This week, Microsoft announced that its Outlook.com web email service has been updated to support two important new security features, DMARC and EV certificates, both of which are aimed at protecting against phishing attacks.

“Since we announced Outlook.com, we've continued to work to deliver you the highest levels of security and protection technologies,” Microsoft’s Krish Vitaldevara writes in a post to the Outlook Blog. “Today, we are excited to announce two important new security features that help fight common phishing attacks and provide you with even more protection.”

DMARC. Microsoft notes that Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (or DMARC) is a standard that makes it harder for someone to deliver phishing mail to your inbox. It builds on previous email security technologies, such as builds on Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and provides “more deterministic outcomes of authentication-failed messages.”

EV certificates. Described as “next level SSL,” Extended Validation Certificates (EV Certificates) provide a more secure SSL connection when you are using Outlook.com. These certificates require a minimum of 2048-bit encryption, which is far more secure than what is commonly used with standard SSL. Microsoft will be adding this technology to SkyDrive and other services as well.

“Security is a top concern when choosing an email service, and it's a top priority for all Microsoft development efforts, products, and services,” Vitaldevara concludes. “We're never done and will always keep improving.  But we believe that Outlook.com is the best email service available, and now Outlook.com offers even more security enhancements that you won't find anywhere else.”

I don’t have much value to add to this one. But I’ll just note that I use, trust, and prefer Outlook.com over competing web email services and use it as my primary email service. And the nice thing about these features, of course, is that you don’t have to do a thing: They just work in the background, protecting you.