Hotmail Hiring Outside Firm to Examine Security

Following the recent security hole found in Microsoft Corp.’s Hotmail e-mail service, the company will bring in a third party auditor to assess the program’s security.

On Aug. 30th, Swedish hackers set up a Web site that could log in to any Hotmail account without requiring a password. The problem was fixed within a few hours, but alerted Microsoft (MSFT) to the fact that security could be breached again.

The company this week outsourced its system to a third party firm approved by privacy watchdog group TRUSTe to audit Hotmail’s privacy. The move was made to ensure Hotmail information stays private, said Tom Pilla, Microsoft spokesman.

“The initial issue has been resolved, but we’re investigating it completely,” Pilla said. “Our swift response to the initial hack and our voluntarily engaging in a third party audit is further evidence of Microsoft’s commitment to privacy. Our goal is to ensure that our products and services are protected, and that we provide total quality to our customers.”

TRUSTe said that after the initial attack on Hotmail in August, it received numerous complaints, which prompted the audit. Microsoft is a sponsor of the non-profit TRUSTe, and features a TRUSTe seal stating that it is in compliance with the group’s privacy standards.

“Microsoft and TRUSTe are moving forward to address a handful of anonymous complaints posted on the TRUSTeWatchdog Web page,” TRUSTe said in a statement.

The audit is expected to last no more than a month, and its results will be made public, Microsoft said.

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