TokenFactoryIframe: A Microsoft Outlook Bug That Left macOS Users Baffled
On May 2, 2022, macOS users started reporting a Microsoft Outlook issue in public forums and technical support communities. Users stated that each time they accessed their Outlook accounts via the Safari browser, the browser would automatically download a file called TokenFactoryIframe every 5 to 10 seconds. What’s more, there were reports that users experienced the same issue on Chrome and Firefox browsers on Apple platforms.
At first glance, this looked like a potentially serious cybersecurity problem. After all, it is common to receive potentially harmful files via spam emails, and users happen to download them surprisingly often. So, it is only natural that TokenFactoryIframe looked like a malware payload to some. Nevertheless, it was pure luck (and a nuisance to users) that the issue turned out to be an Outlook bug on Microsoft’s side.
Security researchers stipulated a faulty server-side update caused the issue, and there was no problem with Safari or macOS in this case. Inline frame or iframe is an element that can be found in websites, and the function of the TokenFactoryIframe file is to launch another HTML page within a document. Thus, the truth is that the file is harmless, and users can easily remove TokenFactoryIframe manually.
Since then, Microsoft has created and deployed a fix that solved the TokenFactoryIframe issue. Microsoft Support community moderators also posted a reply on the issue that said:
“A recent update to our Office User Experience (UX) changed a parameter from “conditional” to “required” in order to sync client-side and service-side properties. However, the Outlook on the web service didn’t receive the same change as intended, resulting in a property mismatch and repeated “TokenFactoryIFrame” download prompts.”
What if TokenFactoryIFrame Were a Potentially Unwanted Program?
While TokenFactoryIFrame is not a security threat, you mustn’t forget that you could still have potentially unwanted software installed. For instance, if you start receiving odd error messages or your Mac exhibits strange behavior, it could be a sign that a potentially unwanted program or malware may be running on your computer. On the top of that, harmful programs could be silently working in the background of your system before you even notice them. So, to make sure that your Mac is safe, make it a habit to run regular system scans with a reliable malware remediation tool.