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O365 filtering out SPAM before it gets to Sophos

Since moving from another antispam provider to Sophos, I've started getting Microsoft Quarantine emails again. I've done a message trace and it clearly shows that the message was sent to Sophos, however Central has no record of that email ever arriving. However, if I go to Microsoft Quarantine and release the email, Sophos then blocks it and it shows up in Central as having been blocked for being SPAM.

I would have thought the prefilter rule and redirection would catch a message straight away. I've done all the domain and mailflow verifications in Central and they've all come back saying everything is correct.

What's going on and why is Microsoft suddenly collecting SPAM?

For any Sophos staff who happen to be watching, case 06513956 has been going on for almost a week and getting nowhere, despite 2 hours on the phone today.

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  • Hi Stuart,

    Thank you for reaching out to Sophos Community and for sharing the case#.

    Will further check this and apologies for the experience. 

    Erick Jan
    Community Support Engineer | Sophos Technical Support
    Sophos Support Videos Product Documentation  |  @SophosSupport  | Sign up for SMS Alerts
    If a post solves your question use the 'Verify Answer' link.

  • An update - it's now been two weeks.

    Microsoft say the email goes to Sophos first and Sophos say the email goes to Microsoft first.

    Sophos says log a call with Microsoft

    Microsoft says log a call with Sophos

    So now what?

  • The last email from Sophos was to log a call with Microsoft, who said to log a call with Sophos.

  • Hi Stuart,

    Good day, email was sent to you around a few hours ago, I'll send the email content via DM. 

    Erick Jan
    Community Support Engineer | Sophos Technical Support
    Sophos Support Videos Product Documentation  |  @SophosSupport  | Sign up for SMS Alerts
    If a post solves your question use the 'Verify Answer' link.

  • Thanks. Given other users are having the same problem.......

    The email refers me to how to setup spam filter policies. When I logged the case a week ago, I sent screenshots showing the rules that SOPHOS CENTRAL created automatically as part of the deployment and then confirmed were correct during a test email following. Unless there is a bug with the sophos central deployment?

    Hopefully after a week and multiple remote sessions, we aren't at the stage where Sophos is referring me to setup documents and saying that Sophos Mailflow deployment does not work properly so we need to switch to Gateway deployment. If this is the case, when is Sophos going to fix the bug or remove mailflow deployment as an option all together?

  • Hello Stuart,

    Reviewing your case, I don't see any note saying that the "deployment doesn’t work properly."

    It looks like you want Sophos Email to catch the email first, do the anti-spam checks and send it to O365, the way Gateway mode works, rather than Email Flow, where the email arrives first to O365 and sends the mail to Sophos Email (Sophos Email does the spam checks) Sophos email then send it back to O365.

    Today you have a call with Support to go through this change so the email flow will now be Email > Sophos Email > o365.


    Emmanuel (EmmoSophos)
    Technical Team Lead, Global Community Support
    Sophos Support VideosProduct Documentation  |  @SophosSupport  | Sign up for SMS Alerts
    If a post solves your question use the 'Verify Answer' link.
  • No, I do not want to use Gateway mode. The Sophos "recommended" deployment for O365 is Mailflow mode, and that's what I want to use. Sophos automatically connected to the O365 tenant and configured all the mailflow rules, and then did a test to confirm everything is working correctly, but it's not, emails are being filtered by Microsoft and all my users are getting quarantine emails from Microsoft AND Sophos. But after more than a week of investigation, Sophos' advice is they can't get it working so let's change to Gateway mode

    I would much rather Sophos find and fix the problem so that their "recommended" solution worked properly. I don't have much confidence in the support team if after more than a week they throw their hands in the air and say too hard try switching to gateway mode.

  • Are they showing as High Confidence Phish in the M365 quarantine?

  • Secure by Default is something that Microsoft implemented that cannot be bypassed. The Pre-Filter rule turn the Spam Confidence Level score (SCL) to -1 which tells M365 not to inspect for spam. We are in discussions with Microsoft Product Team about this topic among others. Do you see the SCL -1 in the headers of the messages? The Pre-Filter should be the first rule in the list of rules.

  • Thanks . It's disappointing that the support team didn't have this information a week and a half ago  - it would have saved a lot of time.

    It would have been good to know before we went and implemented the Sophos recommended deployment method that doesn't work. We just followed the Sophos recommendations. Probably a good idea for Sophos to not allow new customers to use Mailflow mode until this is fixed.

    There is no SCL score in the headers at all. The pre-filter is the first rule, as per screenshots above (priority 0). Microsoft lists the quarantine reason as "Spam"

  • Stuart, it does work, I personally have been using it for the last 16 months, Microsoft will if you make enough noise and provide business justification turn off the Secure by Default but I've only had a couple customers get that done. If there is no SCL in the headers I'd investigate a bit more. How long have you had this implementation? 

    Can you check a couple of things for me: Since each M365 plan has different levels of protection this may/may not apply

    In > policies & rules > threat policies > preset security policies are the Standard and Strict Protection turned on. Have you configured any Exclusions?

  • We implemented Sophos Mail about a month ago. The O365 tenant itself is about 10 years old.

    Have checked that area and nothing has been configured

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