London, UK, 2 January 2002 – GFI’s Email Security Testing Zone, http://www.gfi.com/emailsecuritytest/, has launched two email tests targeted at Outlook XP administrators. Despite Outlook XP’s default security settings that do not allow users to run any executable attachments, certain email threats can circumvent Outlook XP’s standard protection measures. The two new tests enable Outlook XP users to check whether their system is vulnerable to such threats.
Both tests consist of an email carrying an executable attachment in disguise. One contains a CLSID file extension, while the other is based on a malformed HTA (HTML Application) file extension. Though these attachments are executable files, Outlook XP does not recognize them as such: Rather than blocking them as dangerous attachments, it asks the user if it should run the files.
“Our Email Security Testing Zone, launched last November, is proving a vital tool for security administrators. As part of our plan to keep this zone as up-to-date as possible, we are now offering tests for those who use Outlook XP, giving them the opportunity to test if they have watertight protection against the latest forms of email threat,” explained Sandro Gauci, security engineer at GFI.
“Although the default protection offered by Outlook XP is valuable, it is not enough and should be complemented by a server-based email content checking gateway such as Mail essentials to block any emails containing malicious code and dubious or harmful attachments.”
CLSID extensions do not show the actual full extension of the file when saved and viewed with Windows Explorer. This allows dangerous file types to look as though they are simple, harmless files – such as JPG or WAV files – that do not need to be blocked. Similarly, as it has a malformed file extension, the HTA file is disguised and can slip through Outlook XP’s standard security controls. HTA files contain commands which, when executed, can do virtually anything on the recipient’s PC. This includes running malicious code such as viruses and worms.
Test if your system is vulnerable to these email threats
Outlook XP users can sign up for these tests by submitting their name and email address at GFI’s Email Security Testing Zone, http://www.gfi.com/emailsecuritytest/. They will then receive harmless tests by email, through which they can check if their email system is vulnerable to these threats.
About Mail essentials
Mail essentials is an email content checking and anti-virus solution for Exchange and SMTP servers that removes all types of email-borne threats such as viruses, dangerous attachments, spam and offensive content. More than just an anti-virus package, Mail essentials analyses mail for security risks, such as embedded scripts, macros, disguised attachments and more. Pricing starts at US$350. For more information, please see http://www.gfi.com/me.
GFI has six offices in the US, UK, Germany, France, Australia and Malta, and has a worldwide network of distributors. GFI is the developer of FAXmaker, Mail essentials and LANguard, and has supplied applications to clients such as Microsoft, Telstra, Time Warner Cable, Shell Oil Lubricants, NASA, DHL, Caterpillar, BMW, the US IRS, and the USAF. GFI has won the Microsoft Fusion 2000 (GEM) Packaged Application Partner of the Year award, and was named one of 1999’s fastest growing software companies for Windows by Microsoft Corp. and CMP Media.