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Monday, August 3, 2009

How to Make Your Hotmail Sign In More Secure

Microsoft’s Hotmail, having gone through many revisions, has been around since 1996; which may as well be “eternity” on the Internet. If you use this service, good security practices are in order, and I’m here today to help secure your Hotmail sign in. If you’re not a Hotmail user, many of these tips can still apply to you, as other web-mail services may have the same features.

When signing in to Windows Live, make sure that SSL encryption is enabled so that your login and password are encrypted before sending them out. Also, please make sure that both “remember” check-boxes are cleared, unless you’re certain that nobody else will be using the PC which you are using.

Editor’s note: These days, modern browsers have the ability to “remember” login credentials. When checking your email from a public computer, never allow the browser to save your login and password.

Once you’ve gone through your Hotmail sign in, we suggest changing your current password into something more secure, especially if you’re the type of user who uses the same password for other services. Click Options in the upper-right of the screen, then Windows Live on the next, then Password on the next screen. This is where you’ll change your password. You’ll have to type it twice to get it right. Also, it’s suggested to check the box to make your password expire after 72 days.

hotmailPasswordGenerator

For a good, secure, random password, view posts on 5 free password generators that helps you to create nearly unhackable passwords or visit GRC’s Password Generator, then highlight 7-16 characters anywhere in the randomly-generated strings, then copy (Ctrl+C) and paste (Ctrl+V) them into your new password field. The only thing I suggest you don’t do is use any of the strings in the above screen-shot.

hotmailSecretQuestion

Finally, just in case you may forget your new password during your Hotmail sign in, you may set a secret question which will allow you to reset your password. From the Options screen, under Manage Your Account, select to edit your personal information. Choose to add a password-reset question, then select your question and type the answer. This should be something that, much like your password, nobody else knows.

Editor’s note: After you’re done checking your email, remember to log out. Optionally, you may clear the browsing history and empty the cache or restart the computer altogether. If you’re really paranoid about security, try using a portable version of Firefox, which you may find here.

I hope that these tips will prove helpful for you and your Hotmail-using buddies.

I welcome any tips and suggestions in the comments.

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