Microsoft touts Hotmail security adds; users complain of account hacks
Hotmail will also include a new feature tagged "Trusted Sender," which visually identifies legitimate mail from about 100 senders, mostly financial institutions like banks, that are commonly spoofed by identity thieves.
When asked to compare the new Hotmail security features with rivals such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail, Harp declined to go toe-to-toe with the competition. "The race isn't so much with the other [Web e-mail] services, but with the miscreants," he said.
Matt Rosoff, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, disputed Harp's claim that rivals weren't at the root of Hotmail's changes. "Without the competition from Google['s Gmail], Microsoft would have much less incentive to improve Hotmail," said Rosoff.
But Harp did tout the fact that Hotmail has all of Microsoft behind it, including the company's security team. "We bring all of Microsoft's know-how, not just the Hotmail's team, to the table," said Harp.
As an example, Microsoft will offer the Internet Explorer 8 (IE) "SmartScreen Filter" technology on its Windows Live properties. SmartScreen Filter is a combination anti-phishing and malware blocking tool in IE8 that warns users when they try to reach a potentially-dangerous URL.
Hotmail users running rival browsers, including Google's Chrome, Mozilla's Firefox, Apple's Safari and Opera Software's Opera, will receive that same protection later this year in a follow-on update to the June launch of Wave 4, said Harp. Other parts of Windows Live, including Messenger, Microsoft's instant messaging client, will have it immediately next month.
But some users wished Microsoft had stepped up its Hotmail security efforts earlier.
Although Microsoft today denied that there has been a recent uptick of Hotmail account hijackings, numerous users of the service have claimed that their inboxes have been hacked, and that their contacts have been purged.
Several users who used Twitter today to report that their Hotmail accounts had been hacked also wanted better security now.
"[Microsoft] to give Hotmail a make-over [is] too little too late if the number of times my account has been hacked is an indicator," tweeted James Milligan today, referring to a Wednesday story on The Daily Telegraph's Web site about Hotmail improvements.
"Hotmail adding a bunch of new features ... how about focusing on security from hackers? And more help for hacked accts?" tweeted Bill Robb Tuesday.
Robert McMillan of the IDG News Service contributed to this report.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.
- Radicati: Cloud Business Email - Market Quadrant 2013 Google was named the top cloud business email provider in a recent report by research firm Radicati. Out of 14 key players, Google...
- Tablets in the Enterprise: A Checklist for Successful Deployment How can you enterprise manage and secure tablets in order to protect corporate data while providing access to the information and applications employees...
- Enterprise Mobility: A Checklist for Secure Containerization The advantages and disadvantages of the multiple approaches to containerization. Learn More>>
- Enterprise File Sync & Share Checklist File sync and share has changed the way people work and collaborate in today's tech-savvy world. Gone are the email roadblocks, clunky FTP...
- Live Webcast LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Security White Papers | Webcasts