How to lock down your Microsoft account and keep it safe from outside attackers

What’s your most valuable online account, the one most deserving of protection? If you use a Microsoft account to sign in to a Windows PC, that account and its associated email address should be the one you guard most jealously. That’s especially true if you use that Microsoft account for OneDrive storage and documents that you create and edit using Office apps in Microsoft 365.

In this post, I list seven steps you can take to help you lock that account down so it’s safe from online attacks. As always, there’s a balancing act between convenience and security, so I’ve divided the steps into three groups, based on how tightly you want to lock down your Microsoft account. (It’s worth noting that this article is about consumer Microsoft accounts used with Microsoft 365 Family and Personal editions. Security settings for business and enterprise Microsoft 365 accounts, which use the OneDrive for Business cloud service, are managed by domain administrators through Azure Active Directory, using a completely different set of tools.) 

See also: Best VPNs.

Baseline security

This level is sufficient for most ordinary PC users, especially those who don’t use their Microsoft email address as a primary factor for

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