In a world of multiple devices, online ubiquity, and cloud storage, the security of your personal content—email, documents, and photos—is more important than ever. In addition to the behind-the-scenes work we do to keep your Outlook.com account secure, we’ve made a list of what we think are the top five things that you can do, to help keep your account as secure as possible:
1. Use a strong password and change it often
A strong password is one that is not easy to guess. Our advice is to make your password a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. We also recommend that you change it often, just in case someone manages to guess it. We recommend changing it every two months, and when you do, it should not be in any sort of pattern. For example, don’t simply change your password from “heLLo.1” to “heLLo.2”.
2. Use different passwords for each online account
We all use multiple services—be that Facebook, Twitter, Xbox Live, eBay etc. To keep all of your accounts more secure, we recommend using a different password for each. This means that if someone manages to guess your password for one service, the others are still secure.
3. Set up two-step verification
Outlook.com offers two-step verification, an optional extra layer of security on your account. You should enable this if you would like to make your account as secure as possible.
Two-step verification helps protect your Outlook.com account by making it more difficult for a hacker to sign in, even if they’ve somehow learned your password. When you enable two-step verification, you’ll see an extra page every time you sign in on a new or unfamiliar device. The extra page prompts you to enter a security code, which we’ll send to your phone or your alternative email address. You can also obtain one through an authenticator app on your smartphone (the official Microsoft authenticator can be found on Windows Phone and Android).
Watch this video to learn how to set up two-step verification:
4. Never give out your password or write it down
This may sound obvious, but you should be the only person to know your password. Be very aware of ‘phishing scams’ —where someone tries to convince you to provide your account details by acting as a representative for your email service. This could be disguised as a phone call or an email. Just remember that Microsoft will never ask you to provide your password by email or over the phone.
5. Make sure your alternative email address and phone number is up to date
We use your alternative email address and phone number to send you a verification code if you forget your password, suspect your account has been hacked, or we notice your account has been logged in from an unusual location. By keeping this information up to date, it’s easier for us to verify that it’s really you trying to log in, making your account more secure.
You may have your own tips for how you keep your account secure. If you have any, we’d love to hear them—you can let us know by commenting below, or tweeting @Outlook.