Feeds

No-HTML plug-in for Outlook available

Halleluiah, almost

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?