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qgudex
Level 7
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Message 1 of 11

Should I be scanning PST and OST Files (Microsoft Outlook)?

We've been having problems recently in which some user's Outlook PST files are becoming corrupt.  I've explored the usual suspects (file size, disk corruption, etc.).  I'm beginning to wonder if VirusScan could be contributing to the problem.

Is it necessary for the on-access scanner to scan PST and OST files?  If I exclude those file types, I'm guessing the on-delivery email scanner would still scan the messages and the on-access scanner would still scan attachments on open or write, is this correct?  I guess I'm wondering if there is a best practice for these types of files.  Any help is appriciated, thanks.

Message was edited by: qgudex on 11/8/11 4:48:49 PM CST
10 Replies
pierce
Level 13
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Message 2 of 11

Re: Should I be scanning PST and OST Files (Microsoft Outlook)?

Hey qgudex,

I exclude PST and OST files from my scanning to aid performance. Again on the assumption that the various email filters and checks will pick up anything.

Also by following McAfee's best practice guide I have also added outlook.exe into my high risk group to ensure anything out of the ordinary is properly checked.

thanks,

qgudex
Level 7
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Message 3 of 11

Re: Should I be scanning PST and OST Files (Microsoft Outlook)?

pierce, thanks for the reply.

We do have an enterprise email AV and content filter (not McAfee) so there is some protection there, but it's always nice to have "layers".  This is why I was asking about whether the on-delivery email scanner and OAS on attachments still worked even if OAS wasn't scanning the PST and OST files themselves.  I guess at the very least I'd like any attachments a user opens to be scanned by VirusScan.  I really would like the VirusScan email scanner to scan the message body for suspicious content as well.

bakerrl
Level 11
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Message 4 of 11

Re: Should I be scanning PST and OST Files (Microsoft Outlook)?

The OAS Scanner does not scan inside a PST or OST file as they are basically databases so you can safely exclude them.  The On-Delivery e-mail scanner will catch anything coming into the pst file and if there is an attachment the OAS Scanner will scan it upon opening.

See the KB below on how to handle pst files.

https://kc.mcafee.com/corporate/index?page=content&id=KB50664&actp=search&viewlocale=en_US&searchid=...

ccroff
Level 9
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Message 5 of 11

Re: Should I be scanning PST and OST Files (Microsoft Outlook)?

I would recommend excluding .pst .ost, and any other database file on your system.  If a detection does occur, corruption is almost gauranteed. 

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qgudex
Level 7
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Message 6 of 11

Re: Should I be scanning PST and OST Files (Microsoft Outlook)?

Thanks everyone for the responses.  I did some more testing on my end and it appears the on-delivery scanner and the OAS scanner still scan messages and attachments even if OAS is not scanning the PST or OST.  My assumption at this point is that it problably is safe to exclude these file types from the OAS scan.

I did try to get an official recommendation via McAfee support as well, but no luck there.

Re: Should I be scanning PST and OST Files (Microsoft Outlook)?

You do not need to excluse OST and PST. All that does is add more noise to your exclusions. There's a bit more intelligence in Virus Scan than given credit for. The key is to make sure that you are scanning "All Files" not "Default + Additional Types".


Verify this yourself with the McAfee Profiler. Or with simple math: If it were being scanned then every time you opened Outlook, it would choke for several minutes while VSE churned through a 1-2 GB set of files. (I have about 12 GB of PST's routinely connected to my Outlook).

Re: Should I be scanning PST and OST Files (Microsoft Outlook)?

whats up with all the spam accounts?

i think msft best practice is to not scan the files. though if i wrote software, i would probably tell everyone not to scan it as well.

Reliable Contributor exbrit
Reliable Contributor
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Message 9 of 11

Re: Should I be scanning PST and OST Files (Microsoft Outlook)?

A note from Moderator:

Anyone posting obvious advertising links for 3rd party software will be banned and their posts deleted.

Thanks.  (5 posts have been deleted)

You may mention other software by name but please no links.

mh22mh
Level 7
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Message 10 of 11

Re: Should I be scanning PST and OST Files (Microsoft Outlook)?

If you are running an exchange server, the exchange server should have an Antimalware product. Therefore, you do not need to.

If you are using your outlook client to check and download your emails from variety of different Email servers in which you have no idea what they are, then , Yes, you need to scan these files.

Best of luck,

MH22

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