Anti-malware protection

Microsoft Exchange Online Protection helps combat malware in your email messaging environment. (Exchange Online Protection helps protect your on-premises mailboxes and is also the malware filtering solution for cloud-hosted mailboxes in Exchange Online.) Malware is comprised of viruses and spyware. Viruses infect other programs and data, and they spread throughout your computer looking for programs to infect. Spyware refers to malware that gathers your personal information, such as sign-in information and personal data, and sends it back to its author.

The service offers multi-layered malware protection that's designed to catch all known malware traveling inbound to or outbound from your organization. The following options help provide anti-malware protection:

  • Layered Defenses Against Malware Multiple anti-malware scan engines help protect against both known and unknown threats. These engines include powerful heuristic detection to provide protection even during the early stages of a malware outbreak. This multi-engine approach has been shown to provide significantly more protection than using just one anti-malware engine.

  • Real-time Threat Response During some outbreaks, the anti-malware team may have enough information about a virus or other form of malware to write sophisticated policy rules that detect the threat even before a definition is available from any of the engines used by the service. These rules are published to the global network every 2 hours to provide your organization with an extra layer of protection against attacks.

  • Fast Anti-Malware Definition Deployment The anti-malware team maintains close relationships with partners who develop anti-malware engines. As a result, the service can receive and integrate malware definitions and patches before they are publicly released. Our connection with these partners often allows us to develop our own remedies as well. The service checks for updated definitions for all anti-malware engines every hour.

For more information about anti-malware protection, see the following topics:

Anti-malware protection FAQ

Configure anti-malware policies

Submitting malware and non-malware to Microsoft for analysis