Microsoft Announces Exchange Online Advance Threat Protection for Office 365

Microsoft on Wednesday announced new security tools for Office 365 users that aim to harden e-mail from phishing and malware attacks.

The new suite of tools, called Exchange Online Advance Threat Protection (ATP), looks to increase Exchange Online Threat Protection's security by weeding out harmful e-mails and flag advance threats, including zero-day attacks.

Microsoft said that the new service will be an optional addition for personal and commercial Office 365 users and will provide the following new security features:

Safe Attachments: Through its Safe Attachments security component, e-mails that don't currently have virus or malware signatures will be routed to a hypervisor environment where an analysis is conducted to determine if the message is safe. Once clear, the message will be delivered as usual.

Safe Link: While the current Exchange Online security already scans e-mails for hyperlinks that may lead to harmful sites, ATP employs a Safe Link feature to weed out malicious links that may be masked through a safe redirect link. If a redirect link is clicked on by a user, the connection will be blocked before the redirect to the malicious site takes place.

Increased reporting capabilities: The new security protection will allow for blocked and potentially harmful messages to be investigated by URL and content.

While the new security service will be available to all Office 365 users and can be used by those on-premises users who already use Exchange Online Protection for e-mail filtering, the new service will require an additional cost of $2 per user per month for regular customers and $1.75 per user per month for Government Pricing customers. Expected for launch in the summer, the service will only be available for Office 365 commercial and government customers -- it will not be available to Office 365 Government Community Cloud (GCC), Office 365 Education and Office 365 Nonprofit customers.

The service is currently in private preview. Look for the company to provide more details at its upcoming Build and Ignite conferences in the coming weeks.

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Chris Paoli is the site producer for and


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