After a worldwide mail failure: Microsoft finds a solution for the Y2K22 bug

Due to a programming error at Microsoft, various mailboxes remained empty at the beginning of the year. Now the company has found a curious solution to the problem.

Yawning emptiness in the e-mail inbox: right at the beginning of the year, many e-mails with the appropriate name Y2K22-Bug did not arrive at Microsoft due to a programming error. Self-hosted mail servers that run on Microsoft Exchange 2016 or 2019, which is used for business and university accounts, were affected. Administrators received error messages with the message ‘Can’t convert “2201010001” to long.’. Microsoft has now identified the problem and has already delivered a fix.

The problem was with the filename

Microsoft explains on its tech community forumthat the problem lies in the malware scan engine but has nothing to do with a security risk. Instead, there were issues with processing the date format:

The problem relates to a date check failure with the change of the new year and it not a failure of the AV engine itself. This is not an issue with malware scanning or the malware engine, and it is not a security-related issue.

The file type used by Microsoft at the beginning of the year was Int32. However, Int32 variables can only have a maximum value of 2,147,483,647. However, the value for January 1st 2022,, starts with the year 22 and was accordingly too long for this file type.

The solution: extend the year 2021

A first suggested solution was to switch off the antivirus scanner for a short time – which is of course not the best idea due to the resulting security risk. Fortunately, Microsoft has now delivered a fix for the bug, but administrators have to work themselves to implement it. Microsoft provides these with a script, which has a changed version number. The date was therefore changed to December 33rd instead of January 2nd – a strange but effective solution.

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