Newsletter Archives

  • Microsoft adopts passkeys in Windows 11 — death to passwords!


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    When Microsoft enhanced Windows 11 in a September 2023 update to support “passkeys” — a more secure form of authentication — it signaled the beginning of the end for insecure and hard-to-remember passwords.

    To create a passkey, you simply use whatever method unlocks your devices: a character-based PIN, your face, a fingerprint, or what have you. You then visit any website or other remote service that’s passkey-compatible. The server exchanges with your device an “authentication token.” This uniquely identifies you and the device you are using to sign in.

    The token is a private/public key pair. Your PIN, photo, or fingerprint is never sent across the network, where it could be intercepted by man-in-the-middle attacks.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.47.0, 2023-11-20).

  • The Windows 10/11 Hello PIN works, but change is coming

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    ISSUE 20.46 • 2023-11-13


    Brian Livingston

    By Brian Livingston

    A new Microsoft sign-in method — designed to replace today’s relatively insecure usernames and passwords — was introduced to Windows 10 in July 2015.

    The technology is called Windows Hello. It involves your entering a PIN, which can be up to 127 characters long including numbers, letters, and symbols. This PIN is associated with a device of yours: a smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer, etc. Once you use your PIN with a Microsoft Account, an Active Directory, or other services that recognize the technique, you never have to enter a username or password on that connection again.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.46.0, 2023-11-13).
    This story also appears in our public Newsletter.

  • Windows 11 23H2 is around the corner


    Susan Bradley

    By Susan Bradley

    The 23H2 release of Windows 11 is coming soon. Don’t panic — you can defer. But before its release, you should be prepared.

    First, make sure you are on Windows 11 22H2 if you are using the Home or Professional Windows 11 editions. Second, I recommend downloading and keeping a copy of the Windows 11 22H2 ISO from Microsoft’s download site.

    You can also use the Rufus tool to download past versions of Windows 11. However, I feel that Microsoft download is the easiest way to ensure you have all the necessary media should you need to do a repair install at a later date.

    Read the full story in our Plus Newsletter (20.43.0, 2023-10-23).