Microsoft deprecating “obsolete” SmartScreen spam filters in Outlook and Exchange

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Microsoft is making changes to SmartScreen, a spam content filter, available in Windows 10. These changes will affect Outlook and Exchange users. In Outlook and Exchange, SmartScreen analyzes each email message and rates the email according to SmartScreen’s Spam Confidence Level (SCL). These emails are then sent to Outlook’s junk folder. SmartScreen is also available in Edge and Internet Explorer browsers, offering online protection against malicious websites and online content, including downloads.

Here’s a look at the changes to SmartScreen, according to Microsoft:

  1. On November 1, 2016, Microsoft will stop generating updates for the SmartScreen spam filters in Exchange Server 2016 and earlier (2013, 2010, 2007), Outlook 2016 for Windows and earlier (2013, 2010, 2007) and Outlook 2011 for Mac.
  2. The SmartScreen spam filter will be removed from future versions of Exchange Server and Outlook for Windows. (SmartScreen is not available in any other version of Outlook).
  3. This announcement does not affect the SmartScreen Filter online protection features built into Windows, Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer browsers. While branded similarly, those features are technically distinct. These SmartScreen Filters to help people to stay protected from malicious websites and downloads.”

After November 1, 2016, Microsoft will no longer release spam definition updates to SmartScreen filters in Outlook and Exchange. Your existing SmartScreen spam filters will remain in place; Microsoft will simply no longer provide updates for them.

Microsoft clarifies that the changes to SmartScreen in Outlook and Exchange will unlikely impact many users and most “should not experience any change in their email experience or see an increase in spam.” SmartScreen’s spam filters in Outlook and Exchange are being replaced by Exchange Online Protection (EOP), a cloud-based email filtering service utilized by Office 365 subscribers.

EOP is already built into all Office 365 and email accounts. EOP is also available for on-premises Exchange Server enterprise customers, and is available for just $1.00 per user per month.