Microsoft Adds New Security Features to Accounts

Over the next couple of days, Microsoft will be rolling new security features to user accounts across Windows PC, Windows Phone device, Outlook.com, SkyDrive, Xbox and more services – to add an additional layer of access control.

In addition, Microsoft is delighted to see that customers who have turned on two-step verification are less likely to experience illegal activities with their accounts. If you have not yet activated two-step verification, they highly recommend you do.

The following is information on the new features coming to your Microsoft account (directly from the Official Microsoft Blog):

Recent activity

Many of you have asked for more insight into recent sign-ins and other activity on your account. So we added a new view that allows you to see your sign-ins and other account activities.

We think about protecting accounts as a partnership between us and you – the more you help us (with accurate account info, and updated security info), the more we can help you keep your stuff safe. You know best what’s been happening with your account – so the more we give you tools to understand what’s happening, the better we can work together to protect your account. For example, a login from a new country might look suspicious to us, but you might know that you were simply on vacation or on a business trip.

Our goal with this new experience is to give you peace of mind when everything is going well, and give you actionable information if there’s questionable activity that concerns you. Here’s what the new view looks like:

Activity

Recovery codes

Some of you who have enabled two-step verification have shared that you worry what happens if you change or lose access to the security info provided as part of two-step verification (e.g., if you move, you might change both your phone and your email provider at the same time).

Because two-step verification setup requires two verified pieces of security information, like a phone number and email address, it will be a rare occasion when both options fail, but in the event they do, we’ve got you covered. We’ve added the ability to create a secure recovery code, which can be used to regain access to your account if you lose access to your other security information.

recovery code

Anybody can add a recovery code to their account (even if you don’t turn on two-step verification). Your recovery code is like a spare key to your house – so make sure you store it in a safe place. You can only request one recovery code at a time; requesting a new code cancels the old one.

More control of security notifications

We’ve also heard feedback that some of you would like to have more control over how you receive security notifications (e.g. password reset notifications). So we’ve added the ability for you to choose where we send notifications. Again, this is all about giving you greater visibility and control of your account so that we can work together to help keep your information safe.

Notifications

What are your thoughts? Are you happy with the extra security features?