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Microsoft lets Hotmail users set encryption by default

Microsoft adds full-session encryption option to Hotmail and SSL for SkyDrive, Photos, Docs, and Devices pages.

Hotmail users can set the e-mail service to automatically use https for their sessions.
Hotmail users can set the e-mail service to automatically use https for their sessions. Microsoft

Microsoft announced today that it is offering Hotmail users the ability to take advantage of encryption when using the free e-mail service.

To enable full-session HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) for Hotmail you can type in "https://hotmail.com" or set it as the default for e-mail, calendar, and contacts at https://account.live.com/ManageSSL. Previously SSL was only used at the time of sign-in, but now it's available from the start until a user logs off, a Microsoft spokeswoman said.

Also starting today, SkyDrive, Photos, Docs, and Devices pages will all automatically use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption.

Enabling HTTPS means Outlook Hotmail Connector, Windows Live Mail, and the Windows Live application for Windows Mobile (version 6.5 and earlier) and Symbian won't be available, Dick Craddock, group program manager for Windows Live Hotmail, wrote in a blog post.

Google has always offered Gmail users the ability to use HTTPS and made it the default setting in January, and offers it as an option for Google Docs as well.

The Microsoft encryption announcement follows new security features Microsoft added in September that make it harder for e-mail accounts to get hijacked and easier for victims to recover them if that happens.