Hotmail Bans Weak Passwords, Adds Hacked Account Reporting Feature
For those who still actually use Hotmail instead of Gmail, Microsoft is introducing new security features that are actually kind of neat and pretty useful. First off, they have banned commonly used weak passwords. This means that passwords like “password,” “god” or “love” (we’ve all seen Hackers, right?) won’t cut it anymore. Hotmail users who currently use a weak password may be prompted to change it in the future, so, like trying to get into a closed beta testing program, if you really want a Hotmail account with a weak, unsafe password, now is the time to create an account.
Secondly, Microsoft is introducing a “My friend has been hacked” feature, in which users can report accounts that they believe to have been compromised. Generally, a user would be able to tell that a friend’s account has been compromised because the hacker would use the account for uncommon activity, such as sending phishing emails or spam to the friend. The “mark as” menu in Hotmail now contains a “My friend has been hacked!” classification (similar to “Mark as spam”), so users can report what they feel is a hacked account fairly seamlessly. When a user reports that they think an account has been hacked, it sends an alert to Microsoft, and the company’s detection system then knows to run its detecting magic, and if the engine discovers that the account has indeed been hijacked, then it automatically begins the recovery process in order for the original owner to take back his or her account. That is, if they haven’t already switched to Gmail.