Outlook Security

Malicious hackers and virus writers can take advantage of low security settings in your e-mail and Web browsing software to infect your computer. They can do this by sending you a malicious e-mail message or by enticing you to visit a malicious Web site. 

 

Notifying your ISP - and Including all Headers

If you are the victim of an email scam, make sure to notify your ISP and forward them the email.  They will want you to include the headers, which are normally hidden.  You can copy and paste the headers at the top of your forwarded email, as follows:

  1. click View/Options  .  .  .   and you will see all the headers listed in the "Internet" box
  2. drag the mouse aross the headers to select them
  3. hit CTRL-C to copy to clipboard
  4. click the cursor into the top of the email, and hot CTRL-V to paste

 

4  Steps to Increase your Email Security

By increasing your security settings in Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Outlook Express, you can help limit your chances of being attacked.

There are four things you can do right now to increase your security.

  1. Set Internet Explorer security level to High
  2. Add Web sites you consider safe to Trusted Sites
  3. Use plain text to read the e-mail messages you receive
  4. Block pop-up windows in your browser

Step 1: Set Your Browser Security to High

To raise the security level at which you browse the Web with Internet Explorer:

1.

On the Internet Explorer Tools menu, click Internet Options.

2.

In the Internet Options dialog box, click the Security tab and then click the Internet icon.

3.

Under Security level for this zone, move the slider to High. This sets the security level for all Web sites you visit to High. (If no slider is visible, click the Default Level button and then move the slider to High.)

Note -  the High setting may cause some Web sites to work improperly. If you have difficulty using a Web site after you change this setting and you are sure the site is safe to use, you can add that site to your list of trusted sites. This will allow the site to work properly even with the high security setting.

Step 2: Add Safe Web Sites to Trusted Sites

Setting the Internet Explorer security level to High may prevent some Web sites from working properly, including Microsoft Windows® Update. If you have difficulty using a Web site after you change this setting and you trust that it is safe to use, you can add that site to your list of trusted sites, which will allow the site to work properly.

Important  Microsoft strongly recommends that the first Web site you add to your trusted sites be Windows Update (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com) so that you can continue to install important software updates directly from the Windows Update Web site.

To add a Web site to your list of trusted sites:

1.

On the Internet Explorer Tools menu, click Internet Options.

2.

In the Internet Options dialog box, click the Security tab.

3.

Click the Trusted sites icon, and then click the Sites button.

4.

In the Trusted sites dialog box, enter the Web site URL in the Add this Web site to the zone box, and then click Add. The Trusted sites feature allows you to restrict trust to only sites that begin with https:. To include sites that begin with http:, including Windows Update, clear the Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone checkbox.

Trusted site dialog box

Trusted site added. We recommend that you make Windows Update the first site you add.

5.

Click OK.

6.

Under Security level for this zone, move the slider to Medium. This sets the security level for all of the sites that you trust to Medium. (If no slider is visible, click the Default Level button and then move the slider up to Medium.)

Step 3: Read E-Mail Messages in Plain Text

To help increase your e-mail security, set Outlook to read all messages as plain text - NOT HTML.  Here's how:

To read messages in plain text in Outlook Express:

1.

On the Outlook Express Tools menu, click Options.

2.

In the Options dialog box, click the Read tab.

3.

Select the checkbox to Read all messages in plain text.

4.

Click OK.

 

To read messages in plain text in Outlook 2002 SP1 :

A new feature was added to Outlook 2002 by the WinXP Service Pack 1 (SP-1) update. 

NOTE:  Digitally signed e-mail or encrypted e-mail messages are not affected by the SP1 update and cannot be modified by a system policy - those messages must be read in their original formats.

This feature permits users to configure Outlook to read all non-digitally-signed e-mail or nonencrypted e-mail messages in plain text format, as follows:
  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. In the Open box, type regedit.
  3. Locate the following registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Outlook\Options\Mail

  4. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWord Value.
  5. With the new Dword value selected, type ReadAsPlain.
  6. Double-click the new value to open it. In the Value Data box, type 1, and then click OK.
  7. Click OK, and then quit Registry Editor.

Now that you have turned on the "Read as Plain Text" feature, you will notice the following changes:

Note to Outlook Programmers - if the Read as Plain Text feature is turned on, the BodyFormat property returns olFormatPlain and cannot be changed. This is true although Help states that the BodyFormat property is read/write. If you try to set the BodyFormat property to any other value, you receive the following error message:

Error 80070057 "Could not complete the operation. One or more parameter values are not valid."

To read messages in plain text in Outlook 2003:

1.

On the Outlook Tools menu, click Options.

2.

On the Preferences tab in the Options dialog box, click the E-Mail Options button.

3.

In the E-Mail Options dialog box, select the checkbox to Read all standard mail in plain text.

4.

Click OK to close the E-Mail Options dialog box, and then click OK to close the Options dialog box.

 

Step 4: Block Pop-Up Windows in Your Browser

To help protect your computer from malicious pop-up windows in your browser, use a utility that prevents them from opening. Some Web sites use these small browser windows to display advertisements, and in some cases, offensive content. Malicious attackers also may use pop-up windows disguised as ads or offers to install malicious code on your computer.

A popup blocker is a utility you can add to your browser that prevents these windows from opening. Many pop-up blockers are compatible with Internet Explorer, including the free MSN toolbar.