Hotmail Accused of Not Tackling Email Spam Threat

Microsoft Hotmail faced accusations this week that its recent updates have failed to properly tackle the threats of spam and malware.
Windows Live product management director Dharmesh Mehta announced last week that from now on, Hotmail users will be able to create and operate several email identities from just the one Hotmail account.

Mr Mehta said that “the average person maintains three different email addresses in order to organise different types of email, maintain different personas or keep junk mail away from a primary email address”. He revealed that Hotmail users will be able to add five aliases a year to their account, up to a total of 15.

“You might be concerned that your address could be sold to other companies or could result in a large amount of new email that you do not want or does not belong in the same place as your regular email,” he went on.

However, internet security firm Cloudmark’s senior vice-president for engineering Leon Rishniw warned that this would not provide any extra protection from spam. It could even give spammers more opportunities to spread junk mail, viruses and malware.

“It seems that it makes it just a little more convenient to manage your email than setting up another free mailbox. Meanwhile consider the alternative, where your Hotmail account gets compromised and a spammer starts sending from your alias,” he said. “This has happened at mailbox providers that support child accounts where poor password policies led to compromised accounts and spammers would create child accounts and spam from them.”

Mr Rishniw insisted that email users “should not be expected to manage their own spam, instead they should leave it to the experts”. He pointed out that there were plenty of free anti-spam applications available that were designed for web-based email services.

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