Skip to main content

Office of Information Technology

Frequently Asked Questions about Proofpoint

Proofpoint FAQ Content




What is Proofpoint?

Proofpoint is one of the most advanced products on the market today for filtering phishing, spam, and malware sent to American University's faculty and staff email accounts. All incoming american.edu email will be inspected by the Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway, prior to being delivered to the recipient(s), to help to protect the community from malicious emails that could potentially harm our computers and/or infrastructure, or compromise sensitive data. 

  • Messages that contain a virus, spam, or inappropriate content will be sent to a Quarantine area, rather than being delivered. 
  • Messages that are deemed safe will be allowed to pass through to the intended recipient(s).

Back to List


How will I know, if I get spam or dangerous emails?

You will receive a daily digest email containing a list of all of the messages that were quarantined, because they were deemed dangerous. The digest contains links that allow you to safely release legitimate quarantined emails. These precautions protect against harmful activities by keeping malicious emails from your inbox.

Back to List


What actions can I take regarding quarantined emails?

You should review the digest email regularly to look for messages that you do not consider spam.  Then, you may:

  • Release: Releases the message from the quarantine and has it delivered to your inbox.
  • Release and Allow Sender: This link does two things. It releases the message to be delivered to your inbox and adds the email address of the sender to your personal Safe Senders list. Future messages from this sender will not be quarantined.
  • Not Spam: This link allows you to report to Proofpoint directly any message that you believe is not spam. Please note that this feature sends the contents of the message to Proofpoint.

Back to List


Is it safe to view a quarantined email with Proofpoint?

Yes; you can click the ‘View’ link within a Digest email or the Proofpoint web application to safely view the message to determine if it is spam, harmful, or legitimate. Once you have viewed the email, you can release it to your inbox or leave it quarantined. Note: Quarantined emails will be automatically deleted after 14 days.

Back to List


How long are messages kept in the quarantine?

Messages are quarantined for a total of 14 days. After that time, the message is deleted; and it is not recoverable.

Back to List


Can I add or delete email addresses from the Safelist?

Yes; you can add addresses to the Safelist to indicate that you have deemed them to be safe to both your computer and AU systems. You can also go back at a later date to delete these addresses, if they turn out to be harmful senders.

Back to List


Can I add or delete email addresses from the Blocked List?

Yes; you can add email addresses to the Blocked List to indicate that these are sites that are your computer or AU systems. Emails received from these addresses will be immediately deleted; however, you can remove an address from the list, at any time.

Back to List


Why is some spam still getting through to my inbox?

Completely blocking all spam is a very difficult prospect. Sometimes a spam message may get through, but you may feed this back through Proofpoint by selecting 'Report as Spam' in your daily digest. This will help Proofpoint identify similar messages as spam in the future.

Back to List


If I delete an email in Proofpoint, can I get it back?

No; once a message is deleted in Proofpoint, it cannot be recovered.

Back to List


How do I manage my settings in Proofpoint?

You can manage your settings in the Proofpoint Web Application. From your daily digest, click on the MANAGE MY ACCOUNT link at the top right of the email. Enter your myAU password, when prompted, and click LOGIN. You can change your Proofpoint settings, under the PROFILE link at the bottom left.

To opt-out of bulk email filtering:

  1. Once logged into the Proofpoint Web Application, click PROFILE at the bottom left.
  2. Select SPAM FILTERING ONLY and then click SAVE.
  3. You are now opted-out of bulk email filtering, but you still have spam filtering enabled.
To opt-in to bulk email filtering:
  1. Once logged into the Proofpoint Web Application, click PROFILE at the bottom left.
  2. Select SPAM AND BULK FILTERING ENABLED and then click SAVE.
  3. You are now opted-in to bulk email filtering.

Back to List


How do I access the Proofpoint Web Application?

You can access the Proofpoint Web Application by clicking the link within the digest email.

Back to List


Why do web URLS look different in email messages that I have received?

Proofpoint has a security measure, which checks links for malware and blocks malicious sites. This measure results in the website URLs being 'rewritten,' which may cause them too look differently. This protection is applied to all messages proactively, and allows AU to better protect you from phishing attacks, no matter where you are. The URLs that are blocked by Proofpoint will show an alert like this:

Auto Settings window

Back to List