Saturday, 16 July 2011

New Hotmail Improves Security, Blocks Common Passwords

Passwords are a perennial problem in computer security. This means that anyone creating a new Hotmail account or changing the password of an existing account won't be able to use obvious and common passwords like "123456" or "password." The system will also block common phrases, like "ilovecats." In the future, Microsoft may also extend this ban on obvious passwords to existing accounts at a later date.
The company has introduced a pair of security features for its free Web-based emailservice Hotmail. While the first feature, known as "My friend has been hacked!", has already rolled out; the second, a feature to ban common passwords, will arrive soon. This is a wise move.The security feature adds a "My friend's been hacked!" option in the "mark as" menu in Hotmailand also enables users to report hacked accounts. 

The feature will be rolling out soon. It will not affect users who use a weak password, at least not for now, but Microsoft hints at the possibility that this might change in the future. For now, only users who register a new Hotmail account or change their password are benefiting from the new ruling.
Microsoft furthermore suggests to add alternate account ownership “proofs” to the Hotmail account, like a secondary email address, question and secret answer or a mobile phone number to aid in the recovery of accounts.

Hotmail introduced the feature a few weeks ago to selected accounts.
Two security features, one to improve overall account security, the other to reduce the damage caused by hacked accounts. More information about Hotmail’s new Security features are available at the official Windows Team Blog.