Microsoft is getting ready to launch two-factor authentication for its Microsoft accounts, according to a report by Microsoft news site LiveSide. This is an optional feature designed to thwart hackers and prevent accounts from being hijacked.
Once enabled by the user, the feature will require a user to enter a code generated by their smartphone when logging into their Microsoft accounts on a computer or device not on their list of trusted PCs.
In other words, for people who enable the feature, there will hopefully be no more saying this to your contacts: I’m sorry about those messages, my account has been hacked.
Competing services including Google already offer two-factor authentication, but one site that has yet to roll it out is Twitter, which could clearly use this type of account protection, given some of the issues it has experienced.
Here’s what Del Harvey, Twitter’s director of trust and safety, said in response to my questions about the issue last year: “I think everything is a possibility in the future, certainly, but quite frankly, two-factor authentication is not the most practical use of resources. The folks who use two-factor authentication are a pretty small segment of the population as a whole. They’re usually the more savvy folks who are less likely to get phished in the first place.”
However, a job post that surfaced in February indicated that Twitter also has multifactor authentication in the works
Microsoft hasn’t confirmed plans for two-factor authentication, but LiveSide has screenshots, and an Authenticator app is already available from Microsoft in the Windows Store (although there isn’t yet the option to link it with a Microsoft account). LiveSide reports that Microsoft’s two-factor account authentication will also work with authentication apps on Android, iOS and BlackBerry.