Outlook.com gets extra anti-phishing and scam-deterrent support

Microsoft has added support for EV certificates and the DMARC standard to Outlook.com in order to make the cloud email service more secure.
Written by Sam Shead, Contributor

Microsoft has given Outlook.com protection against phishing emails and scam sites with the introduction of two new security features. 

Microsoft said on Tuesday Outlook.com now has support for the DMARC (domain-based message authentication, reporting & conformance) standard, which governs how email systems authenticate incoming messages.

Outlook.com has gained tougher security controls. Image: Microsoft

DMARC is already supported by Facebook, Paypal and LinkedIn, and aims to make it harder for individuals to deliver phishing or spam emails.

"Our DMARC implementation helps protect you by making it easier to visually identify mail from senders as legitimate, and helps keep spam and phishing messages from ever reaching your inbox. If a sender supports DMARC, we put a trusted sender logo next to their email indicating it is legitimate. The effect is cumulative; the more the email sending services that use DMARC, the broader the protection offered against phishing," Krish Vitadevara, Outlook.com's principal group program manager, wrote in a blog post on Monday. 

The second security feature to be announced this week is support for extended validation (EV) certificates, which aim to prevent websites imitating or pretending to be other sites - for example, when a scammer puts up a fake version of a retailer's website.

EV certificates aim to show users when they're visiting genuine sites by colouring the browser address bar green - which, according to Microsoft, can't be replicated by malicious sites.

"[EV] certificates require a minimum of 2048-bit encryption, which is far more secure than what is commonly used with standard SSL. The green address bar in your browser provides immediately recognisable assurance that your connection to the service is as secure as it can be from prying eyes," Vitadevara wrote.

EV certificate support is being rolled out now for Outlook.com now, and will be available for Skydrive and Microsoft's other services in the near future. 

Editorial standards