Microsoft Mail Alert

This is a special email alert for IEAK 4.x licensees. We want to inform you of a security issue that affects e-mail clients including Microsoft Outlook 98, Microsoft Outlook Express versions 4.0 or later, and Netscape Messenger versions 4.0 or later.

Microsoft takes security very seriously, and we know you do as well. We have created a patch which fixes the issue for Outlook Express and Outlook 98. We recommend that you take advantage of this software to prevent possible security or customer support problems.

This email contains background on the issue, pointers to detailed support information, and instructions on how to deliver the security patch to new and existing users.



The problem is related to how e-mail software handles file attachments with extremely long file names. When users attempt to download, open or launch a file attachment that has a name containing more than a certain number of characters (the exact number depends on the operating system used) their action can cause the e-mail software to shut down unexpectedly. It is possible - although difficult - for a hacker to cause malicious code to be executed on a computer as a result of this problem.

To ensure customer safety with regard to this and other security-related issues, Microsoft is investigating further to uncover variants that the current patch may not block. This information will be updated regularly in the URLs detailed in section 3.


Microsoft has created a fix for this security issue, which can be downloaded from Microsoft Outlook File Attachment Fix/Patch. Note: this specific security issue does not affect any Microsoft products except for Outlook Express and Outlook 98.


If a user’s email program should crash when they try to open an email with an unknown attachment, advise the user to restart the program, then immediately delete the offending email. As a general rule, we recommend that users do not open, or launch any email attachments received from an unknown source.

Detailed background information for your technical support staff is available at the following URLs:

Microsoft Security Bulletins
Microsoft Security Advisories
Outlook Express File Attachment Fix/Patch
Microsoft Personal Information Center


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Last Updated: Monday, 12-October-98 10:01:14 PDT