Outlook patch option shores up security
- By John Fontana
- Jun 16, 2000
Microsoft Corp. Outlook users looking to shore up their systems against
viruses now have an option to the patch Microsoft released last week.
Reliable Software Technologies Corp. has developed a free program that stops
viruses from propagating by exploiting Outlook. The JustBeFriends.dll installs
on desktops and blocks calls to Outlook by monitoring the Visual Basic Scripting
The patch will not prevent a virus from damaging files, but it will help
contain viruses and stop them from spreading. The "love bug" virus was a
Visual Basic script that used the Outlook address book to quickly distribute
itself throughout e-mail systems.
"Our patch works outside of Outlook and monitors applications calling Outlook,"
said Gary McGraw, vice president of corporate technology for Reliable. "We
prevent the scripting engine from invoking Outlook and sending out e-mail
on the user's behalf."
If a request for access to Outlook comes from a script being run from the
desktop or from an attachment, access is denied. Otherwise, the user is
asked to confirm that the application should be allowed access to Outlook.
The patch is a Dynamic Link Library (.dll) that lives inside the "appinit"
Registry Key and is installed using a standard InstallShield setup.
The patch can be used in conjunction with the just released Outlook E-mail
Security Update from Microsoft, or it can be run on its own. The Microsoft
patch prevents Outlook from accepting a number of attachments, including
.VBS, and adjusts security zone settings to prevent scripts from running
by default. The patch also prevents applications from using the address
book to send e-mail.
The Microsoft patch works with Outlook 98 and 2000, while the JustBeFriends
patch works on all versions of Outlook, including Outlook Express. However,
JustBeFriends only works on desktops running Windows NT or Windows 2000.
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