At the end of July, Microsoft took to its Enterprise security blog to announce it was combining its existing authenticator apps into a single Microsoft Authenticator app - that app is now available.
Previously, the tech giant had separate authentication apps for its consumer accounts and the enterprise Azure AD accounts. According to the blog post, this new app combines the best features from the Microsoft accounts and the Azure Authenticator apps into one application. It serves as an update to the current Azure Authenticator, while users of the old Microsoft account app will need to download it after being prompted to do so. Existing accounts in Azure Authenticator will automatically be upgraded. As previously done in the Microsoft accounts app, this new authenticator will provide a prompt, in the form of a push notification, to approve new logins. If you're offline or using the app for a non-Microsoft account, it will also provide the code that we're all used to with our two-factor authentication (because we are all using it, right?).
Here are the new features from the blog post:
- User experience refresh - We've made the app experience incredibly simple while maintaining the highest level of security.
- Best in breed MFA experience through one-click push notifications - You only need to click the "Approve" button in the notification to complete your login. (And in most cases, you won't even need to open the app to complete the approval.)
- Support for wearables - You can use an Apple Watch or Samsung Gear device to approve MFA challenges.
- Fingerprints instead of passcodes - We've added support for fingerprint-based approvals on both iPhone and Android.
- Certificate-based authentication - Support for enterprise customers to sign in through certificates instead of passwords.
So, it seems like this authenticator will be a pretty decent choice in the growing list of capable 2FA apps, especially for those who use Microsoft services for home or work. It is somewhat disappointing to not see support for Android Wear, but maybe Microsoft plans to build that in down the line.