Security Tips & Talk

Tips about computer security, online safety, and privacy

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  • Blog Post: How to recover an account if you haven’t already added security information to it

    A reader asks: What can I do if my account has been hacked and I haven’t already added security information to it? It would be easier to recover your account if you had already associated it with information that cybercriminals can’t easily access, like your mobile phone number or an...
  • Blog Post: The best time to change your password is now

    You can reduce your chances of being hacked by regularly changing the passwords on all the accounts where you enter financial or other sensitive information. Set an automatic reminder to update passwords on your email, banking, and credit card websites every three months. Different sites have different...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft won’t ask for your credit card to unblock your email account

    Tom asks: I’m getting messages from Microsoft about my email account. The messages say that my account is blocked and I can only unblock it with a credit card number. Is this legit? No, these messages sound like a phishing scam , a type of identity theft designed to steal your personal information...
  • Blog Post: 3 ways to help protect your Microsoft account

    A Microsoft account—formerly known as a Windows Live ID—is the combination of an email address and a password that you use to sign in to services such as Xbox LIVE and Outlook.com, as well as devices such as Windows Phone and computers running Windows 8. If you think your Microsoft account...
  • Blog Post: There is no Hotmail Maintenance Department

    Cassie writes: I received an email from the Hotmail Maintenance Department requesting personal information verification. The message included a PDF file. Is this a scam? Yes. This is one of many types of email cybercrime, also called phishing . Cybercriminals often use the Microsoft name to try...
  • Blog Post: Outlook.com is officially launched

    Outlook.com (formerly Hotmail ) is the newest version of free webmail from Microsoft. More than 60 million people have signed up for it since we released the beta version last summer. Whether you make the transition from Hotmail to Outlook.com now or wait to be automatically upgraded, you can keep...
  • Blog Post: Help! My email’s been hacked

    If you use Outlook.com or Hotmail and think your account has been hacked , you should act right away to help protect your Microsoft account . If you can still access your Microsoft account, sign in and immediately change your password. For Outlook.com, go to the Password and Security section; for...
  • Blog Post: What if I no longer have access to my secondary email address?

    Last week we answered a question about what to do if your Hotmail account is sending out spam . We mentioned resetting your password if you can’t sign in because your account has been blocked. One way you can unblock it is to respond to an email message sent by Microsoft to the secondary address...
  • Blog Post: Help! My account is sending out spam

    Laura writes: My Hotmail email address has been hacked. Someone sent out a spam email to everyone in my address book. What do I do? If it makes you feel any better, Laura, we get this question a lot. Here’s what to do right now: If you can still sign in to your account, change your...
  • Blog Post: Try Outlook.com

    Outlook.com is Microsoft’s new free cloud email service for personal use. You can use Outlook.com with the Outlook desktop application, via the web at http://outlook.com , or via other email apps that support Exchange ActiveSync or POP3. The new Outlook.com offers several security and privacy...
  • Blog Post: Fraud alert: Prize scams

    John writes: I received an email that said that I won a prize from Microsoft and I am concerned that others may fall for this scam. Can't anything be done about these types of scams? The Microsoft Lottery scam is a fraudulent email that claims that you have won a lottery, a prize, a sweepstakes...
  • Blog Post: Get rid of junk in your Hotmail inbox

    Spam and other email that you don’t want can clog up your inbox. Some spam can be fraudulent and can contain malicious software or links to malicious websites, but some email can just be annoying. Graymail is email that you signed up for, but you don’t want anymore. If you use Hotmail...
  • Blog Post: Help, I’ve been hacked!

    A reader named Karen asks: “I received a message in my Hotmail inbox that said that I’d been hacked and I should change my password. How do I do this?” If you think your Hotmail account has been hacked, go to the Reset your password page. Karen didn’t say whether the...
  • Blog Post: Research firm rates spam filters

    Spam filters for email programs are a little like the roof on a house. You wouldn’t want to live without one, but some are better than others. Recent research from Cascade Insights showed that no email program they tested did better than Hotmail at filtering spam. Get tricks for getting rid...
  • Blog Post: Report scams in Hotmail, Xbox, and more

    If you think you’re a target of a phishing scam or other fraud in an email, Xbox instant message, or on a website, you can report it. Most Microsoft products have built-in tools that make this easier. Hotmail. If you receive a suspicious email message that asks for personal information, click...
  • Blog Post: Holiday scam alert: “I’ve been mugged; send money!”

    The holidays are here, and that means that more people are travelling for their vacations. We thought this would be a good time to remind you about a popular online scam designed to trick you into thinking that your friend is in trouble on vacation. When cybercriminals break into someone’s email...
  • Blog Post: Avoid fake emails

    We sometimes hear from customers who want to know if an email which appears to be from Microsoft is real or not. If you receive an email that claims to come from Microsoft, but it contains an attachment or asks you to send passwords, user names, or financial information, it’s probably a fake. Te...
  • Blog Post: Recover your Hotmail account

    We recently received this email: “My Hotmail account was hacked and taken over by the classic ‘I'm in London and I’ve been mugged’ scam . It appears that the hacker has changed the basic verification information on the account and every attempt to reset the password throws...
  • Blog Post: Hotmail: Three new security improvements

    The Hotmail team has been busy. Three of our favorite new security improvements are: No more easy passwords. You might know that millions of people use the word “password” as their password. But did you know that millions of people also use “ilovecats” and “gogiants”...
  • Blog Post: Follow the latest privacy and online safety news

    The official Twitter account for the Microsoft Privacy team has relaunched at twitter.com/MSFTPrivacy. @MSFTPrivacy was launched for us to engage in real-time with our privacy community. We will use this channel to talk about privacy issues, while raising awareness of Microsoft’s approach to...
  • Blog Post: 3 tips to avoid summer travel scams

    Right now, in the United States, summer vacation season is here and so are scams . Here are three tips to help you avoid summer travel scams. 1. Watch out for deals that look too good to be true. If you’re still making vacation plans, then you’re probably looking for deals. If a deal looks...
  • Blog Post: Safety tips for chatting with Facebook friends in Hotmail

    Did you know that you can chat with Facebook friends within Hotmail? Just connect your Facebook account to Windows Live and be sure the “Chat with my Facebook friends in Messenger” box is selected. No matter where you’re chatting, it’s a good idea to be cautious. There...
  • Blog Post: Secure your Hotmail account

    We used to recommend that you increase the security of your Hotmail account by creating a new account, one that you would give to online retailers or other organizations that might send a lot of unwanted email . Now, if you have a Hotmail account, you can create an alias within your account instead...
  • Blog Post: Why you need a strong password

    These days almost everything online requires a password. You already know that you should use complicated passwords and that you shouldn't use the same password for every account. Here are more tips on how to create stronger passwords and how to test your password strength . If you want to know why...
  • Blog Post: Beware of Facebook email scams

    A friend recently forwarded us the email below because they thought it was a scam. They were right. This email is a great example of three easy ways to detect a scam . Spelling and bad grammar. Cybercriminals are not known for their impeccable grammar and spelling. A professional company like...
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