The Outlook app for Android and iOS now has its own authenticator called “Authenticator Lite.” The feature is now rolling out, and users can get it by getting the latest update of the app.
The idea for the addition of the Authenticator Lite is to remove the need to separately download the Microsoft Authenticator in order to log into Outlook securely. By getting the new update, users will be able to make the app a multifactor authentication-secured device, and the app itself will provide a time-sensitive sign-in verification push notification that users would have to submit.
It will also allow the use of biometrics and pins if the handheld device already employs them as part of its local security. This removes the conventional verification process via users’ phone numbers or text message codes. In its latest blog post, Microsoft explained why Authenticator Lite’s new system is more effective.
“According to research done by Microsoft, multifactor authentications completed via push notifications in the Microsoft Authenticator app are 71% less likely to be compromised than those completed via SMS codes,” Microsoft wrote in its recent blog post announcing the feature. “Therefore, we strongly recommend moving your users off phone transports for authentication and towards more secure methods such as push notifications. Authenticator Lite (in Outlook) expands the opportunity to convert users by bringing the enhanced security of push notifications to devices that have not yet downloaded the Microsoft Authenticator App.”
The feature was reported coming to the Outlook app for iOS and Android after Microsoft and Twitter were called out by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director, Jen Easterly, about the low MFA usage rate among their customers. According to Easterly, only one-quarter of Microsoft’s enterprise customers use it, while less than 3% of Twitter users have MFA. The official then urged the two companies to beef up their security protocols to better secure users, and this update seems to be one of Microsoft’s first steps to do that.