As mentioned in our interview with Ryan Gavin and Walter Harp last week, the Windows Live ID team has “some new features coming” that will enhance your protection. We were fortunate enough to get a glimpse of what Windows Live ID will look like in Wave 4. Here it is, a slightly redesigned sign-in page:
Perhaps on first glimpse, it looks almost the same as the current Windows Live ID sign-in page, this is intended however so users still know they’re on a Windows Live ID sign-in page. What’s new in this release is shown under the menu “Sign-in options” with an option that allow you to select to sign in using a “Single-use Code”:
This new feature of Windows Live ID is designed to further protect users that are signing in from public computers, such as internet cafes, airports, coffee shops…etc. By using a “single-use code”, users won’t have to type in their password on the public computers, preventing your password getting stolen by keyloggers and the like. A user simply needs to press “Request a code”, then either request for the code to be sent via an alternate e-mail address or to their mobile phone via text message (certain regions and countries only). As an added security, this alternative e-mail address or mobile phone number must be the same as the one provided during your Windows Live ID sign-up process (although this can be modified later on), such that an unauthorised person cannot send the “single-use code” to themselves on their own mobile or e-mail address. Even if an unauthorised person gets hold of your phone number or e-mail address, they will not be able to access the “single-use code” that was sent to you.
This is definitely a useful addition to Windows Live ID as people are gradually moving towards the “cloud” for computing, and thus public computer usage is getting more prevalent as users wants to access their e-mails, files, and contacts anywhere and anytime. Good move Microsoft, but where is our OpenID integration?
Update: We almost missed it, thanks to Picturepan2 from LiveSino.net who reminded us that you can also set your Web Messenger sign in status on the Windows Live ID sign-in page (as every Windows Live web service will have Web Messenger built-in) – or you can set it not to sign in to Web Messenger: