Microsoft says expiring passwords are no longer secure

Windows 10 May 2019 update will stop forcing users to change passwords every few months

list of poor passwords on notepad

Microsoft will scrap its archaic password expiration policies in the upcoming Windows 10 May 2019 update to encourage organisations to implement more contemporary and effective security measures.

The update will apply to Windows 10 version 1903 and Windows Server version 1903 and to replace the time-based periodic password expirations, organisations should set up.

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The company explained that if customers are required to change their password regularly, they are more likely to write down the passwords so they don't forget them and this could mean that others can quite easily get their hands on them, increasing the likelihood of them being stolen.

Microsoft also noted that if people are asked to change their passwords often, they probably will only make very small changes and thus they won't be particularly secure. They are also more likely to forget their passwords and will have to reset them, affecting user experience and loyalty.

Additionally, even if a password was stolen, the thief would still be able to use that password until the user is forced to change it. Windows requests that a password is changed every 42 days as default. However, it used to advise the change is made every 90 days.

Microsoft argued that password expiration is an out of date method of data protection and it no longer recommends such policies are enforced.

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"Recent scientific research calls into question the value of many long-standing password-security practices such as password expiration policies, and points instead to better alternatives such as enforcing banned-password lists (a great example being Azure AD password protection) and multi-factor authentication," Microsoft said in a blog post.

However the company hasn't proposed an alternative, neither has it actually rolled out the changes, meaning that Windows 10 users will at least for the near future still need to change their passwords frequently.

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