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Hotmail .......Gotten a Major Facelift

Posted by jade k on July 3, 2010, at 21:59:08

New York Times July 3, 2010

Hotmails New Security Features
Updated Corrected ranking of Hotmail. Its No. 2 in the United States, not No. 3.

A new Hotmail feature called sweep will let users mark messages from a given sender and dump them all in the trash at once and choose to have all future messages from that sender to go straight to the trash.The security of Web-based e-mail is about to get a lot tighter.

Microsoft gave the media a sneak peek on Tuesday at the new and improved version of its Hotmail service, which has gotten a major face-lift and myriad new bells and whistles designed to make it more competitive. Among the changes are a number of less flashy, but perhaps more important, features that will make Hotmail more secure.

Hotmail is the No. 1 service worldwide with more than 360 million users, but a distant No. 2 in the United States with 47 million users, according to the Web traffic measurement firm comScore. In the United States, Yahoo Mail is well ahead with 95 million users, while Gmail is gaining with 43 million.

The new version of Hotmail, scheduled to reach consumers this summer is going to have a substantial impact on consumer security, said Walt Harp, director of product management for Windows Live. What we built is what people asked us to build.
To protect the security and privacy of e-mail from eavesdroppers, Microsoft will now use Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, or HTTPS, to encrypt all data sent between you and Microsoft; previously, it encrypted only the transmission of login information. Gmail began using HTTPS to encrypt e-mail traffic in January.

A green shield indicates that an e-mail message is really from Bank of America.Hotmail will also begin showing a safety symbol to alert its users about e-mail from certain organizations, like financial -services firms, that have been verified as trusted senders.

Banks, shopping sites like eBay and even government agencies like the Internal Revenue Service have been impersonated by scammers running phishing schemes. Hotmail and other e-mail services have long used technologies behind the scenes to verify senders identities to battle phishing. But now, Hotmail will use it to show you it has verified that a message in your inbox from, say, Bank of America is in fact from that bank, so you can open it confidently.

And to help you safeguard your Hotmail password a cherished target for scammers Microsoft will begin offering single-use passcodes that you can request if you are, for example, using a public computer in a cybercafe or hotel. When you ask for a code, Hotmail will send it to your mobile phone by text message.

Hotmail will also use your mobile number, if you have supplied it, to help you recover your e-mail account if your password has been stolen and changed to lock you out by sending you a new password by text message. The mobile hoop is necessary because we want to help you get your account back, but we also dont want to let a phisher get in there, Mr. Harp said.

Gmail began alerting users about logins to their accounts from suspicious locations this March, in an effort to warn people that their accounts may be compromised.

On the spam front, the new Hotmail includes a tool Microsoft calls personalized spam filtering, which is designed to reduce the number of e-mail messages it marks as spam that arent, in fact, spam. For instance, your personalized filter will be able to automatically recognize parties you communicate with often or newsletters you open and keep them out of your junk folder, even if theyre not on your contact list. You can also take steps to block or unblock specific senders and set up other spam rules yourself.

Hotmail users will also get a new feature called sweep that they can use to quickly clean messages they dont want out of their inboxes. It will let users mark messages from a given sender and dump them all in the trash at once and choose to have all future messages from that sender to go straight to the trash. Users can also sweep to keep, Mr. Harp said, by sending messages from a given sender to a folder, rather than the trash.




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