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IS&T recently migrated email security infrastructure to a cloud-based platform, Microsoft Office 365. This caused some changes in spam screening behavior. For more information, see:

On this page:


Spam filtering system for MIT's email service. O365 Spam Filtering scans all incoming email messages before they are delivered to your mailbox. The messages that are identified as spam are immediately quarantined instead of being delivered to your inbox. You can use this page to view items in quarantine and manage your senders lists. Spam filtering catches most spam and deletes it after 30 days. For more information on Spam filters for MIT email, see Spam Filtering.

Find and Release Filtered Messages

To release messages that that are being held as spam:

  1. Visit
    1. If you are not already logged in to MIT's Office 365, you will be prompted to sign in.
    2. Enter your email address
    3. Click Next
    4. Click Work or school account
    5. You will be taken to Touchstone@MIT to log in.
  2. Your filtered messages are available under Threat Management -> Review -> Quarantine


  • Releasing emails from the quarantine will not influence how O365 handles future emails from that sender.  In order to ensure that emails from a sender that was inadvertently quarantined do not continue to get quarantined in the future, you will need to add the sender/domain to your Allow list in OWA (instructions in the "Block and Allow Lists" section below). For more, see: * Microsoft's Exchange Online Protection overview
  • To release messages, select them and click the “Release messages” button in the right sidebar
  • Click the “Release messages” button again in the confirmation dialog
  • By default the released message will be copied to Microsoft to improve their quarantine behavior in the future. You can opt out by unchecking the "Report messages to Microsoft for analysis" box.
  • Note that released messages are sent to your inbox right away, but will also remain in your quarantine list for a period of time; you do not need to release them again.

Block and Allow Lists

Your block/allow (black/white) lists identify known good and bad senders to ensure you receive the mail you want and do not receive messages from senders you do not want to get. You must enable automatic filtering of junk email in order to use the block and allow list features. To manage these lists:

1. Visit OWA at and login.
2. Top-right Gear Icon or Options > See All Options
3. Under Options on your left navigation click Block or Allow

  1. Make sure the Automatically filter junk email radio button is selected.  If the junk mail filter is disabled, allowed and blocked senders will not sync with the quarantine service.
    • White listed recipients can be added to “safe senders and recipients,” and denied senders added to “blocked senders.”  O365 does not support the use of wild cards or domains in the "safe senders" list.
    • Mail sent to blocked senders should be automatically filtered to your quarantine page at (see above for more information)
      Note: Don't forget to SAVE any changes you made. It may take up to 30 minutes to take effect.

O365 Spam Filtering does not allow the blocking of senders inside your organization (with an address). A workaround for this is to use Filters

For more, see: How do I add an email address to my "blocked senders" or "allowed senders" list with O365 Spam Filtering?


See Also

Have Questions or Still Need Help?

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

March 20, 2019

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  1. Feb 19, 2019

    It is very important to note that these settings are on the exchange level and not on the application level. Any changes you make on Junk mail settings in the outlook app or other mail apps apply after it the mail has passed through As such, it is still important to go to to update your settings so the spam filter can read your global settings set in exchange for what emails are on your allow/block list.

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