Two-week return to Hotmail from Gmail ends in embarassment as account hacked, spamming all contacts with malicious links.

PC Pro editor’s Hotmail experiment disaster

Things didn’t go according to plan after PC Pro editor Barry Collins was invited by Microsoft to take a fresh look at the online service Hotmail.

After six years of using Gmail, Collins blogged an account of his two-week experiment with Hotmail. The PC Pro editor was impressed with aspects of the modern Hotmail such as sorting messages into categories and the ability to the ability to "sweep" messages from certain senders into dedicated folders.

At one point Collins said "a few days into my Hotmail revival, and I’m definitely warming to Microsoft’s much-maligned webmail service."

However on the day he was to deliver the final conclusion on how Hotmail shapes up against Google’s Gmail, Collins instead provided a "disastrous conclusion" as his Hotmail account was hacked and spammed malicious links.

"The Twitter client on my iPhone started buzzing like a wasp trapped in a lamp shade," said Collins as he saw a stream of tweets from contacts alerting him to the spam emails.

"It soon became painfully clear that pretty much anyone I’d had personal or professional contact with over the past decade had been sent an email containing a link to a malicious site," Collins said unhappily.

"I simply can’t trust Hotmail anymore. And what’s even more worrying is that it’s not only my webmail that’s been compromised, but my Xbox login (which holds my credit card details) and now my PC login too," Collins blogged.

He went on to point that "Windows 8 practically forces you to login with your Windows Live/Hotmail details" which meant that a hacked Microsoft account compromised his PC as well.

"It’s one thing giving hackers access to ten years’ worth of junk mail and iTunes receipts – it’s quite another potentially giving them access to my work PC."

He also clarified that his Hotmail password was a reasonably secure, if short, seven-letter string.

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