MS ships Love Bug patch – do you feel lucky?

Doesn't break your systems after all. So it's your fault when virus hell ensues...

Microsoft finally shipped the Outlook 'Love Bug' patch today, and from the sound of it the delay in getting it out has allowed time for a climb down from the original 'take them out and shoot them' approach.

Rather than blocking everything that looked even slightly like it was packing iron - as originally planned, in a knee-jerk sort of way - the patch now incorporates some flexibility. Think of it like this: there's a knock on your door, it might be the milkman, the guy next door you didn't like anyway, or an axe murderer. With the spec as previously advertised, the door wouldn't open. Now you have the choice to decide whether to open the door, or blow the mother away.

And Microsoft isn't liable, because you've been warned. But hey, that's just our take on it. According to the release, the Outlook email security update "provides a significantly improved level of security for Outlook users by blocking access to potentially unsafe file types that virus writers target and use to transmit viruses as email attachments."

Those file types are of course Microsoft file types, but that doesn't mean the file types themselves are unsafe. No way - it's just because they're such popular file types. Microsoft "strongly recommends" that all Outlook users download the security update, and this covers Microsoft. But given that the original spec update would have broken lots of legitimate systems written to take advantage of the features of Outlook which it would have, er, disabled, the update "now allows organisations to customise the new security features for the functionality they require without sacrificing security."

We're not entirely sure about the veracity of that last bit, but we'd read the bottom line as being that if you've got mission-critical systems dependent on executable files running via Outlook, you can still run them, but it's not Microsoft's fault if some punk uses this as a loophole to trash your entire network.

You can get the patch here. We know where you can get Eudora too, but we're being nice. ®

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