Hotmail Blocks Common Passwords, Adds My Friend's Been Hacked Reporting

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 14, 2011
Updated • Dec 16, 2014

Ghacks readers know that online security is of uttermost importance. That includes picking passwords that are not common like easy to guess or dictionary words.

The majority of Internet users on the other hand select convenience over security when it comes to their online passwords, or shall I say password. Many users pick a common password that they can easily remember, like qwertz, 123456, names or the almighty password password.

Problem is, malicious users know the common passwords and will try those first when they try to break into an online account.

Hotmail today has announced that the company has started to block common passwords to prevent users from using them. This provides better protection against brute force attacks. Dick Craddock, Hotmail group product manager notes that common passwords are not just password or 123456”, but also words or phrases like ilovecats or gogiants.

The feature will be rolling out soon. It will not affect users who use a weak password, at least not for now, but Microsoft hints at the possibility that this might change in the future. For now, only users who register a new Hotmail account or change their password are benefiting from the new ruling.

Microsoft furthermore suggests to add alternate account ownership "proof" to the Hotmail account, like a secondary email address, question and secret answer or a mobile phone number to aid in the recovery of accounts.

The second security related change is the new "my friend's been hacked!" feature which is available under the Mark As menu on Hotmail.

my friends been hacked

Friends are supposed to use the new reporting option when they know that their friend's account has been hacked. This is for instance the case when they receive spam emails from the friend's email address or when the friends notifies them about it.

Selecting the option gives Hotmail's compromise detection engine another factor or signal to identify a user account as hijacked, compromised or hacked.

When the detection engine comes to that conclusion it blocks account access so that it cannot be longer accessed by the spammer. It furthermore opens up account recovery options for the account owner. It is likely that the attacker's IP gets blocked in the process to prevent access to those recovery options.

Even better, Hotmail will report compromised email accounts to Yahoo Mail and Google Mail as well, so that these providers can use the information on their system.

Hotmail introduced the feature a few weeks ago to selected accounts.

Two security features, one to improve overall account security, the other to reduce the damage caused by hacked accounts. More information about Hotmail's new Security features are available at the official Windows Team Blog.

Update: The "My Friend's been hacked" feature is not available on recently.

Hotmail Blocks Common Passwords, Adds My Friend's Been Hacked Reporting
Article Name
Hotmail Blocks Common Passwords, Adds My Friend's Been Hacked Reporting
Microsoft announced two security additions to its Hotmail email service recently that improve security for all users of the service.

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  1. JMGG said on January 19, 2012 at 8:25 am

    You said that Outlook isn’t your main email client, so which is your main one?

    1. BalaC said on January 19, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I think its thunderbird

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

      It is Mozilla Thunderbird.

  2. Salaam said on September 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Awesome! This actually solved my problem… what a stupid bug.

  3. Claud said on December 19, 2012 at 2:08 am

    If this is the same bug that I’ve encountered, there may be another fix: (1) hover over open Outlook item in Taskbar, cursor up to hover over Outlook window item, and right-click; (2) this should give you Restore / Move / Size / Minimize / Maximize — choose Move or Size; (3) use your cursor keys, going arbitrarily N/S/E/W, to try to move or size the Outlook window back into view. Basically, the app behaves as though it were open in a 0x0 window, or at a location that’s offscreen, and this will frequently work to resize and/or move the window. Don’t forget to close while resized/moved, so that Outlook remembers the size/position for next time.

    1. Lynda said on February 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      THANK YOU Claude!!! I could get the main window to launch but could not get any other message window to show on the desktop. You are my hero!!!!

    2. Chad said on November 20, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Solved my issue! 6 years later and this is still problem…

    3. Ivan X said on January 21, 2021 at 4:50 pm

      Fantastic. Thank you. Size did the trick.

  4. Andrew said on October 26, 2013 at 7:06 am

    This solved my Outlook problem, too. Thank you. :)

  5. Charles said on December 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Thank you so much, this started happening to me today and was causing big problems. You are a life saver, I hope I can help you in some way some day.

  6. garth said on November 7, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    You are a god – thank you!

  7. Faisal said on February 9, 2015 at 10:09 am

    thanks a lot…. work like charm.. :-)

  8. Simon said on March 24, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Yah…thanks Claude. I’ve been having the same problem and tried all the suggestions…your solution was the answer. It had resized itself to a 0/0 box. Cheers

  9. Olu said on April 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Excellent post. This had me baffled even trying to accurately describe the problem. This fixed it for me.
    Thank you

  10. Coenig said on July 23, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Thanks a lot for the article. Don’t know why it happenend, don’t know how it got fixed, but it was really annoying and now it works :-)

  11. Fali said on January 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks a lot. I was facing this issue from past 3 week. I tried everything but no resolution. The issue was happening intermittently and mainly when I was changing the display of screen ( as i use 2 monitors). The only option i had was to do system restore. But thanks to you.

    1. MIki said on January 10, 2019 at 11:54 am

      I’ve been tried to sole this problem for 12hours. Your comment about changing the display of screen helped me a lot!! Thanks!!

  12. Christina said on January 20, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you…don’t know why this happened but your instructions helped me fix it. Running Windows 10 and office pro 2007

  13. Oz said on July 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Great tip! Thanks!

  14. Tracy said on September 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Worked for me, too – thank you!!!

  15. shawn said on September 9, 2016 at 10:25 am

    It’s Worked for me, too
    thank you very much!

  16. Jari said on October 31, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I had a similar issue with Outlook 2013 on Windows 10 and this helped me to fix it. Thank you very much!

  17. Michel H said on November 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you so much. Solved!
    Considering you published this in 2012, incredible not been debugged by Microsoft.
    Thank you again. M

  18. Ziad Bitar said on January 9, 2017 at 2:00 am

    This problem was faced by only one user logging to TS 2008 r2 using outlook 2010.The issue was resolved.


  19. Anonymous said on February 15, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Great tip. Thank you!!!! If it helps, I had to use the Control Key and the arrow keys at the same time to bring my window back into view. Worked like a charm.

  20. Rochelle said on March 6, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Thank you, this worked !!!!

  21. anom1234 said on May 20, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Man, you are a fucking god. Thanks a lot, what an annoying bug!!

  22. JC said on October 12, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Awesome, this post solved the issue. Many thanks!

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