Even though we discussed a lot about Gmail, Hotmail is still the leading email service in term of users. Gmail has introduced many security functions to secure the accounts of the people. Microsoft has also been doing great with Hotmail security but the features have largely been untold and silently integrated with Hotmail. Here, we will talk about the security options that Hotmail provides for security Hotmail accounts.
1. Using strong passwords
This is the first and foremost setting that a user needs to be responsible for. You should be using strong and secure passwords so that no one will be able to use brute force methods to guess your password. So what is a strong or secure password? The password which is:
- Not a dictionary word (regardless of any language)
- Not a variation of a dictionary word
- Not a sequential or repeated word
- Doesn’t include any personal information like name, birthdate, Govt. issued IDs etc.
There are many random password generators but if you want to remember your password then you should follow the way to create passwords recommended by Microsoft itself.
2. Connecting With HTTPS
Using HTTPS instead of HTTP means that you’re using a secure means of communication between the Hotmail servers and your computer. If a hacker intercepts the connection during the communication, the connection will simply break and the hacker will not be able to get any information about the communication. Almost all the modern browsers will display a green bar that shows the owner of the site in the address bar. Make sure that the owner of Hotmail.com when you open it is Microsoft Corporation.
Here’s how it looks like in Internet Explorer:
And here’s the screenshot from Firefox:
To always use HTTPS, just go to the Microsoft manage SSL page and select “Use HTTPS automatically“.
Please note that if you’re using a desktop client with Outlook Hotmail Connector or Windows Mobile, you’ll get some problems with HTTPS. Then you can leave the above settings to “Don’t use HTTPS automatically” and then always open Hotmail using https://www.hotmail.com in order to check your email.
3. Password Reset Information
You must ensure that your password reset information in your Hotmail account is always up to date so in any case if you forget your password, you’ll always be able to reset your password using the recovery information. To reset your password information, you’ll need to go to Windows Live account page.
You should always have a secondary email address that you can attach to your Hotmail account so that your password reset information is sent to your secondary account if you forget the password.
You can also add your mobile number as a recovery option so that the password reset information can be sent to your mobile phone in case of emergency but this option is only available to a few selected countries right now.
You can also add a Trusted PC if you use your account only on one PC. Windows Live Essentials is needed to be installed in order for this feature to work.
And the last and most important is the security question. The security question is like a password. You should always specify a secure security answer in order to have your account secured and away from hackers. Please refer to the “using strong passwords” topic for more information about secure passwords.
4. Using Hotmail On A Public Computer
There are times when you’ll need to check your email on a public computer when your own trusted computer is not available. You should always use HTTPS instead of simple HTTP on public computers. There is another feature “Get a single use code to sign in with” which works great if you are residing in a supported country. You can get a code for one time use on your mobile when you want to sign in to your Hotmail account on a public computer. This will ensure that you don’t have to type your real password and will use an auto generated password which will work only one time.
Keeping all these points in mind when using your Hotmail account will make sure that your account will always remain safe from wrong hands and hackers.
Image credit: CarbonNYC
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