Anti-phishing feature for Outlook 2003 in SP2

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Outlook 2003 with Service Pack 2 installed has a new feature designed to tackle the problem of phishing.

Outlook 2003 with Service Pack 2 installed does have one new feature. It’s a small tilt at the problem of ‘phishing’ – faked messages that appear to come from banks or other institutions to trick you into giving away your credit card or password details.

SP2 converts all messages filed to the Junk folder as plain text and disables the ‘clickable’ links embedded in all Junk messages. This only works for those messages already considered spam and placed in the Junk Mail folder.

Any messages not detected as ‘junk’ and left in your Inbox are not covered by this new feature.

Most of us ignore the Junk mail folder contents so this is useful but nothing to get excited about. The worse problem are phishing messages that go undetected (we see several of those each day) and are left in your Inbox.

So at first look this is a good way for Microsoft to talk about ‘anti-phishing’ features in Outlook and look pro-active, though it’s possibly all the company could reasonably do in an update to an existing product.

But the feature is no replacement for a vigilant user and should not give any customer or Microsoft itself any increased sense of security. It certainly won’t ‘prevent phishing’ as reported in some media.


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