Outlook.com gets additional support for anti-phishing and scam deterrence

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

Microsoft said Tuesday that Outlook.com now supports the Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Compliance (DMARC) standard, which governs how email systems authenticate inbound messages.

Outlook.com has obtained more stringent security controls. Image: Microsoft

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

“Our DMARC implementation helps protect yourself by making it easier to visually identify emails from senders as legitimate, and help prevent spam and phishing messages from reaching your inbox. If a sender supports DMARC, we put a trusted sender logo next to their email indicating the effect is cumulative – the more extensive the email sending services that use DMARC, the greater the protection offered against phishing is extensive, ”wrote Krish Vitadevara, senior manager of the Outlook.com group program, in a blog post Monday.

The second security feature announced this week is support for Extended Validation (EV) certificates, which aim to prevent websites from imitating or pretending to be other sites – for example, when a scammer puts in places a fake version of a retailer’s website.

EV certificates aim to show users when they visit genuine sites by coloring the browser’s address bar green – which Microsoft says cannot be replicated by malicious sites.

“[EV] Certificates require a minimum of 2048-bit encryption, which is much more secure than what is commonly used with standard SSL. Your browser’s green address bar provides the instantly recognizable assurance that your connection to the service is as secure as possible from prying eyes, ”Vitadevara wrote.

Support for EV certificates is currently being rolled out for Outlook.com and will be available for Skydrive and other Microsoft services in the near future.

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James F. So