Microsoft confirms OneCare zaps Outlook, Outlook Express e-mail
A fix is in the works and will be pushed to OneCare users next week
Computerworld - Microsoft Corp. has acknowledged that a bug in its Windows Live OneCare security suite has been causing users' e-mail to vanish from Outlook and Outlook Express.
The company said a fix is in the works and will be pushed to OneCare users next week.
The OneCare bug, first reported by users writing on a OneCare support message thread six weeks ago, seemed to be deleting Outlook and Outlook Express data files -- .pst and .dbx files, respectively -- after a malware scan.
"The program did a scheduled update and then did the normal scan on my hard drive," Kevin Kimp wrote in an e-mail to Computerworld. "The next time I opened Microsoft Outlook, I got a message stating that Outlook could not find the file outlook.pst. This program has done more damage to my computer and my business than any virus or spyware that I have ever had."
Other users reported similar behavior with Outlook Express.
As of midday Tuesday, no solution had been posted to the forum, even though one moderator noted that the same problem had plagued an earlier version of OneCare nine months ago.
On Wednesday, Microsoft owned up to the bug. When OneCare's antivirus scanner detects malicious code in an e-mailed file attachment, it may quarantine Outlook's or Outlook Express' data file, making it appear that all the messages have been erased, said the company.
"We are working to address an issue where the antimalware engine for OneCare is erroneously quarantining Outlook .pst files or Outlook Express .dbx files, when the .pst file or .dbx file contains an infected attachment," a Microsoft spokesperson said. The fix will be included in the next scanning engine update, which is due to roll out March 13.
In the meantime, Microsoft said, users can recover a quarantined data file by following these instructions:
- Close Outlook or Outlook Express.
- Click "Change OneCare Settings" in the OneCare main screen.
- Click on the "Viruses & Spyware" tab.
- Click on the "Quarantine" button and then select the .pst or .dbx file.
- Click "Restore."
To prevent OneCare from quarantining the data file between now and next week, Microsoft recommends that users exclude the .pst or .dbx files from scanning.
- Click "Change OneCare Setting" in the main OneCare screen.
- Click the "Viruses & Spyware" tab.
- Click on the "Exclusions" button.
- Click on the "Add folder" button.
- Navigate to the folder containing the .pst or .dbx to be excluded, then click "OK."
According to Microsoft, the bug affects Outlook 97 and Outlook 2000, as well as Outlook Express running on Windows XP.
OneCare has fared poorly in recent weeks. Last Thursday, The AV Comparatives Web site rated OneCare as the least effective antivirus defender out of 17 programs. In February, Microsoft had to patch the malware scanning engine in OneCare -- and its other security products -- to make sure attackers could not hijack PCs by feeding them malformed PDF files.
Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.
- The Truth About Cloud Security "Security" is the number one issue holding business leaders back from the cloud. But does the reality match the perception?
- Enable secure remote access to 3D data without sacrificing visual perfomance Design and manufacturing companies must adapt quickly to the demands of an increasingly global and competitive economy. To speed time to market for...
- Virtually Delivered High Performance 3D Graphics "A picture is worth a thousand words." That old phrase is as true today as it ever was. Pictures (i.e., those with heavy...
- Best Practices for Securing Hadoop Historically, Apache Hadoop has provided limited security capabilities. To protect sensitive data being stored and analyzed in Hadoop, security architects should use a...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!