Office XP update interferes with spam filters

Microsoft's latest set of updates for Office XP is causing headaches for users of two junk mail filtering products.

Microsoft's latest set of updates for Office XP is causing headaches for users of two junk mail filtering products.

After installing Office XP Service Pack 3 (SP3), users of Sunbelt Software's iHateSpam and Cloudmark's SpamNet are complaining about security warnings popping up with each e-mail message they receive, according to reports on the Windows NTBugtraq mailing list.

Both Sunbelt and Cloudmark acknowledge the problem and have posted support bulletins on their websites. Sunbelt has released an update to its software to fix the problem while Cloudmark said it is working with Microsoft to solve the issue.

Office XP SP3 contains security enhancements for the Office suite in addition to stability and performance improvements.

After installing SP3, each e-mail received triggers a dialogue box alerting the user that a program is trying to access e-mail addresses stored in Outlook and warning that this could be related to a computer virus. There is no indication of what program is accessing Outlook, according to the NTBugtraq posting.

Microsoft is investigating the issue.

Cloudmark received complaints from a handful of its customers and hopes to fix the problem soon.

"The people we have heard from have been consumers who use the desktop product. We are working internally and with Microsoft to resolve the problem before SP3 is widely deployed," said spokeswoman Tricia Fahey.

Cloudmark's SpamNet is used by consumers and enterprise users.

It is possible that enterprise customers have not discovered the problem because they have yet to install the Office update, she said.

Typically large organisations perform regression tests on any software update to make sure it does not cause any problems on their systems.

Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service


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