Liveside reports that Microsoft plans introduce a two-step verification system for Microsoft Account, meaning users will need more than just a user name and password in order to sign in once the feature goes live.
According to the report, Microsoft has already launched an Authenticator app on the Windows Phone Store, indicating that this boost in account security could take place in the near future. This is undoubtedly an important security move on Microsoft's part given that Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and likely the upcoming Xbox Infinity console now connects to one user account.
"Two-step verification adds an extra layer of protection to your account," the company states in a screenshot provided in the report. "When you sign in with your password, you'll need to enter an additional security code that we provide only to you. Some apps don't work with these security codes. When you're done setting up, we'll help you get your apps working again."
Unlike Google's two-step process which sends a pre-generated code to the user's phone via a text message, Microsoft's method requires the user to install an Authenticator app on the smartphone (like Blizzard's Barttle.net). Simply launch the app and enter the code when prompted. Apps that currently don't support the two-step process will need a special password generated from the Microsoft Account website.
"The Authenticator app generates security codes you can use to help keep your Microsoft account secure," the Authenticator app's description reads. "You can add your Microsoft account to the app by scanning a barcode or by manually entering a secret key. The app implements industry-standard security code generation and may also work with other services and providers."
So far it's unknown when Microsoft plans to introduce the new two-step authentication process, but we'll likely know more once BUILD 2013 arrives this June. The two-step feature may even be part of Microsoft's Windows Blue rollout slated to begin this summer.