New and improved security features coming to Hotmail

Microsoft said on Monday that it plans to introduce enhanced security features to Hotmail alongside the new Hotmail features revealed last week.

Microsoft said that “Hotmail will be the first email service to … ensure that hijackers cannot lock a user out of their account”. This feature is thought to be possible through using mobile phone verification and by allowing users to register a frequently used computer as a “Trusted PC”. Hotmail can then identify these registered devices and distinguish them against possible spammers’ devices if an account is hacked.

Microsoft will also be allowing users to enable SSL (Secure Socket Layer) on their account which will encrypt the entire email session. There will also be some other security additions to a user’s Windows Live account, a full list is below.

  • Hotmail detects if legitimate user accounts are compromised and treats them differently than accounts that spammers set up themselves to send spam, working with the user to help them recover their account.
  • New account proofs.  Mobile phone number and option to register your PC as “Trusted PC”
  • More secure proofs.  Previously (and still on other services), users could add/remove proofs with just their password.  Now, the ability to validate an existing proof is required to change them.
  • Closing back-doors the hijacker may try to leave open.  When a compromised account is detected, it is blocked to prevent further abuse, and holiday auto-reply messages and linked accounts are suspended.
  • SSL available not just at login, but for entire session.

Microsoft claims these new security features will be rolled out in October alongside the previously reported new features such as nested folders, Facebook Chat within the web Messenger interface and shipment tracking.

More information on all Hotmail announcements can be found on the Inside Windows Live blog.

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