Spruce up your two-factor authentication with Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport

Kareem Anderson

While the current crop of Windows 10 Mobile flagships aren’t donning the industry-beloved fingerprint scanner, that doesn’t mean Microsoft doesn’t have an answer for biometric two-factor authentication. For app developers who are utilizing Google and Apple’s API’s for securing user data through authentication methods, Microsoft is also encouraging the use of Microsoft Passport and Windows Hello.

If your app handles user data, then secure authentication should be one of your primary concerns. Identity management is a hard thing to do well, involving encryption, reset mechanisms and other security measures. Two-factor authentication is more common nowadays, but it increases complexity for both the user and the identity provider. Moving from less secure password systems to two-factor authentication via Microsoft Passport and Windows Hello can make things more convenient for both parties.”

While Microsoft Passport and Windows Hello are often used interchangeably in marketing speak, the two are still different protocols to accomplish similar results. Windows Hello is a biometric system built into all versions of Windows 10 that enables user authentication through the use of fingerprint, facial recognition, or iris scanning (for the time being), in addition to more traditional means such as username and pin codes. Microsoft Passport, on the other hand, is the two-factor authentication (2FA) system that uses a combination of PIN codes, possible biometrics, an an encrypted key from a user’s device to authenticate.

Microsoft’s push for two-factor authentication doesn’t stop at securing everyday consumer content. Businesses and IT admins can use Microsoft Passport in conjunction with Azure with Passport for Work and Azure Active Directory.

Fortunately, Microsoft has tried to simplify the process for developers wanting to beef up their applications and secure management options with a detailed blog post of how the code works, what it does exactly, and steps for implementing it across devices.


On the Windows blog, the Apps team walks through several implementations of the Microsoft Passport and Windows Hello code, as well as how to manage multiple devices and multiple users, the team also touch on a GitHub sample for a simplified version of Passport.

With Windows 10, Microsoft’s vision for a single OS unifying, simplifying and securing users content is beginning to blossom. With the help of developers implementing code for Microsoft Passport and Windows Hello, the 200 million plus Windows 10 users should be in a convenient and secure computing experience soon.

For other resources, be sure to check out this detailed video on the matter as well as visiting Microsoft’s Passport GitHub examples and the company’s whitepapers on Microsoft Passport and Windows Hello.