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Microsoft wants to kill off malware with new "Safe Documents" feature

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After announcing Safe Documents earlier this year, Microsoft has now made its new Office 365 ProPlus security feature available to both Microsoft 365 E5 and E5 security customers.

The software giant's Safe Documents feature expands on its existing security feature Protected View which helps secure documents that originate outside of an organization whether they be downloaded from the internet, received as an email attachment or opened from an unsafe storage location.

Protected View places these files in a sandbox so that users can view them safely without the risk that they might spread malware or some other virus to the rest of their organization. However, workers sometimes need to edit these files and this is where Safe Documents comes into play.

If Safe Documents is activated, files are sent to Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) where they are scanned before a user is allowed to exit Protected View and edit them.

Safe Documents

Protected View remains active while a file is being scanned. However, if the file is deemed safe by Microsoft Defender ATP, an “Enable Editing” button appears and users can then exit Protected View and edit the file.

If a file is found to be malicious or contain suspicious functions, the file is blocked from leaving Protected View and an alert is sent back to an organization's Office 365 dashboard.

Safe Documents is now available for Office 365 customers with an E5 license but the feature is disabled by default. This means that administrators will have to manually enable it from their Office 365 dashboards. Once enabled though, the feature becomes active for all of an organization's users.

While Protected View allows users to view any document they find online, Safe Documents gives them the ability to edit these files once they have been scanned for malware and other potential threats.

Via ZDNet