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Introducing the New Post-delivery Activities Report in Microsoft Defender for Office 365
Attackers are always evolving to adapt to the newest protections enacted by security teams and the products they rely on. Today, attackers frequently attempt to bypass security tools by sending messages that only become malicious after they have been delivered. This requires a robust post-delivery detection and response mechanism. In this blog, we will explore the evolution of an attack, how Defender for Office 365 provides out of the box post-delivery protection, and how you can see this value for your organization. Today we’re announcing a new report in Microsoft Defender for Office 365 that highlights messages that have been acted upon or moved by Microsoft after they have been delivered to the inbox.
Before diving into this new report, we want to start by covering post-delivery activities – what they are and how they work in Defender for Office 365.
How do attacks land in the mailbox?
Threat actors work on the fact that they can send messages and weaponize them later. Attackers frequently send messages with an inactive URL which won’t be detected at time of delivery, and once the messages have been delivered to inboxes, the URLs are then weaponized. This puts your end users at risk of credential theft and your organization at risk of a widespread attack. Threats can also be reclassified post-delivery, based on this weaponization by attackers.
That’s where Zero-Hour Auto Purge (ZAP) comes in to protect your organization from these types of attacks. ZAP is powered by Microsoft’s advanced security graph to detect and neutralize threats. ZAP is constantly reviewing your messages to identify and neutralize these threats.
How does Defender for Office 365 detect and respond to these attacks?
Microsoft Defender for Office 365 includes ZAP, a post-delivery activity which acts on malicious messages after delivery. Upon identifying a malicious Indicator of Compromise (IoC), ZAP can find all messages in user mailboxes that contain the malicious IOC. Once the messages are identified, ZAP acts on the message based on the specific policy action, securing your end users and your organization. With secure by default, our filtering will keep many potentially dangerous or unwanted messages out of your mailboxes. The secure by default feature enables malware and high confidence phishing messages detected post-delivery to be sent to quarantine by ZAP, with no additional configurations required.
ZAP receives signals from our advanced security graph and utilizes this threat intelligence to remove malicious messages from the inbox, providing out of the box post-delivery protection for all customers. And this isn’t just for Defender for Office 365 customers; we provide ZAP actions for all Microsoft email services, including Exchange Online Protection and even Outlook.com consumer accounts. The quick system-driven actions reduce the exposure time of your end users, securing your organization in a timely and effective way. There is no need for any admin intervention to identify and trigger an action. Upon detection of the malicious content, ZAP removes the message from the inbox.
Post-delivery protection with ZAP
Where can I review messages that were neutralized by ZAP?
With our Microsoft Defender for Office 365 P2 and E5 licenses, you can review messages that are neutralized by ZAP within Advanced Hunting and Threat Explorer. You can learn more here.
Introducing the new Post-delivery activity report
We’ve heard customer feedback that understanding when ZAP took action can be challenging. As a result, we’re happy to announce the launch of a new Post-delivery activity report. The report will display all the ZAP events that occurred in your organization. If the verdict assigned to a message has been changed, the new report will display this updated data, making it easier to investigate the messages.
You can find the Post-delivery activities report under Email & collaboration reports.
Figure 1: Access the Post-delivery activities report under Email & collaboration reports
Figure 2: Post-delivery activities report
From the report, you have direct access to the email entity side panel to review additional information about the message:
Figure 3: Access the email entity summary panel from the report view
Learn more about the report by viewing our documentation.
You can use the following PowerShell cmdlets to access the report information for your organization.
You can learn more about these PowerShell cmdlets here.
If you are part of a Security Operations team or a Cyber Threat Intelligence team, get started by navigating to security.microsoft.com/reports/PostDeliveryActivities, to review the messages we have blocked in your organization post-delivery.
For questions or feedback about Microsoft Defender for Office 365, engage with the community and Microsoft experts in the Defender for Office 365 forum.