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Opening attachments from Outlook

Posted on 2011-03-18
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
When someone sends an microsoft excel or word document attached and has either the "&" or "," symbols in the file name, why is it that when you open it up or preview it, those symbols disappear from the file name?
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Question by:brightexpert
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larrylarrymusic earned 500 total points
ID: 35168209
Outlook 2003 and 2007 have been designed keeping security as an important feature. The Security has been advanced on Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2002 Service Pack3. Attachments which contain the following special characters:  '.' ']' ';' ',' '=' embedded in the filename have potential security risks involved.

 

For this reason, the Outlook security will strip these characters out of filenames and replace them with a blank space.

 

We have seen cases when executables containing viruses were sent in this filename format (for example hello.exe.txt) as an attachment in Outlook. Double-clicking in Outlook on the file have the risk of executing directly the .exe file, so launching the virus:

 

Some examples below:

 
 Win32.Mimail.Q: http://www.ca.com/us/securityadvisor/virusinfo/virus.aspx?id=38104

Win32.Netsky.P@mm : http://www.bitdefender.com/VIRUS-27915-en--Win32.Netsky.P@mm.html

 
            In other words, this is the design of Outlook and you will need to avoid using special characters in filenames in order to preserve the entire name when opening it from Outlook.

 
If you want to have these special characters, I can suggest the following workarounds:

 
1)      Do not use special characters in the filenames. You could use ‘_’ (underscore) or '-' (dash).

2)      Save the attachment first before opening it in order to preserve the full name. The sender and recipient should use an antivirus to scan the files before opening it/sending it.

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Author Comment

by:brightexpert
ID: 35168272
What about the "&" symbol? Is that also considered a potential security risk?
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Expert Comment

by:larrylarrymusic
ID: 35168337
Yes, it is included in the special character set.
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