Published July 1, 2021

Microsoft Defender for Office 365: Introducing Advanced Delivery for Phishing Simulations and SecOps Mailboxes

Reference ID: MC256473 | Effective: July 1, 2021

MC256473 – Updated July 01, 2021: Microsoft has updated the rollout timeline below. Thank you for your patience.

Microsoft is introducing a new capability, Advanced Delivery, for the configuration of third-party phishing simulation campaigns and delivery of messages to security operations (SecOps) mailboxes. Admins will now be able to explicitly configure for the following scenarios and ensure messages configured as part of these scenarios are handled correctly across product experiences:

  • Third-Party Phish simulation campaigns: Admins using a third-party phish education vendor to simulate attacks that can help identify vulnerable users before a real attack impacts their organization.
  • Security Operations (SecOps) mailboxes: These are special mailboxes Admins setup to support the ability for end users to report malicious emails to SecOps teams. These are also used by security teams to collect and analyze unfiltered messages.

Key points

  • Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 72207.
  • Timing: Microsoft will begin rolling out at the beginning of July and expect to complete rollout by end of July.
  • Control type: admin control
  • Action: review, assess and configure your third-party phishing simulation campaigns/delivery for security operation mailboxes when feature rolls out. Act by August, 24, 2021.

How this will affect your organization

With Advanced Delivery, Microsoft will ensure that protection filters will respect these configurations and not block these messages. Microsoft will also show off these messages with the appropriate annotations in the reporting, investigation and security experiences in the product, so security teams and admins are not confused about the true nature of these messages.

Since these do not represent a real threat to your organization, Microsoft will, for example, not flag the messages as malicious and inadvertently remove them from your inbox, and they will skip things like triggering alerts, detonation, and automated investigations. However, admins will have the ability to filter, analyze and understand messages delivered due to these special scenarios.

What you need to do to prepare

If you are currently using Exchange mail flow rules (also known as transport rules or ETRs) to configure your third-party phishing simulation campaigns or delivery for security operation mailboxes, you should begin to configure these with the new Advanced Delivery policy when the feature is launched in July.

After the last phase of Secure by Default is enabled in August for ETRs, Defender for Office 365;

  • Will no longer deliver high confidence phish, regardless of any explicit ETRs.
  • Will no longer be a recommended method to configure the above scenarios.

Learn More:

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