Microsoft has recently introduced new features to tighten the security of Hotmail accounts. The new features are minor additions so most people will not even be bothered. The first security feature that Microsoft has added is that it has banned the usage of common passwords on Hotmail accounts. The second security feature is about notifying Microsoft about the hacked Hotmail accounts. Let’s discuss these features in a little detail.
Common passwords banned in Hotmail
Web giants like Google and Facebook are implementing additional security techniques in addition to the traditional username and password security. But still username and password remains the dominant authentication technique for most of the sites. The problem with usernames and passwords is that they get hacked quite often. These frequent successful hacking attempts are due to weak passwords chosen by people. Microsoft has also stepped up their Hotmail and Windows Live account security by disallowing the use of common passwords that can be guessed easily. This includes passwords like 123456, qwerty, password etc. All the commonly used phrases and English words will not be allowed.
So now if you want to create a new Hotmail or Windows Live account or simply want to change your password, you will not be allowed to set a commonly used password. You can follow Microsoft’s instructions about how to create strong passwords.
Hacked account notification
You would have observed that sometimes you get many emails from your friend or contact. All the emails look like spam as the content in the emails is just random text plus a link at the end of the email. These are not really from your contact. This is an indication that your contact’s Hotmail account has been hacked by some spam bot and all the contacts from his or her address book are being bombarded with spam email.
Now Hotmail has introduced a new feature that will let you notify Microsoft that your friend’s Hotmail or Windows Live account may have been hacked. To use this feature, you’ll need to double click on the message you want to report and then from the top menu, select Mark as –> My friend’s been hacked. This will alert Microsoft about the hacked account and if the account is really found to be hacked two things will happen:
- First and foremost, the account can no longer be used by the spammer.
- When your friend attempts to access their account, they’re put through an account recovery flow that helps them take back control of the account.
So from now on, you should always notify Microsoft about the spam emails from friends but take extra care while reporting. You should make sure that the spam emails are really spam and automated.