Feeds

No-HTML plug-in for Outlook available

Halleluiah, almost

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

I've always believed that if the US Government were ever to get really serious about Internet security, the top players in Microsoft's management hierarchy would find themselves handcuffed, blindfolded, led onto a tarmac within some obscure Air Force base, and shot.

Witness if you will Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express, the two most efficient virus propagation utilities ever devised by human intellectual failure.

Among the more ostentatious security pitfalls deliberately coded into Outlook is its determination to accommodate the mighty Direct Marketing Association (DMA) spam lobby by refusing to allow users to shut off HTML (which exposes us to myriad forms of malicious code in received messages), as this would have a devastating impact on advert click-throughs for hot, wet teens, scientific studies have shown.

You can decline to send HTML messages, as any decent Netizen does; but you can't decline to receive them. No, that would be downright hostile to the spam establishment, and Microsoft knows better than tangle with one of the few industries which dwarfs it.

However, some of us now have a nifty tool called NoHTML to disable HTML displays in Outlook, thanks to Russ Cooper of NTBugtraq. In Outlook 2000, NoHTML supposedly converts HTML to RTF. In Outlook 2002, it converts HTML to plain text. Pretty neat.

In NT, 2K or XP, just install the file (a DLL) in: Documents and Settings\(user)\Application Data\Microsoft\Addins. Finish the installation as described below, re-boot, and all should be well.

If you're running 9x, you might try installing it in: Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\AddInsWindows\Local and/or in Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook.

Finish the installation thus: within Outlook, go to Tools, Options, Other, Advanced Options, COM Add-ins, Add. Find NoHTML.dll and select it. Re-boot.

Thus far it's worked for me with Outlook 2000 on 'XP and '98. I can hardly describe the thrill of blocking scripts in Outlook for once in my life. In '98, an HTML message's preview pane is blank, as is the whole message when opened manually; in 'XP it all shows up as text, as it should.

It's important to set Outlook to reply in plain text, however (if you can). While the plugin will defeat HTML on incoming messages, if you've elected to reply in the sender's format you could possibly activate a script when you launch a reply. In older versions of Outlook it was possible to force replies into plain text, but in later versions one is only permitted to select his own default settings for new messages.

The plugin, regrettably, won't work with Outlook Express, whose users tend to be those most in need of this sort of protection.

But once it's adapted to OE and its little glitches are sorted out, I'd say we have a winner here. Too bad Microsoft couldn't manage something like this on its own, simply as a setup option. Heavens, had they done so, they might not now have to whine so piteously about devastating bug disclosures. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Time to move away from Windows 7 ... whoa, whoa, who said anything about Windows 8?
Start migrating now to avoid another XPocalypse – Gartner
You'll find Yoda at the back of every IT conference
The piss always taking is he. Bastard the.
HANA has SAP cuddling up to 'smaller partners'
Wanted: algorithm wranglers, not systems giants
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.