What happens when you click the Report Message button?

Some time ago, IT asked ACU staff to use the Report Message button to report suspicious emails. Today, we explore what happens when you report an email.

First, a recap.

The Report Message button lives in your Outlook and looks like this. You can use it to report any email that looks suspicious as either phishing or spam.

 screenshot showing report message button with options list showing Junk Phishing Not Junk Options and Help

Phishing schemes are malicious attempts to compromise your account, download malicious software, or cause you to fall prey to other schemes. You can learn more here.

Spam is annoying unsolicited commercial emails offering you enormous discounts, access to exclusive materials or events, or other unsolicited content, but it doesn’t contain malicious links, attachments, or software.

What happens next?

After you report a message, the system compares the details of this message to its body of knowledge about malicious campaigns and cyber security threats. This body of knowledge is sourced from Office 365 users all over the world, including ACU.

If the system finds a similar email in its database, it will:

  • move the email to a safe location (e.g. quarantine)
  • scan to see if anyone else at ACU has received the same email and remove it from their inbox or stop it from arriving
  • block the suspicious link from opening
  • add the email to the worldwide body of knowledge so that schemes can be identified more quickly for other Office 365 users as well as ACU.

In this first image, you can see that ACU received 12 instances of this particular scheme. Most were detected automatically and sent to quarantine and some were identified by ACU staff as malicious through the Report Message button.

 screenshot showing line graph with spike

The second image shows how many malicious emails were detected per day, and how many were phishing or malware campaigns.

 bar chart showing phishing reports over a period of time


As you can see, the Report Email button is an important tool in fighting cyber threats.

Thank you to everyone who has used the button, and for your continued support.

If you’d like to learn more about cyber security:

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