Natural Auth & Dynamic Lock

Project Info

  • Location: Redmond, WA
  • Start Date: May 2017
  • End Date: August 2017
Project Features

  • Windows 10 native service plugin.
  • Extension of existing system architecture.
  • Project was shipped to users as part of the subsequent Windows release.


In the summer of 2017, I went back to Microsoft for a second summer internship with the OS Security team. After hearing that a commercial version of the prototype my teammates and I had made last summer was actually shipped to end users (which was the most exciting news ever!), I decided to accept my return offer and come back to keep working in the Natural Authentication space.

The ultimate goal of Natural Auth is to eliminate the need for long, complicated, and hard to remember passwords. Instead, the computer should be able to decide naturally (and securely) whether or not you are there based on passive signals it can gather. Biometrics is an example of such a signal, and the presence of a trusted device is another, just to name two of many. My summer project was to extend the Natural Auth framework to allow for the detection and use of additional passive signals in this multi-factor authentication process. Another use case of my project is in dynamic corporate management -- admins can use my plugin to detect the enviornment that the device is in, and push down policies accordingly.

Since I was able to wrap up the project with still some time left in my internship, I got the opportunity to look into another project that built more directly on what we did last summer, Dynamic Lock. In this second project, I worked more closely with my PM and the UX team to explore the possibilty of improving the UX of the Dynamic Lock experience. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to work out a concrete solution, but I did get to look at some code for the systray and notification area, and helped eliminate some solutions that did not work.

Some of the technologies I used include:

  • C++
  • XML
  • Windows kernel debugging
  • Windows Wi-Fi APIs and Wi-Fi security properties