Outlook updated for antivirus security

Microsoft's Outlook patch

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A security update to Microsoft Corp.'s Outlook blocks executable attachments

and warns you when programs try to access your address book or send mail

on your behalf.

Microsoft has posted the code on its World Wide Web site, following several

delays after the company announced the security update in May — around the

time the "love bug" virus broke out.

Microsoft has weathered criticism regarding Outlook's role in the recent

spate of viruses. This update specifically fights the ways the Melissa and

love bug worms spread.

"The update limits users from opening certain types of attachments that

run executable code," said Lisa Gurry, product manager for Microsoft Office.

It also warns you when programs try to access your address book or send

mail on your behalf, she said. For example, instead of receiving the VBS

executable file that spread the love bug, you would get a note that says

"Outlook removed access to the following unsafe attachments."

The update warns you when a program such as the love bug tries to send itself

to everyone in your address book. Its message is: "An external application

is trying to access the e-mail address book stored in Outlook, do you want

this?" If you say no, Outlook halts the program's action, Gurry said.

Because some companies might need to send executable files, you can customize

the security update if you have server-side security, Gurry said. "You could

add or remove different file attachments from the list of those which can't

be accessed," she said.

—Article distributed by IDG News Service.

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