Microsoft Edge is offerning support for the new W3C “Web Authentication” as an alternative to password in its latest “beta” build.

Microsoft announced on Monday that its Microsoft Edge browser now supports the Web Authentication spec at the preview stage, enabling the testing of an alternative means of carrying out user authentications besides passwords.

The Web Authentication spec is a standard for the use of public key cryptography in credentials being developed by the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance industry coalition and the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) organization. Currently, the Web Authentication spec is at the W3C’s “Candidate Recommendation” stage, meaning that it’s considered stable and is one step away from being a W3C “Recommendation” and ready for implementation.

The aim of the spec is to move away from using passwords for user authentications, which is conceived as problematic because passwords are subject to information disclosure and phishing attacks. Instead, user identities get verified by a fingerprint reader, a face scan or a personal ID number. A so-called FIDO 2.0 “companion device” may be used in the process, such as a wristband with near-field communication capabilities, a card swipe or a USB drive.