Secure Outlook.com Account With Email Alias

Today many of the websites, web services & web apps are implementing 2-factor authentication. Now Microsoft’s Outlook.com email service has a third factor – your email ID.

These days websites are implementing various security techniques to safeguard the user accounts and their data. While earlier we only used to have a password, then came the security question, captchas for filtering bots out.

Recently most of the websites have adopted the two-factor authentication. Either by an SMS or by an Authenticator app, both ways a security code is generated which you need to enter along with your password to log into your account. This way, even if your password is known to somebody, you’ll be safe if you’ve two factor authentication as the hacker won’t know that one time security code that you’ve generated or received on your phone.

However, there’s a third and very important security implementation by Outlook. It’s for the Microsoft’s Outlook.com email service, and essentially is a three-way authentication.

What’s the third factor?

Well, your email ID! Yes, the hacker will have to know the email ID you use to sign into your account. You’ll have to make an email alias for this. Outlook’s implementation of Email alias is unique in the way that it allows you to sign-in with only one address.

Suppose that you’ve an account at Outlook.com, say [email protected] You use it to sign in your account. You may or may not have two-factor authentication on. What you can do is, create an alias, suppose [email protected] and make that email primary.

You’ll be able to log into your Outlook.com email account only by your alias. But you can send emails from and receive to any email of your choice former or latter. Now since we’re implementing the third-way security on our account, we’ll tell the world the address we don’t use to sign in… right?

And this works not just for outlook.com but also for live.com and country-specific domains of these services.

How to implement third factor?

  1. To create an alias, sign into your Outlook.com email.
  2. Go to top right hand side corner and click on your name.
  3. Click on ‘Account Settings’ link on drop-down menu.
  4. Go to ‘Your Info’ tab on this page. Click on ‘Manage your sign-in email or phone number’ link under your name.

Now we’ll add an alias

  1. Click on ‘Add email alias’ under ‘Account Alias’.
  2. On this page you can add some alias for your account that you would like to sign-in with. You can use this for sending and receiving email also.
  3. Once you’ve added an alias, your new email will be listed under ‘Account Aliases’ on ‘Manage your account aliases’ page.

Change Primary Email

  1. Click on ‘Make Primary’ link with your new email ID, or whichever alias you would like to sign in with. Click ‘Yes’ when asked for confirmation.
  2. You might see a notice stating ‘It can take up to 48 hours for your new primary alias to appear on all Microsoft products and services. Also, some of your friends might appear offline until they sign out and sign back in’.
  3. Now click on ‘Change sign-in preferences’ on the same page.
  4. Select all the emails you would like to sign-in with. You cannot uncheck your primary email. Hence, uncheck the email address you would like to use for sending and receiving email.

Alternatively you can go ‘Sign-in Preferences’ page via following method:

  • On the Microsoft account page, go to ‘Security & Privacy’.
  • On this page, go to ‘More Security Settings’ under ‘Account Security’.
  • Under ‘Sign-in preferences’ click on ‘Change sign-in preferences’.

And you can select your preferred email ID for signing in from here. So now, your account is being safeguarded by all three measures:

  1. Your email ID
  2. Your password
  3. Your phone.

And of course, you can use the alias method, even if you’re nit using phone-authentication method. Just that, alias will be called second-factor in that case and not the third.

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