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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 it being delivered to the recipient(s). 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).

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Why is AU using Proofpoint?

Proofpoint will help to protect the community from malicious emails that could potentially harm our computers and/or infrastructure, or compromise sensitive data.

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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 as they were deemed dangerous. The digest contains links that allow you to safely release legitimate quarantined emails.

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Do I need to do anything with the digest email?

You should review the digest to look for messages that you might not consider spam, and release any that you believe are legitimate. Then, you can delete the digest email itself.

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What is a quarantined email?

A quarantined email is one that ProofPoint has identified as spam, inappropriate, or potentially dangerous. This precaution keeps these emails from arriving in your inbox protecting against harmful activities.

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What actions can I take for regarding quarantined emails?

You may:

  • Release: Releases the message from the quarantine and have 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 it 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.

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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 the email to your inbox or leave it within Proofpoint. Quarantined emails that are hazardous will be automatically deleted after 14 days.

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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, which is the same behavior as the current system.

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What is the Safelist?

The Safelist is a list of email addresses that you have deemed not dangerous to your computer or our system.

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Can I add or delete email addresses from the Safelist?

Yes. You can add addresses to the Safelist. You can also go back at a later date to delete these addresses, if they turn out to be harmful senders.

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What is the Blocked List?

The Blocked List is a list of email addresses that are dangerous to your computer or our system. Emails received from these addresses will be immediately deleted.

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

Yes. You can add email addresses to the Blocked List. You can also go back to remove an address from the list at a later date.

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How do I delete quarantined email?

You cannot delete an email in Quarantine. If the email is suspicious or spam, just leave the message and it will be automatically deleted after 14 days in quarantine.

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Why is some spam mail 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.

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

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

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How do I manage my settings, such as bulk email filtering, 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.

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How do I access the Proofpoint Web Application?

You can access the Proofpoint Web Application by clicking the link within the digest email, or you can access Proofpoint through the myAU portal.

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I am not getting emails from Proofpoint often. Why not?

You will only receive a daily digest, if you have received a potentially hazardous email. If you are not getting frequent emails from Proofpoint, that means you are not getting as much spam or threating emails as before.

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

Proofpoint has a security measure in which it checks links for malware and blocks sites if they are deemed malicious. This measure results in the website urls being "rewritten" which may cause them too look different than normal. 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 that looks like this:

Auto Settings window

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