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Link opening delay from Outlook

by Keith 79 / December 2, 2008 11:53 PM PST

Hi. Whenever I click on a link received in an email, there is about a 30 second delay before the linked web page begins to load. This occurs whether or not IE is already open.

I am using Outlook 2007 with Internet Explorer 7 with XP Home edition.

Thank you.

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You do realize
by Jimmy Greystone / December 3, 2008 12:11 AM PST

You do realize that this is an extremely bad idea from a security standpoint right?

Outlook has been hit with numerous bugs that make it real easy for phishing scammers to send you an email from some site like PayPal, and make the URL appear to be from PayPal, even though it's really sending you to some other site. Then you're passing the data on to what will probably forever be the single most exploited computer program in history, Internet Explorer. Saying that IE's security has been a train wreck is actually being quite generous. It's probably more like a train wreck where one train was carrying nuclear waste and the other train was carrying some kind of severe biohazard material. Now the entire surrounding landscape is a gigantic no-go zone for generations to come.

You can use whatever email program you want. So long as "Outlook" isn't in the name anywhere, it will likely be a big step up. And the same is true of Internet Explorer, only you need to make sure it's not just some program masquerading as a whole new browser when it's really just a new front end on IE. That also would greatly reduce your odds of getting even more spam, falling victim to some kind of phishing scam, having your system overrun with malware, and several other undesired outcomes.

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Are you saying ...
by Kees Bakker / December 3, 2008 12:20 AM PST
In reply to: You do realize

the anti-phishing in Firefox is better than the anti-phishing in IE7?
That's certainly what I read in "That also would greatly reduce your odds of (...) falling victim to some kind of phishing scam"

See http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2005/09/09/463204.aspx for information about anti-phishing in IE.

Do you have any information to support your claim?

Kees

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No
by Jimmy Greystone / December 3, 2008 12:53 AM PST
In reply to: Are you saying ...

No, I'm saying that Outlook and IE have both had to have numerous rounds of patching to solve bugs where non-printable characters were being exploited by phishers to make you think you're going to one site when you're really on another.

The anti-phishing features in ALL browsers is a joke. Firefox, IE, Safari, any others I've forgotten... It's nothing more than a "feel good" type feature that serves little to no real useful function. Microsoft came up with the idea, so politically it seems like they're doing something to address the problem, even though it doesn't take much to realize this is a do-nothing sort of solution. This in turn forces other browser makers to add something similar or idiot pundits with a magazine column will bash them up one side and down the other for leaving it out, even though it's an almost entirely useless feature.

And while I'm at it, the whole website verification scheme where sites can pay an extra fee so that the browser address bar turns green when someone visits the site. That's just a get rich quick type scam Verisign came up with. It doesn't really do anything to enhance security, just line Verisign's pockets because most people will erroneously think that it means something more significant than a company paid Verisign some money. Presumably a scammer of some sort could pay this fee to Verisign and get the green address bar just like anyone else. And one can't help but notice that Cnet appears to have elected not to fork over any money for this particular service. A bit of fiscal responsibility that I, for one, salute.

So, getting back to the anti-phishing bit... I'm not claiming that Firefox's anti-phishing feature is any better than IE's, I'm saying Firefox is more secure overall and that includes not having the same kinds of problems IE did that were exploited by phishers.

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Need coffee
by Jimmy Greystone / December 3, 2008 12:14 AM PST

Need coffee, hitting the submit button too early.

Anyway, if you insist on using such insecure programs, you should always do the following with links in emails, no matter whom appears to have sent them.

1: Hover the mouse over the link, visually inspect the URL shown in the status bar for anything suspicious, like a second URL starting with http://

2: COPY the link to the clipboard and then PASTE it into the browser's address bar where you visually inspect it a second time

3: If it passes both visual inspections, and its coming from a trusted source, go ahead and open it

If you're using IE, all it takes is one wrong click and the floodgates open to all manner of garbage to invade your system.

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Let me be more specific
by Keith 79 / December 3, 2008 1:04 AM PST
In reply to: Need coffee

Thank you for the response, but unless the delay is for Outlook or IE security reasons, I don't understand the delay.

If I purchase something on-line, say from Amazon, they send me an email with a link to track my shipment. Since I trust the source, I click on the link, a spaced-out orange "loading" indicator pulses across the top of the open email window. This goes on for 30 seconds or more, no matter who the link is from or if IE is already open or not.

I would think this link, like any other link from a web page, should open, or at least try to open, almost immediately. I assume something is wrong.

Thank you.

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Just Some Thoughts..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / December 3, 2008 2:42 AM PST

First, have you installed the latest SP1 for MS Office 2007.. It fixed a few problems to such situations. Here's that link:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=9EC51594-992C-4165-A997-25DA01F388F5&displaylang=en

Next, depending on which antivirus program you're using, (I'm thinking specifically of McAfee although other AV's also have add-ins which cause the issue.), there is a special add-in which causes delay problems when Outlook loads and when links startup.. I'm not running Outlook 2007 here but in both Outlook 2002 and 2003, the add-on can be found by opening Outlook, click on "Tools" in the upper left, then select "Options"m then the "Other" tab-then click on the "Advanced" button in the "General" section, then the "Add-In" button.. You'll see something like "Outlook Scan" or "Exchange Scan" that is CHECKED.. UNCHECK it and see if it helps. Since most ISP's already scan your mail and your onboard antivirus will already scan anything that's downloaded to your computer, the "Outlook Scan" is just another layer of protection that may not be necessary in all situations.

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Outlook
by Keith 79 / December 3, 2008 5:30 AM PST
In reply to: Just Some Thoughts..

Outlook is up to date according to Microsoft Office Update site.

I found the add-ins you speak of in the "Trust Center" area of Outlook 2007. There are a lot of them and the options is simply to enable them or disable them individually. None are easily identifiable (by me) as to whether or not they may be causing the delay.

Maybe I will disable them one at a time and see if anything changes.

Thanks for your help.

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