Safe Links in Microsoft Defender for Office 365

LiveIntent is aware of a March 2021 update to business (corporate) customers using the Microsoft Office 365 suite enhancing their "Safe Links" policy, specifically the application of this policy as it pertains to email messages. This includes the Microsoft Outlook email client. The definition of Safe Links provided by Microsoft is as follows:

"Safe Links is a feature in Defender for Office 365 that provides URL scanning and rewriting of inbound email messages in mail flow, and time-of-click verification of URLs and links in email messages and other locations. Safe Links scanning occurs in addition to the regular anti-spam and anti-malware protection in inbound email messages in Exchange Online Protection (EOP). Safe Links scanning can help protect your organization from malicious links that are used in phishing and other attacks."   Full documentation here.

As a result of this enhancement, we have seen instances where click-throughs on LiveIntent ad units are impacted. Instead of going to the expected landing page, clicks redirect to a page similar to the below:


LiveIntent has conducted thorough testing on links exhibiting this redirect sequence and continue to see no compromised reputation on any links and no presence of the links on any blocklists. It is our understanding that these are security settings unique to an organization and thus something LiveIntent does not have immediate control over. This is validated in the Microsoft documentation:

“Safe Links protection for links in email messages is controlled by Safe Links policies. There is no default Safe Links policy, so to get the protection of Safe Links in email messages, you need to create one or more Safe Links policies.”

If you experience this behavior, we recommend you review the Safe Links policies set by your organization, and read Microsoft’s documentation on how to Set up Safe Links policies in Microsoft Defender for Office 365, which includes the ability to disable completely or set rules on a domain-by-domain basis.

Should you have any additional questions or inquiries regarding this topic, please contact your respective LiveIntent account manager.

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