Hotmail introduces new security feature, 'My friend's account was hacked!'

One of the world leading email provides is stepping up their security for all their users. Since the beginning of email, spam has always been a problem that is very hard to combat.

As spammers continue to get smarter with their phishing emails, Hotmail is attempting to stay one step ahead. Hotmail is rolling out a new security feature that lets you help identify an email account as spam, called "My friend's been hacked!" Users may have already noticed this feature in Hotmail under the mark as dropdown.

The Windows Team Blog went in depth about how the feature works and how it helps keeps your friends email safe and secure. When a user receives a suspicious email from a friend, they mark the email as "My friend's been hacked!", which automatically puts all their emails into your junk folder.

myaccounthacked

The Hotmail team receives this complaint and combines it with information inside their spam detection engine and takes the necessary actions upon the account. In the case that an email actually has been hacked, Microsoft will lock down the account, preventing further spam from that account.

In order for your friends to re-active their account, they will have to follow and successfully complete the account recovery; make sure your account information is up to date and accurate.

The Hotmail team has also worked closely with Yahoo! and Gmail to also accept these reports and further investigate any suspicious activity on email accounts.

In addition to this new security feature, Microsoft is also preventing users from using common passwords like "password" and "123456". This will also include common phrases and words used by millions of people like "ilovecats". The feature won't require users to update their passwords if they use a common password, but going forward, this passwords will no longer be allowed.

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44 Comments

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dotf said,
They need to enable this for all passport based authentication sites.

my xbox live account is still hacked......

Then you should call Xbox support and prove that you are the true account holder.

I hear my not-so-computer-literate friends explain how they hacked other peoples accounts all the time. Their other friends accounts of which they happened to know the password of. That's what they think hacking is.

So my friends account is hacked, and I am being spammed from it. My Friend can NO LONGER log into their account.
I report it as hacked. MS locks it down.
My friend does the recovery - but the info has been changed. Now what?

Also mentioned above, will this help in the case of 'spoofed' emails, or am I going to just lock my friend out of their account?

Ruciz said,
So my friends account is hacked, and I am being spammed from it. My Friend can NO LONGER log into their account.
I report it as hacked. MS locks it down.
My friend does the recovery - but the info has been changed. Now what?

Also mentioned above, will this help in the case of 'spoofed' emails, or am I going to just lock my friend out of their account?

Read the article. It clearly states Hotmail will have some tools to check if the account really is hacked before they lock it down.

Good feature. Ive never seen it in my account and just recently blocked a friend who has obviously had this happen. Not a big deal as I dont contact him much anymore anyway, it was just annoying to get the same stupid email 5 times a day so I blocked the address. This makes things simpler

A friend of mine has a hotmail account that I regularly receive spam from. We've run through all sorts of checks and it doesn't look like the account itself or his PC has actually been compromised - at least not now, there is a possibility that it was originally and he had his contact list stolen. I suspect that someone is just spoofing his address details now in the hope that the recipients trust the source. Will this feature make any difference to that?

Also, if Gmail and Yahoo mail are collaborating to receive the reports will they also be implementing a similar feature on their front ends to send reports back to Hotmail?

yazb123 said,
will this update come to the software windows live mail as well?

in wave 6 if ever. same time they'll add twitter support to messenger.

yazb123 said,
will this update come to the software windows live mail as well?

I hope it comes to WP7 too. I never check email on my desktop anymore.

kkick said,
I can see this getting abused. Locking friends out of their account.

they'd also have to be spamming and on record with MS as being spammers

Thank goodness for this feature, I have been getting a lot of emails, inviting me to click some link to check something out, but because I know this is a lie, I just move them to the junk folder. Its good to know that the Hotmail Team is acknowledging and doing something about this problem.

Singh400 said,
This is new? Had this for a while now...?

The said in the article that some users may have already noticed it but it wasn't until today that they announced it on the Windows Team Blog

Steve B said,
Problem is Hotmail's SPAM filtering sucks. I get the same damn SPAM emails even though I keep blocking them.

I don't, maybe because I'm accessing my account through Outlook 2k7? Nah, probably not. I get basically zero junk emails in my hotmail inbox, and only have to empty out my junk email folder in the end, same deal with my gmail account. As far as spam filtering goes, for me at least, they're both the same.

