Microsoft Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection Launches

By Pedro Hernandez  |  Posted 2015-06-03 Print this article Print
Microsoft Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection

Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection is out of preview and ready to help protect business email users from sneaky malware and dangerous Web links.

Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), Microsoft's cloud-based security product for protecting corporate inboxes, is out of beta the company announced.

"We are pleased to announce that Exchange Online ATP is now available to purchase through our direct channel, the Microsoft Online Subscription Program (MOSP)," Shobhit Sahay, Office 365 technical product manager, said in a statement. On Aug. 1, the floodgates open to Microsoft's Volume Licensing and Cloud Solution Partners, opening up more purchasing options, he added.

Not all Office 365 plans are eligible for ATP, at least for now. "At launch, Exchange Online ATP is only available to Office 365 commercial and multi-tenant Government (Government Pricing) customers. For Education, Government Community Cloud (GCC), and Nonprofit customers, ATP will be made available at a later date," Sahay said.

Exchange Online ATP was built to combat the increasingly sophisticated methods spammers, hackers and malware coders are employing to infiltrate users' inboxes, and by extension, their corporate networks. In preview since April, the solution goes beyond the Exchange Online Protection product, which employs three detection engines to protect against known viruses and malware. ATP targets unknown and zero-day threats with a new technology called Safe Attachments.

"All messages and attachments that don't have a known virus/malware signature are routed to a special hypervisor environment, where a behavior analysis is performed using a variety of machine learning and analysis techniques to detect malicious intent," Sahay explained while introducing the Exchange Online ATP preview this spring. "If no suspicious activity is detected, the message is released for delivery to the mailbox."

Another layer of protection, dubbed Safe Links, detects URLs within emails that appear as legitimate Web addresses. The real-time technology provides "time-of-click protection against malicious URLs that protect your users in real-time against harmful links," Sahay said. Finally, the product also features reporting and URL trace capabilities that provide administrators with visibility into the types and frequency of attacks targeting their organizations.

As one of the primary user-facing technologies businesses employ, email remains a major source of security headaches for IT administrators.

Emailage, a Chandler, Ariz.-based fraud-prevention vendor announced it had raised $3.8 million in a Series A round of financing. In a twist, Emailage is meant to protect e-tailers and other online businesses from email-based fraud, not block spam or viruses from consumers' inboxes. Emailage's fraud-detection technology analyzes an email address, a "global ID" of sorts, according to the company's CEO Rei Carvalho, against hundreds of conditions, including whether or not that email even exists, to generate a score from 0 to 1,000.

In January, file-sharing and data-protection startup Boole Server, launched a service called BooleBox that shields emails and their attachments from prying eyes using end-to-end encryption. Free for personal use, BooleBox's intuitive PC and mobile apps help simplify key management, encouraging the use of secure, private email communications.



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