As the number of websites used increases, password management becomes more and more important. Regardless of security factors, remembering these passwords is a memory test. Faced with so many passwords, some of my friends use notebooks to record their passwords, and some use Excel or mobile phone notes to record their passwords. In contrast, more and more people choose to use apps such as 1Password and Lastpass to manage their passwords. And I mainly use 1Password.
With Microsoft’s update of Microsoft Authenticator and Microsoft Edge, I found that Microsoft Authenticator, which was originally only used for two-step verification and convenient login with Microsoft account, has added some new features, making it a new choice for password management.
The main interface of Microsoft Authenticator
Microsoft Authenticator supports iOS and Android platforms, and also provides Chrome plug-ins. Cooperating with its own Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Authenticator can indirectly achieve coverage of Windows, macOS and Linux.
Microsoft Authenticator who is a two-step verification tool should be familiar with its interface. At first glance, it adds a password management page on top of the two-step verification.
For people like me who often use a password manager as an electronic codebook, the interface of Microsoft Authenticator is pretty flattering.
Cloud synchronization is not only a feature of Microsoft Authenticator, but also a way of password management that Microsoft Authenticator relies on.
Microsoft Authenticator relies on Microsoft’s own account system for cross-platform synchronization, which eliminates the need to replace the security of third-party cloud platforms. In the process of using, the overall feel that the synchronization process is fairly smooth.
Another, Microsoft opened up the data channel between Microsoft Authenticator and Microsoft Edge. Data sharing between the two can rely on the Microsoft account system. Saved in Microsoft Authenticator can be used in Edge, and similarly, the password above can also be managed in the former. In this way, in the desktop environment, a third-party password App can almost be saved.
Import, export and backup
For those password managers that do not support Microsoft Authenticator import, Microsoft Authenticator provides a CSV import method. You only need to manually enter the corresponding password data according to the CSV template and execute the import. For the specific import method, there are more than one detailed operating instructions officially designated by Microsoft.
In exporting, Microsoft Authenticator itself provides the provided options first. But inserting the Microsoft Edge that communicates with it can realize the password conversion. Export to CSV format, or import it into other browsers. It should be noted that the CSV format file exported by Microsoft Edge is plain text and can be opened directly with Excel.
Microsoft Authenticator supports encrypted backups. The iOS and Android platforms are slightly different. In the former, the backup will actually be stored in the iCloud account and at the same time will be backed up to Microsoft’s own cloud.
Auto fill and generate random password
Password management may be that we use password management.
In fact, as early as December 2020, Microsoft has launched a preview version of Microsoft Authenticator that supports password filling on mobile terminals. Currently on iOS and Android, Microsoft Authenticator can set the system to replace the auto-fill App.
On the desktop environment, users who use Chrome can install the Microsoft Authenticator Chrome autofill plug-in for filling. For users who use Microsoft Edge directly, they can replace the data sharing between each other and fill them directly.
In terms of generating random passwords, I personally think this is a shortcoming of Microsoft Authenticator. However, this short board can be replaced to a certain extent by inserting the Microsoft Edge with its data sharing.
- Microsoft Edge can save passwords created by users, and can automatically fill in passwords when needed.
- Microsoft Edge can generate random high-strength passwords according to user needs.
- The cross-platform nature of Microsoft Edge expands the scope of application to Win, Mac and Linux.
Although Microsoft Edge fills in some of the shortcomings, it does not support users to choose the length of the password, character types, special symbols, etc., in comparison with other specialized password App rankings. This is a little regrettable.
As mentioned above, the collaboration between Microsoft Authenticator and Microsoft account, two-step verification and auto-fill functions have been mentioned. When we focused on the password management itself, Microsoft Authenticator gave me the feeling that it is really an electronic password book. The main interface of the MicrosoftAuthenticator App is even a bit rudimentary, there is no option to manually add a password, only query.
The password interface of Microsoft Edge can also manage passwords, and the same is relatively simple.
For those sites that do not record strangers, Microsoft Edge will provide users with options to choose whether to generate passwords on demand; on the mobile platform, Microsoft Authenticator will not generate on demand, but passwords can be added.
Advantages and disadvantages and summary
In the main function, Microsoft Authenticator does not lose much of those professional password managers, and it is free. Microsoft Authenticator supports common operating systems and even indirectly supports Linux systems. The two-step verification service provided by Microsoft Authenticator, the convenient login to the Microsoft account service, and the blessing of Microsoft’s own synchronization service are all its advantages.
Compared with other professional password management apps, the shortcomings of Microsoft Authenticator are actually very obvious. There is no separate app in some desktop environments, and the app itself cannot generate and modify passwords (requires Microsoft Edge), and does not support creating and managing multiple Password library and so on.
Perhaps we can look ahead a little bit, in the future, Microsoft will further make Microsoft Authenticator more powerful. In the same way, will Google, which owns Google Authenticator and Chrome, follow the steps of Microsoft and expand Google Authenticator and Chrome in the future?