were on administrator accounts.

The enabling of two-factor authentication should be a basic security feature at this point, rather than a premium option or high-profile addition. With tricks ranging from keyloggers and phishing messages to brute-force password guessing, attackers are more than up to stealing account passwords from users. The addition of two-factor authentication, while not perfect, goes a long way toward protecting the vast majority of users from account theft.

Redmond said that it plans to expand on the rollout of additional security protections on the Office platform. The company soon plans to add two-factor authentication mechanisms to desktop applications such as Outlook and Word later in the year and for some enterprise clients, the company is eventually planning to introduce smart-card authentication support, though a possible rollout date for those features has yet to be announced. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.