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Security found wanting in Outlook Express 6

Lookout virus blocking fails to impress

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The security features of Outlook Express 6 can be easily fooled, according to this posting on security mailing list BugTraq .

By embedding a file within an HTML frame in an email, hackers can bypass the dangerous file attachment type security feature of Outlook Express 6.

The vulnerability, which remains unconfirmed and is in any case restricted to Outlook Express 6 only, would
allow an attacker to open or save to disk an attachment which could be a virus. By renaming an assembly coded *.exe file to *.bat, the potentially malicious code would be automatically opened instead of prompting users whether they want to install a programme.

BugTraq is a full disclosure mailing list which sometimes publishes vulnerability reports without waiting for vendor responses, although its content is reliable, and - if this bug is pukka - it would be easy to exploit.

Microsoft has not yet replied to our requests this week for comment from a member of its security team.

The security features on Outlook and Outlook Express, first developed in the wake of the spread of the infamous Love Bug, should be viewed only as the first line of defence. ®

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