Security Corner

Nov 13 2010   2:54PM GMT

Hotmail now Comes with HTTPS, Kind of



Posted by: Ken Harthun
Tags:
Email security
SSL
Web 2.0 Security

Start-to-finish SSL encryption is a very good thing when it works. And it usually does. Google has offered always-on encryption for more than two years on the GMail platform. Now Microsoft’s Hotmail features the same thing, almost. Here’s what I got when I tried to set it up (emphasis added):

Connect with HTTPS

  • Account Connect with HTTPS

Using HTTPS will help keep your account secure from hackers-especially if you commonly use public computers or unsecure wireless connections.

Important note: Turning on HTTPS will work for Hotmail over the web, but it will cause errors if you try to access Hotmail through programs like:

  • Outlook Hotmail Connector
  • Windows Live Mail
  • The Windows Live application for Windows Mobile and Nokia

If you only need a temporary HTTPS connection, enter “https” in front of the web address instead of “http”.

The page then gives you the option to use HTTPS automatically or manually, citing the important note above. I don’t use Outlook or Windows Live Mail, so I opted for automatic.

I’m sure they’ll get this resolved as they are aware of the issues according to this blog post. Here’s an excerpt:

To enable HTTPS for your Hotmail inbox, calendar, and contacts, go to https://account.live.com/ManageSSL. Once you enable this feature, all of your future connections to Hotmail will be delivered over SSL.

Some connections to Hotmail won’t be available if you turn on HTTPS, including:

  • Outlook Hotmail Connector
  • Windows Live Mail
  • The Windows Live application for Windows Mobile (version 6.5 and earlier) and Symbian

We’re constantly working to continue providing great security for our customers, so stay tuned.

Still, watered down or not, it’s much more secure than it was.

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