There are precautions you can take when you login to your Hotmail account in certain cases (like when you sign in to Hotmail from a public computer), but in general, the standard, default settings are fine. Windows Live Hotmail does offer, however, a super-secure option for the sign in screen: by choosing it, all the communication that happens between your web browser and Hotmail's web servers during the login process will be completely "encrypted", making it extremely difficult for a hacker to hijack your session.
Tip: Hotmail just added a new, security-related setting: "Connect with HTTPS"!
Securely sign in to Hotmail (Login with SSL)
Follow these steps to use enhanced security to login to your Hotmail account:
- First, go to the Hotmail sign screen in by typing www.live.com or www.hotmail.com in your browser's address bar; if needed, logout the previous user.
- When the login form has loaded, locate a "Use enhanced security (SSL)" link displayed in light gray at the bottom of the page, and click on it:
Note: the Windows Live team has updated Hotmail to force the Sign in page to always appear encrypted (secure
HTTPS), so you should no longer have to manually select that option.
- Your web browser will reload the Windows Live Hotmail sign in form, but this time using the same SSL protection and encryption used by banks and other financial institutions (for example). You will be able to notice a difference by looking at the new address bar:
- Once you see the "
s" in "
https://" that indicates a secure connection (see screenshot above), you can proceed as usual, and safely sign in to your Hotmail account using enhanced security!
- Note that the enhanced security turns on SSL only for the login process: while you enter your user name (full email address) and password, you are in encrypted mode (secure), but once the authentication process is over, you are back to standard, "
http" mode in your emails.
This is ok, because the most sensitive part of the Hotmail login process is when you actually transmit your credentials (email address and password) after clicking the "Sign in" button.
That's all it takes to turn on SSL login (secure mode) to sign in to your Windows Live Hotmail account!
Tip: Note that the SSL enhanced security option of the Hotmail sign in screen is a "sticky" setting. In other words, it will remain turned on for the web browser you are using until you manually click on the "Don't use enhanced security (SSL)" link at the bottom (same spot as the turn-on link) to turn it back off.
If you have concerns about accessing your Hotmail account from an unfamiliar or less safe location, please see how to sign in to Hotmail from a public computer, or even how to login to Hotmail with a single-use sign in code (the safest option).
Tutorial last updated on November 27, 2011
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