Feeds

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

Redmond extends security protections to all users

Website security in corporate America

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. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
Profitless Twitter: We're looking to raise $1.5... yes, billion
We'll spend the dosh on transactions, biz stuff 'n' sh*t
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.