Steve B said,
Problem is Hotmail's SPAM filtering sucks. I get the same damn SPAM emails even though I keep blocking them.

I never do on my new account. Stop filling out those contests to win a new car the next time you swing by quiznos and you will be surprised the amount of spam that comes just from those silly contests.

Steve B said,
Problem is Hotmail's SPAM filtering sucks. I get the same damn SPAM emails even though I keep blocking them.

How odd. In the last year, Google has dramatically reduced the amount of spam that I receive in my account from ~200/week to 20/week. In the meantime, Hotmail has done NOTHING to improve the situation; I still get one or two spam messages every month in that account.

Steve B said,
Problem is Hotmail's SPAM filtering sucks. I get the same damn SPAM emails even though I keep blocking them.

Never had much of a problem with it. I used to get a few in my junk mail every week then I decided to do this to rid myself completely.

Click options on folders - manage rules - create a rule - if to/cc address does not contain "myaddress" delete.

I did the same for gmail using filters as well "!myaddress" delete. "!" means not.

These are ideal for email that isn't addressed to you but still ends up in your account. Happens on any email service.

Relativity_17 said,

How odd. In the last year, Google has dramatically reduced the amount of spam that I receive in my account from ~200/week to 20/week. In the meantime, Hotmail has done NOTHING to improve the situation; I still get one or two spam messages every month in that account.

Wait a minute.. so your google account receives 20 spam messages a week and you're complaining that hotmail only lets through 2 a MONTH..... do you like spam??

Relativity_17 said,

How odd. In the last year, Google has dramatically reduced the amount of spam that I receive in my account from ....

Probably due to their buying Postini.

Munroe said,

Wait a minute.. so your google account receives 20 spam messages a week and you're complaining that hotmail only lets through 2 a MONTH..... do you like spam??

Thats called sarcasm...

Nice feature, but I'm more amazed that Microsoft has a sense of humor. Before, they would probably have called it something like "Suspicious email from acquaintance's email address".

MS Lose32 said,
Nice feature, but I'm more amazed that Microsoft has a sense of humor. Before, they would probably have called it something like "Suspicious email from acquaintance's email address".

I was thinking the same... They are now moving to more user friendly in every aspects.

still1 said,

I was thinking the same... They are now moving to more user friendly in every aspects.
haha. its metro age man

warwagon said,
Ya, they had to, because people who have Hotmail and yahoo accounts seem to get hacked ALLLLLL the time.

yeah, could it be the bad passwords? *lol*

warwagon said,
Ya, they had to, because people who have Hotmail and yahoo accounts seem to get hacked ALLLLLL the time.

I wish they make this in Yahoo mail, as a couple of old friends of mine have their accounts hacked, and i have no way of telling them

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

yeah, could it be the bad passwords? *lol*

This. Many, if not most of the "hacks" happen because someone the user knows guesses his password.

Good to see this, though. It doesn't hurt and can help a lot of people.

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

yeah, could it be the bad passwords? *lol*

Had a call from a customer telling me her sons facebook profile was hacked. Told her to tell him to change his facebook password. I also asked her what the old password was that he used. she said.... ...... "Football"

warwagon said,

Had a call from a customer telling me her sons facebook profile was hacked. Told her to tell him to change his facebook password. I also asked her what the old password was that he used. she said.... ...... "Football"

I always want to slap users who tell me their passwords and its something you could of guessed based on their likes.... like a major hockey fan has a password as "Hockey" *rolls eyes*

Stewart Gilligan Griffin said,

I always want to slap users who tell me their passwords and its something you could of guessed based on their likes.... like a major hockey fan has a password as "Hockey" *rolls eyes*


Or just look under their keyboard or behind some pictures on their desk. Gotta love the password on the post it note.

warwagon said,
Ya, they had to, because people who have Hotmail and yahoo accounts seem to get hacked ALLLLLL the time.

Best thing i ever added to my Gmail and Google Apps was the google authenticator...pretty much safe now

Beyon_Godlike said,

Best thing i ever added to my Gmail and Google Apps was the google authenticator...pretty much safe now

Agreed. After the Sony hack thing, I got an unwanted gmail authentication text on my phone I then changed my password.