hotmail to force common passwords to be changedHotmail users who have weak passwords will be forced to change them in an effort to reduce account hacking by Microsoft. New security will prevent common passwords like ‘password’ or ‘123456’ from being used on accounts, and if you are already using a common password you will probably be prompted to change it in the future.

Common passwords are not just “password” or “123456” (although those are frighteningly common), but also include words or phrases that just happen to be shared by millions of people, like “ilovecats” or “gogiants.”

This new feature will be rolling out soon, and will prevent you from choosing a very common password when you sign up for an account or when you change your password. If you’re already using a common password, you may, at some point in the future, be asked to change it to a stronger password.

A second new security feature will let you report the account of a friend or associate that you believe has been hacked. Often friends of a person know their account is hacked before they do, as they are on the receiving end of the spam that normally then gets sent from a hacked account. Now you can easily let Microsoft know about a suspect account by clicking “My friend’s been hacked!” on the “Mark as” menu:

hotmail report a hacked account

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen common passwords being an issue, as a iPhone App developer found out recently, common passwords are all too prevalent.