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Potentially Virused Attachments in Outlook Express

by Karl Davis


Everytime a new potentially virused email arrives there is a risk that if you have the preview pane set to view email that a virus may execute. So I have set my system to respond to this by automatically placing any email that arrives with an attachment into a seperate folder instead of my Inbox by using a feature in Outlook Express called a Message Rule.

Of course you could just disable Preview Mode but I prefer not to as I lose my preferred viewing functionality. Or you could collect all of your email from a web based email server or configure the message rule to delete the message from the server or to not download it at all.

I do it for four main reasons.

1. I can choose when I wish to check attachment emails instead of when collecting all of my email from several server email accounts. If a virus is detected my heuristic scanner immediately interupts everything else I am doing to deal with the incoming attachment, but by specifying a new folder to divert them to, I can choose to check the folder later when it is convenient to me and I can read and reply to all of my other email without concern that my system is at risk.

2. If I am running Outlook Express in the background and I am doing a task such as CD Writing it can interupt the writing process and wreck a cd (have not tested this theory with burn-proof writers).

3. Everytime my Anti-virus program catches a potential virus it freezes or suspends all running programs to deal with the risk and on several occasions my wife, who shares a home networked broadband connection from my computer, has been abruptly terminated from her online server.

4. I detest Web Based Email Services as I prefer to poll my several email accounts into Outlook Express.

Another benefit of a message rule and seperating them can be if you forget to check for updated virus protection and have already opened Outlook Express first. If your protection was not currently up to date you may get infected by a new email attachment that you are not protected from yet.

This gives you time to go and check for anti-virus updates etc before selecting any attachments and dealing with them.

In my example below I will direct all email to a folder called Attachments.

Open Outlook Express

From the Dropdown Menu File Choose Folder/New and name the folder Attachments.
Go to Dropdown Menu Tools/Message Rules/Mail/Click New

1. Select the conditions for your rule : scroll down and tick the box labelled " Where the message has an attachment

2. Select the actions for your rule : tick the box labelled " Move it to the specified folder.

3. Rule Description (click on a underlined value to highlight it) : Click the underlined link named Specified then from the opened box select the new folder you made and press Ok then follow the prompts.

Now you should have a folder that will receive any emails that arrive with an attachment.

This has helped me enormously with the Badtrans and Klez virused emails that I have received over the last few months and should afford me a reasonable amount of extra protection from any newer viruses that arrive as attachments in the future.

There are lots of other uses for message rules that include blocking email completely from individuals or domains too.

So have a play and you will soon see that Outlook Express,can be configured to allow for better security and protection from viruses.


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