Securing Outlook, Part One: Initial Configuration

Wednesday, 11 December 2002, 1:22 PM EST

Larry Lieberman is a busy guy. He's been on the city council of University City, Missouri for decades, and he's always been extremely responsive to his constituents. But email has really changed his life. Instead of writing letters or calling, nowadays his constituents send him email - a lot of email. Every day, his inbox fills with questions, praise, complaints, and requests, and Larry answers it all using his email client of choice - Microsoft Outlook.

But then one day Larry got the virus.

He knows it was his fault: "I was so busy that week, and I just didn't realize that my anti-virus subscription was expiring. I didn't know I had a problem until I started getting email from people telling me that I had sent them a virus. It was embarrassing." It turns out that Larry's anti-virus subscription had expired on Tuesday. By Thursday, he was infected with the W32.Badtrans.B@mm worm.

Fortunately, that virus isn't as serious as many. Instead of erasing his hard drive or damaging data, it sent copies of itself to other people in his address book (although it was supposed to install a keylogger, subsequent examination turned up negative). Still, it was a wake-up call for Larry. Besides updating his anti-virus software, he also asked a consultant to harden his Outlook installation in order to prevent any future security lapses.

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