Microsoft Exchange follows in Gmail's footsteps with important phishing protection feature

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Just as Google recently did with Gmail, Microsoft is planning to update Exchange with a new security feature to help protect users from phishing threats.

According to a new update on the company's Microsoft 365 Roadmap, the software giant is currently developing a PowerShell cmdlet so that admins can enable protections against spam and phishing threats from external senders.

Going forward, users of Microsoft's email service will see a new tag on emails called “external” in the message list in Outlook on the web, Outlook for Mac and the company's Outlook apps for iOS and Android. However, in some Outlook email clients, a “mail tip” will be included at the top of the reading pane with a sender's email address according to Microsoft.

If this sounds at all familiar, it's likely because Microsoft recently released an update for its mobile Outlook app that adds an external label at the top of emails in a user's inbox. Tapping on the label will reveal the sender's email address so that users can decide whether or not it is safe to open links or attachments in the email.

External threats

While a majority of the emails in your inbox that originate from outside of your organization are harmless, there is always a chance that one could be from a scammer or cybercriminal trying to infect your device with malware or even steal your identity.

A sense of urgency is often used when crafting phishing emails in an attempt to get potential victims to click on any malicious links or attachments included in the email. Now though by adding external labels to both Outlook and Exchange, Microsoft hopes that users will take a bit more time to carefully examine any emails from unknown senders that arrive in their inboxes.

According to the Microsoft 365 Roadmap, this feature is currently in development but is expected to roll out some time later this month.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.