Microsoft announced that it is rolling out an upgrade to Microsoft accounts, which includes the addition of optional two-step verification.
Basically this means Microsoft asks you for two pieces of info when you try to access your account: your password, and a code it sends to your phone or by email. Google has had this available for quite some time, and regularly urges users to take advantage of it, so their accounts don't become compromised. It's kind of annoying when you want to log in on a different device, but probably worth the minor inconvenience in the long run.
Microsoft account Group Program Manager Eric Doerr says, "More than a year ago, we began bringing two-step verification for certain critical activities, like editing credit cards and subscriptions at commerce.microsoft.com and xbox.com, or accessing files on another one of your computers through SkyDrive.com. For these scenarios, two-step verification is required 100 percent of the time for everyone, given the sensitive nature of these tasks."
"With this release you can choose to protect your entire account with two-step verification, regardless of what service (or device) you are using with your Microsoft account," he adds. "It’s your choice whether you want to enable this, but for those of you that are looking for ways to add additional security to your account, we’ve worked hard to make set-up really easy."
Google's Matt Cutts approves:
Really happy to hear Microsoft is rolling out two-factor authentication: goo.gl/GDdUm Great news for users.
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) April 17, 2013
For steps on setting up two-step verification with Microsoft, read Doerr's blog post.