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Microsoft has a new password security tool you need to check out

Published Feb 8th, 2021 7:31AM EST
Microsoft Autofill
Image: Microsoft

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  • Microsoft launched Autofill, a new password manager tool available inside the Microsoft account.
  • Autofill works on mobile via the Microsoft Authenticator app and on the desktop via Microsoft Edge or the Chrome browser — an Autofill extension is available for the latter.
  • The passwords stored in Autofill are encrypted on the device and in the cloud, and Microsoft Authenticator requires multi-factor authentication. Autofilling of passwords needs to be confirmed via a biometric or PIN check.

A staggering repository of 3.2 billion email and password combinations proves how dangerous poor password security combinations can be. This “Compilation of Many Breaches” shows the relentless work of hackers over the years, who obtained credentials to billions of email addresses. A variety of factors favored those security breaches, including inadequate security practices that certain companies employed, but also horrible password habits from end-users.

Many people use weak passwords to protect their online accounts, including email and any internet-connected product that uses a username and password authentication method. And many people reuse the same password repeatedly rather than setting up a new, strong password for each new service. That’s understandable, as remembering all those passwords isn’t easy. But what you should realize in 2021 is that you only need to remember a single password, the password you use for a password manager that will remember everything else. And Microsoft has its such service in place to secure your online accounts.

There are plenty of dedicated password manager app that work across mobile and desktop. These are premium apps that come with a monthly subscription. The price is totally worth it, considering the peace of mind the services provide. But big tech companies also offer free password managers that are associated with their services. Apple has the iCloud Keychain tool that works in Safari and Chrome, and Google has its password manager inside the Chrome browser.

Microsoft now has a similar tool that’s available inside the Microsoft account you might already have. Called Autofill, Microsoft’s password manager will also be available in the Microsoft Authenticator app on iPhone and Android and in Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers as an Autofill extension.

Microsoft Autofill
Animation shows the new Microsoft Autofill password manager in action. Image source: Microsoft

Autofill will let you sync passwords between iPhone or Android and Microsoft Edge. Thus, all your saved passwords will be available both on mobile and on Windows 10 devices. The Autofill extension for Chrome will then bring over the same passwords to Chrome, which can be used on mobile, Mac, and Windows. The app also has a password import feature that lets you import passwords stored in CSV format. That said, you probably should not be storing your passwords anywhere but password managers.

Once you’ve saved your passwords with Autofill, the Microsoft Authenticator app will offer to autofill the login credentials, just like it happens with other password manager apps. Just make sure that the passwords you save in Autofill and other apps are strong and unique.

Microsoft says that Autofill itself has security features built-in to safeguard those passwords. The stored passwords are encrypted on the device and in the cloud. The Authenticator app requires multi-factor authentication. On top of that, autofill on a website or app will need biometric or PIN confirmation.

More information about AutoFill is available at this link.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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