Hotmail’s new upgrade is under fire from critics after the discovery that the system only allows up to 16 characters in a password. Just like its sister services, Hotmail.com and Windows Live ID, Outlook.com does not offer a lengthier option in creating a password.
By comparison, other email services like Gmail and Yahoo give a user a more secure password by allowing up to 32 characters. Yahoo’s minimum of 6 characters though is an excemption, which is way too short even for a complex password. Gmail’s system, on the other hand, seems to offer better protection in terms of password length as it allows an unconfirmed 200-character password.
While the length of a password does not guarantee 100 percent security, it is still an important factor in ensuring password strength. A strength of a password mainly depends on whether the credential uses a good mix of numbers, letters, and non-alphanumeric characters (good), or words that can be found in dictionaries (bad). Having a longer password with a good mix of letters, numbers, and non-alphanumeric characters is always a good practice. Outlook.com does not have any good reason to restrict people from entering a password longer than 16 characters.
Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant from Sophos, said that Outlook.com should encourage people to use longer, hard-to-crack, unique passwords.
Generally, Outlook.com is still on the rise and in fact fast becoming an email of choice for many as it tallied more than a million a sign-ups already a few days after launch. It is not a perfect system though as some users are complaining that the new service has poor integration with Opera, and the usability of the audio CAPTCHA in recovering password. These two issues may soon be addressed by Microsoft fairly quickly though.