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Division of Information Technology

Email Security

Beginning in Summer 2022, the University of South Carolina will enable several features in the Microsoft Security Protection Suite to protect students, faculty, and staff from malicious email messages or attachments that could compromise their accounts and university assets. 

Safe Attachments

In addition to standard scanning for viruses, Safe Attachments actively scans all email attachments to search for malicious content. Safe Attachments scans all email, whether it is sent/received from your computer or mobile device. The software runs in the background and is not noticeable to most users. There may be a slight delay in sending emails while attachments are scanned. A box like the one shown here will appear.  If an unsafe email attachment is detected, it will be removed from the email and replaced by a short text file that lets the user know the malicious attachment file name and the action taken. Removed attachments can be recovered in the event they were incorrectly identified. On the rare occasion this may happen, please contact the IT Service Desk for assistance recovering attachments.

Safe Links

Phishing emails often contain a hyperlink or a URL that directs the user to a malicious website. Safe Links is a feature that scans all inbound email messages and provides time-of-click verification of URLs and links to provide an extra layer of protection against phishing emails.

Beginning in Summer 2022, you may notice a change in the appearance of hyperlinks in your USC email. For many email messages, you won’t immediately notice any changes. The browser links will look like they normally do, but if you hover your mouse over the link, you will see the address now points you to a address. 

  • If the URL is determined to be safe, the website will open just as it would have before we enabled Safe Links.
  • If the URL is a website that has been blocked or is determined to be malicious, a warning page will appear to let you know that the site has been blocked.
  • If the URL goes to a downloadable file, the file will be scanned for malware before you can access it. The scan has taken less than a minute in our tests. 

Exchange Online Protection (EOP)

Microsoft Exchange Online Protection (EOP) is a cloud-based email filtering service that works to reduce the number of junk email messages delivered to USC addresses. EOP includes junk email protection that uses proprietary spam filtering technologies to identify and separate junk email from legitimate email. EOP spam filtering learns from known spam and phishing threats and user feedback from our consumer platform, Ongoing feedback from EOP users in the junk email classification program helps ensure that the EOP technologies are continually trained and improved. 

Suspicious messages are quarantined and can be released by users if they were incorrectly identified as Spam. Users will receive email notifications that look like the example pictured here

Users can check their email quarantine at any time by visiting this link and logging in with their Network Username and password. Quarantined email will be retained for 30 days. Any email that is in quarantine at the time of the switch (the week of June 13) will be accessible for the duration of the retention period, which is 14 days from the time the message was quarantined. 

Phishing and Spoofing Protection

The Report Phishing Add On in Outlook is an easy way to report phishing messages. There is no need to install the Add-on; it will be available on Outlook clients and on Outlook on the web in mid-June 2022. Here is how it will look in different clients:

Outlook desktop client
A button will be added to the ribbon called Report Message. Open the message you would like to report, click the button and choose what type of email needs to be reported.  Open the message you would like to report and open the message options menu by clicking on the image of three dots in the email header next to the reply options. Select the Report Message add-in and choose the submission type.

Outlook mobile for iOS and Android
Open the message you would like to report and open the message options menu by clicking on the image of three dots under the date in the email header. Select the Report Message add-in and choose the submission type. With all clients, you will receive a pop-up notification before submitting the report. This can be disabled in the options menu within the add-in if you would like to skip this step in the future. The notification might look different depending on your client, but the wording will be the same.

What if I don’t see the Add-on?
If you do not see the Add-On, please try to restart your computer or device. If the Add-On still doesn’t show up, please contact the IT Service Desk.

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