Q: What are changes to Hotmail were announced in July 2011?

A: If you're anything like me, you probably get a lot of junk email from your friends' Hotmail accounts. After you contact them, you find out it's because of their accounts being hacked. To help combat this, Microsoft has instituted several changes.

First, when you receive email you suspect is the result of a friend's account being hacked, you can mark it as such by selecting My friend's been hacked! from the Mark as menu, as shown here.


You also have the option to mark an account as hacked when you mark a message as junk. When you set this hacked status, Microsoft is informed and it uses other heuristics and notifications to identify if the account has really been hacked. If so, the account is disabled and the real owner must go through an account recovery process before using the account again. Microsoft has worked with Google and Yahoo, so these hacked reports can also be sent to those providers.

Additionally, Microsoft is rolling out new password policies that will stop easy-to-guess or common passwords from being used, which will make it harder for accounts to be hacked in the first place.

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