[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 11 March, 2004, 10:27 GMT
Microsoft warns of Outlook flaw
Screenshot of Microsoft website
Microsoft has issued four critical alerts in three months
A flaw in Microsoft's popular e-mail program, Outlook, is worse than first thought.

The software giant has upgraded a recent security warning to "critical", urging Windows users to download the latest patch.

The vulnerability was originally rated as "important" in Microsoft's monthly security bulletin issued on Tuesday.

It subsequently learnt that the flaw could be used to download and run a program on an affected computer.

"This change is based on information concerning a new attack scenario discovered after the bulletin's original release on 9 March," said the company in a statement.

It was partly acting on information from an independent Finnish computer researcher, Jouko Pynnonen.

The flaw only affects the 2002 version of Outlook. Microsoft said that people who had already updated their software or downloaded the latest security updates were not at risk.

Plugging holes

Microsoft has intensified its efforts to improve the security of its software and plugs holes in older versions of its products.

It now sends alerts in a monthly bulletin, rather than on an ad hoc basis, except in emergencies.

The aim is to make it easier for people to update their software in one go, rather than applying individual patches intermittently.

It is part of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative, which is designed to make its programs more secure and reliable.

Critics say the company should design better software from the start, rather than rely on updates to fix problems.

Since the beginning of 2004, Microsoft has released 10 security warnings, four of them rated as critical.

This compares to 51 issued last year, of which 20 were classified as the highest category of threat.




SEE ALSO:
Trusting Microsoft over security
27 Feb 04  |  Technology
Hackers exploit Windows patches
26 Feb 04  |  Technology
'Protect PCs' Microsoft users told
11 Feb 04  |  Technology
Cracking the hacker underground
14 Nov 03  |  Technology
Hacker hit parade goes live
05 Aug 03  |  Technology
Closing the holes on hackers
03 May 03  |  Technology
Microsoft fixes 'phishing' flaw
03 Feb 04  |  Technology
Fighting viruses on the frontline
22 Aug 03  |  Technology


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific