If you are using a public or a shared computer to check your Windows live account, there is always a big risk of getting hacked. Someone may install a keylogger program or any other malicious script which can be used to detect keystrokes and whatever you are typing, whether it be on a text-box or in any document. When you type the username and password of your email account from the public computer, the keystrokes are recorded and may be saved as a text document on a remote FTP server.
When you leave the public computer after checking your email, the hacker may gain access to your Windows live account by retrieving the username and password recorded by the keylogger program.
This goes out not only to a Windows live account but is applicable to other email services as well. This is where the concept of single sign on code comes in, which needs a little introduction.
What is a Single Sign on Code and How do I get it?
A single sign on code is nothing but a token which can be used instead of your email account password. A single sign on code can be used to sign in to your email account and is provided by your email service provider.
The single sign on code is destroyed immediately after the first sign in and can be used only once. Thus, if the keylogger program records the sign on code, it will not work the next time it is used to access your account. Unfortunately, Gmail and Yahoo does not yet support signing in via a single sign on code, but Windows live has lately implemented this security feature.
Activate the Single Sign on Code for your Windows Live Account
1. Go to this link and sign in with your Windows live account. You will be taken to the account overview page, which looks like the following:
2. Under the “Password Reset information” section, click the “Add” link placed just next to the Mobile Phone. In the next page, select your country and add your mobile phone number, as shown below:
Note: The single sign on feature is available only in a few countries which include United States, Australia, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Turkey, United Kingdom, France, China, Japan, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, Columbia, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Jersey.
3. Click the “Add” button and you are done verifying your phone number with Windows Live.
Request a Single Sign On Code While Signing in to Your Windows Live Account
1. To request a single sign on code, go to the Windows Live login page and enter your username in the respective text box. Do not enter the password yet, because this will defeat the entire purpose of using the single sign on code for your Windows live account.
Instead click the link which says “Get a single use code to sign in with”
2. After clicking the above link, the page will refresh as all the previous cookies will be deleted. You will see the following screen and will have to click the “Get One Here” link as shown below:
3. After clicking the “Get one here” link, you will have to enter your Windows live ID and the phone number associated with your account. Also remember to choose the appropriate country, as shown below:
4. Next, hit the “Send text message” button and an SMS message will be sent to your mobile phone immediately. The text message will read like the following:
Windows Live Single-Use code : XXXXXXX. Reply STOP or HELP for help.
Note: If you do not want to use this specific code, you can reply back by texting STOP and the code will be permanently destroyed. You can get a new code anyway!
5. After getting the single use code, type it in the appropriate text box, as shown below:
That’s it, you have successfully signed into your Windows live account without revealing your password. If the computer has a keylogger program installed, it will trace the single use code successfully but the hacker won’t be able to use the same code again. This is because, the single use code is destroyed immediately after you sign out from your Windows Live account and will not work the next time anyone (including you) uses it.
Gmail users would love to read these security tips and we hope other email providers will implement the same feature in near future. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments.