Microsoft takes on Gmail: pay for Office 365 and you and four Outlook users get more security, no ads, and a 50 GB inbox

Outlook users with Office 365 subscriptions get better phishing protections
Outlook users with Office 365 subscriptions get better phishing protections

Microsoft is rolling out new email security features and premium services for Outlook.com users who pay for an Office 365 subscription and giving them the option to extend the offer to four other Outlook users. 

Outlook.com users already get Microsoft’s spam and malware filtering, but users who also pay for Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal will now get additional protection from Microsoft in the form of attachment scanning and a real-time check on links that users click in an email in Outlook.

Along with security benefits, Outlook users who subscribe to Office 365 Personal or Home will also no longer see ads in email and will also be bumped up to 50GB of email storage. Until now Google and Microsoft respectively offered 15 GB for storage capacity each free Gmail account and Outlook.com account.

To sweeten the deal and appeal to families, Microsoft is allowing Office 365 subscribers to extend the security, ad-free, and 50 GB limit to four other Outlook accounts.  

Those covered by Microsoft's new offer get protection if they click on a malicious link in an email or receive a malware-laden attachment. When Outlook detects a threat after the user has clicked a link, users will see a large red warning stating that “Outlook has detected an unsafe link”.  Outlook blocks the page but offers an option to proceed anyway. 

When Outlook detects a dangerous attachment, Microsoft will remove it to prevent users from accidentally opening it.  

The new premium security features are automatically enabled for Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers who use email accounts ending in @outlook.com, @hotmail.com, @live.com, and @msn.com.

Microsoft notes in a support document that the features will work on the web, the Mail app on Windows 10, and its apps for iOS and Android since the processing happens in the cloud. 

The additional protections don’t cover Gmail and Yahoo accounts that are synced to an Outlook.com account. 

The roll out could take several weeks to complete, so users won’t necessarily see the additional protections immediately, according to Microsoft. 

Covered Office 365 subscribers will also be able to share the new security features with up to four other Outlook.com subscribers. 

Google is also ramping up email security offerings in response to increasingly sophisticated and targeted phishing. 

Earlier this month launched the Advanced Protection program for a small group of Gmail users who face a higher risk of being targeted by determined or sophisticated attackers. The feature is aimed at business leaders, political campaign managers, and people in abusive relationships. After enabling Advanced Protection, users need a physical USB security key to sign-in to Gmail from a new device.

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