How to Check for Hacker Activity in Your Microsoft Account


Managing Microsoft accountsDo you have a Microsoft account? Then there are some security measures that you will want to take. As is true for any type of account with numerous subscribers, Microsoft accounts are the target of hackers and it is wise to keep an eye out for unauthorized attempts to use your account. Here’s how.

Microsoft accounts can be managed by signing in at A variety of account settings are available there (shown in the graphic on the right). Open the entry called “Recent activity” and you will see a log of attempts to sign in to your account. The date, time, and location of the IP of recent sign-in attempts are given. Also provided are the device or platform and the type of browser or app used. For example, a recent check of my account showed several legitimate sign-ins but also an unsuccessful attempt from an IP in Nashville, Tennessee that used iOS and a Safari browser. Each entry in the log of recent activity has a button, “This wasn’t me”. If clicked, you are then given an option to change your password and check your security settings. These days you can’t be too careful so make it a habit to check your account regularly.

Here's another security tip. In the main list of settings is an entry “Security info” (shown in the graphic on the right). When you open this, you are given an option to set up two-step verification. This is a security feature that makes it harder for a hacker to sign in to your account with a stolen password. Don’t skip this security measure.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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It won't help you. Think about it: no one is going to find out your password by guessing, there are simpler ways (I'm talking about phishing, etc.). And changing password now and then ain't gonna help. So if someone really needs your account, you will not know it by checking "recent activity". You'll end up just being unable to log in.

The only reasonable part of this tip is the one about 2-step verification.

Hackers do not always lock the legitimate owner out of a compromised account. That warns the owner that something is wrong. The hacker may prefer to quietly use the account and keep the legitimate owner unaware.