Microsoft Teams now validates URLs in real-time to thwart phishing attacks: Safe Links provides time-of-click protection malicious websites

Microsoft Teams Safe Links
Safe Links scans each URL in Teams. Pic credit: Christiaan Colen/Flickr

Microsoft Teams has received important protection from phishing attacks. The Safe Links feature will scrutinize all links before sending the user to the intended website.

An important feature from Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection will now be available to Microsoft Teams users as well. The Defender for Office 365 Safe Links protection promises to safeguard users from malicious URL-based phishing attacks.

Microsoft imports Safe Links from Defender for Office 365 into Teams to protect users from phishing links:

Microsoft is relying heavily on Teams and hoping it becomes a central platform for remote collaboration. Professional and personal users of Microsoft Teams are growing in numbers, and this is attracting the attention of hackers and malicious code writers.

Microsoft claims a large number of companies are now using Teams, and the number is growing. Needless to mention, this strongly indicates remote working and hybrid work environments are here to stay.

To protect companies and users, Microsoft will now utilize Safe Links in Microsoft Defender for Office 365. The primary intention behind borrowing the feature is to protect Teams users from phishing attacks that use malicious URLs.

“With today’s announcement, organizations with Microsoft Defender for Office 365 can further protect Microsoft Teams users from malicious phishing attacks that are often orchestrated using weaponized URLs.”

“Safe Links in Defender for Office 365 scans URLs at the time of click to ensure that users are protected with the latest intelligence from Microsoft Defender.”

Safe Links is available to all Teams users but will require admin intervention for activation?

The newly Safe Links protection is now available to all Teams users. It works in the background and pops up whenever any user clicks on links.

The URL links could be present anywhere in the platform, such as in conversations, group chats, and Teams channels. Clicking on the same should bring up the verification notification.

Safe Links essentially offers a real-time, time-of-click validation of URLs by scanning URLs when a user clicks on them. It will issue a warning if the link is malicious in nature.

Microsoft claims attackers utilize over two million unique URL-based payloads each month. Additionally, there are over 100 million phishing emails that Microsoft’s advanced threat protection mechanisms intercept every month.

Incidentally, Microsoft hasn’t enabled the Safe Links policy by default. Hence users or admins will have to create one or more policies to enable the protection of Safe Links in Teams.

To configure Safe Links set up a Safe Links policy in the Microsoft 365 Defender portal. More information about configuring Safe Links policies for various Office 365 tools, including Teams, is available on Microsoft’s documentation portal.

Safe Links is reportedly available in Microsoft 365 apps on the desktop, phone, and online, and in emails. Now Microsoft is deploying the feature for Teams, and customers who use Microsoft Defender for Office 365 will benefit.

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