Microsoft Touts Progress with Windows Hello

Posted on January 12, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 32 Comments

Microsoft Touts Progress with Windows Hello

Today, Microsoft revealed that there are now over 100 unique biometric-enabled Windows devices and accessories available across all form factors.

This sounds good, right? But you may recall that I had previously questioned why there were no no mainstream Windows Hello hardware peripherals available. That was back in June 2016, and looking at the situation today, I can’t honestly say that things have improved much in the intervening seven months.

That said, things have improved, if only slightly. There are certainly more PCs that come with Windows Hello hardware than was the case in mid-2016. But that wasn’t really my complaint. What was missing, what is still missing, is Windows Hello peripherals one can add to existing PCs. They exist, yes. But not from major hardware makers. Even Microsoft doesn’t sell such a peripheral, which is crazy to me. (Yes, Microsoft does sell one Surface Pro 4 keyboard cover with a Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader.)

But progress is progress. And in a blog post today, Microsoft did highlight some new Windows Hello peripherals, and each is unique in its own way. They are:

Nymi Band. This is a wearable device, a wristband, with a tappable area you can use to sign-in to your PC. It’s not exactly a fingerprint reader; instead, it uses unique electrocardiogram (ECG) based authentication technology. You can learn more here.

YubiKey for Windows Hello. Well-known about the security conscious, YubiKey now sells a USB-based Windows Hello companion hardware device that incorporates both key-based and certificate-based authentication. You can learn more here.

RSA SecureID Access Authenticator. This app turns your smartphone into a Windows Hello authenticator, so you can use proximity sensing to sign-in to your PC. You can learn more here.

HID Global Seos card. This NFC-based companion device is basically a smart employee badge that enables you to tap to unlock Windows Hello. More info here.


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