1996 saw the birth of Hotmail. 2011 saw Hotmail ban easy to guess passwords. That didn’t take long did it!
From now on, new users of the web based email service won’t be able to be quite as stupid as they have been in the past. That means no more common passwords like ‘123456’, ‘enter’ or ‘password’. They also won’t be able to use other common dictionary words or oft-used phrases that are remarkably easy to crack with a dictionary attack that would take about 0.3 seconds to complete.
According to Ars Technica, Microsoft is also considering extending the ban on ridiculously simple passwords to existing users of their Hotmail service too.
My friend’s been hacked!
In addition to banning obvious passwords Microsoft is also rolling out another new feature which allows Hotmail users to report if another Hotmail user has had their account hacked. This new feature, ‘My friend’s been hacked!’, is a tool which will block the infected account and will force ‘your friend’ to have to go through the account recovery process in order to get it back again.
These new features are so simple, obvious and easy to implement that I have to wonder why it has taken 15 years to get to this point? Of course blocking certain obvious passwords doesn’t suddenly ensure 100% security for Hotmail users but it is a small step in the right direction.
If you need a new password for Hotmail then make sure you choose a secure one and ensure you only use it for the one account rather than everything you do online. If you are having trouble managing all of your passwords then read my guide on how to use KeePass which can keep them all safe for you.