Phish Alert Button Add-in Breaking Outlook - Jan 2023
Good Afternoon Everyone,
I just wanted to post real quick about an issue that we had run into that appears to be related to the Phish Alert button Add-in for Outlook clients. It appears that a recent Office Update has caused the add-in to create issues with Outlook and sometimes other Office Apps. The biggest issue being that the Outlook client would disconnect from the server (outlook.office365.com), and would not be able to reconnect without restarting the Outlook client. This could be tested/recreated anytime we went to test sending an email from the Outlook client - it would immediately disconnect and attempt to reconnect, but be unable to until the Outlook client restart.
Our situation was unique in the fact that some of the users affected had multiple O365 accounts associated with their Windows/Domain users, so on top of the already existent connectivity issues with Outlook, we were also having odd screen flashes of user sign in windows appearing and disappearing rapidly. The application(s) would also look like it was trying to switch between the 2 accounts rapidly in the corner where it displays the initials for the user. It appeared that to address this, you simply need to ensure there is only one account associated with the user's Window/Domain account. However, the Outlook connectivity issue would persist unless you disable the add-in altogether. Disabling the Phish Alert add-in alone does appear to fix the account switching error and the connectivity issues, however. So this would be the proper "solution" for addressing both these issues, for the time being.
Bottom Line (TLDR):
Disabling the Phish Alert add-in in Outlook resolves these issues with Outlook connectivity, as well as issues with account switching/rapid sign-in window popups.
Anyways, just wanted to share this with everyone to hopefully save some people some time and grief that I experienced yesterday with this issue. If anyone has any additional information regarding what update may have caused this, please share, as that would be much appreciated. I tried doing some searching but was coming back empty with results. Also, hopefully Google will crawl this page and make this article appear at the top of the search results if it gets enough backlinks, so that users can simply search Google and not have to dive through the reddit weeds, as we had to, in order to find the solution to this issue. (I'm no SEO expert though, so who knows.)
Hopefully Microsoft (or KnowBe4) is able to figure out what caused the issue, and address in a future update so that we can eventually re-enable the Phish Alert add-in. But for now, this has been the work-around.
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We recently deployed the Phish Alert Outlook add-in to 40+ users and so far have one user reporting the same issues: screen flashing and connectivity problems. Disabling the add-in appears to resolve the issue. It took awhile to figure this out, although I should have just gone straight to disabling add-ins. As opposed to Zachary's description, this user does not have multiple O365 accounts associated.
Thanks so much for posting this and validating/confirming what we were seeing also.
We had about 8 or so users all reporting the same exact issue as the two you described in your post.
We are still trying to figure out why only 8 of our 300 users reported the same issue but not everyone. Do you have any thoughts on this?
We ended up narrowing it down to Phish add-in because we opened a case with Microsoft, and they had us start Outlook.exe /safe to isolate the issue. When we had a full day with no disconnects, we knew it was an add-in and eventually with process of elimination found it was Phish button.
I did see that the newest version is also having the same problem. (https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/2474388-kb4-phish-alert-button-1-10-4-353-causing-outlook-to-disconnect-on-sending-email)
Here is KB4 response to the add-in causing problems.
This issue seems to be caused by Microsoft's "Viva Insights" plugin colliding with our Client pab (.EXE/.MSI). The plugin may have gotten deployed by default with the new Outlook update.
The issue seems to be due to this collision and you can decide if you want to uninstall Viva Insights. Our Hybrid PAB seems to be unaffected by this issue, so can switch over to this as a potential workaround in the meantime I have included our documentation on our Hybrid PAB below. We're continuing to look further into this with our development team for a more permanent solution.
Also, Microsoft O365 team is aware of the issue with the button and anyone that opens a case using the proper channels will be helped the same way.
Appreciate you writeup,
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