Microsoft has tightened security for its free web-based email service - Hotmail. Beginning today, Hotmail will offer you more secured connections while you continue your mailing activities and use other services associated with Hotmail. The secured connection would be enabled using HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) via Secured Socket Layers for any web browser. So your Hotmail account, SkyDrive, Photos, Docs and Devices will get automatic encrypted connection once you enable it. Must say that though Hotmail has taken time, it finally stands next to Gmail for providing encryption for security via HTTPS.
Last month, Eric Butler, an independent security researcher, had demonstrated and put up FireFox Extension - FireSheep, that could snoop around in Open Wi-Fi and steal user's login credentials. Several hijacks managed to snoop around and intercept into Hotmail sessions even in secured networks. That kinda of raised an alarm for much needed security. Dick Craddock, group program manager for Windows Live Hotmail, said in blogpost at the official Windows Live blog, "Hotmail is providing you with the option to enhance the security of your entire Hotmail session with HTTPS data encryption (via secure socket layers, or SSL), which is currently used to help secure your Hotmail sign-in."
Users would be able to enable HTTPS encryption permanently for Hotmail, Calendar and Contacts. However, they first need to enable the secured encrypted connection feature from here and then log in to your account. Then you'll be greeted with the following option.
As Craddock said, once you enable this feature, all future connections to Hotmail would be delivered via SSL. However, do note that this HTTPS encrypted protocol feature is not a universal solution. There are certain places where HTTPS connection for Hotmail wont be delivered:
- Outlook Hotmail Connector
- Windows Live Mail
- Windows Live App for Windows Mobile 6.5 phones and Symbian platform
Back in May, Microsoft had refreshed its Hotmail interface to take on Gmail's increasing popularity. And just last month, even Yahoo unveiled a new, faster and richer looking Mail interface which is still in beta. Gmail has Labs to spoil users with several nifty features. Yahoo keeps refreshing Mail with new apps and social features. Hotmail gets a more secured connection and already works effortlessly with other Live products.
The three most popular web-based email service providers Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo now compete with each other to offer better looking, fast, easy to use and more secured email interface to users.