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Re: Security issue in Microsoft Outlook
From: Raoul Nakhmanson-Kulish <raoul () elforsoft com>
Date: Thu, 19 May 2005 10:02:31 +0400

Hello, Bakchodiya!

On 19.05.2005 0:27 you wrote:

Lets compose an email in MS Outlook, lets type
http://www.cybertrion.com & put a space after it to
make it a link. Now put your cursor just before
cybertrion & type any URL for eg: http://www.foo-labs.info now send it to anyone. The
receiver will see the URL as http://www.foo-labs.info
but when he clicks on it it will directly take him to
I am not sure how critical this is but it can fool
alot of people & result in download of a virus.
This "bug" is a standard feature of HTML (including, of course, HTML messages): you may specify any URL in <a href="..."> regardless of link text. This is a wide-spreaded trick for phishing, and you haven't discovered the America ;)

But at the same time Outlook (prior to 2003) really is more vulnerable than some other mail clients because it doesn't show a real link URL to user. Outlook 2003 shows an URL as a tooltip but after short delay, and some impatient users may be phished.

I prefer to use Mozilla Mail/Thunderbird, it shows a real URL in status bar instantly and moreover has a phishing detection algorithm (Mozilla bug #279191). Especially I like a "View -> Message body as -> Simple HTML" feature which removes any little bit danger HTML tags and attributes from message before showing it but saves hypertext logical formatting.

Raoul Nakhmanson-Kulish,
Elfor Soft Ltd.,
IT Department
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