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Anti-phishing protection for Outlook: Reveal hidden links

Author: Amanda Li Last Modified: 2023-10-17

One of the most prevalent email-based threats today is phishing—a technique used by attackers to deceive email recipients into clicking on malicious links. These deceptive links often masquerade behind authentic-looking texts or logos, making it challenging for the average user to discern them.

Kutools for Outlook addresses this with the Anti-Phishing feature by revealing the actual addresses behind the links, ensuring transparency. This transparency allows users to immediately determine whether a link directs to a trustworthy website or a potential phishing domain. By having this clarity, users can make informed choices on which links to click, thereby decreasing the likelihood of falling prey to a phishing attack.


Video: Anti-phishing protection for Outlook


Enable the Anti-Phishing feature

Kutools for Outlook offers two anti-phishing options as listed below. Select your preferred choice to view the corresponding instruction:


Automatically View Hidden Links

Navigate to Kutools tab, and select the drop-down arrow below Anti-Phishing. Then choose the Automatically View Hidden Links option.

Effects of activating the Anti-Phishing feature in automatic mode:

Now if you select an email message containing hidden links, a warning bar will appear at the top. Concurrently, all hidden links within the message will be automatically displayed, as depicted below.

Tip: Clicking the View Original Links button will restore the message to its original state, hiding the previously revealed links.

Manually View Hidden Links

Navigate to Kutools tab, and select the drop-down arrow below Anti-Phishing. Then choose the Manually View Hidden Links option.

Effects of activating the Anti-Phishing feature in manual mode:

Upon opening an email containing hidden links, the links will remain concealed. However, Kutools will display a warning bar at the top of the message.

Tip: To reveal all the hidden links as shown in the picture below, simply click the View Hidden Links button on the warning bar.

Notes:

  • Toggle the View Original Links or View Hidden Links button on the warning bar to alternate between viewing hidden links and the original links.
  • Using the more options drop-down menu as shown below, you can change the anti-phishing mode to "automatically" or "manually", or choose to disable it.

Add trusted links to exclude from anti-phishing warnings

Should you wish to whitelist certain links, thus excluding them from warnings when they appear as hidden links, you can add them as trusted links. Here's how:

  1. On Kutools tab, click the drop-down arrow beneath Anti-Phishing and choose Trusted Links.
  2. A dialog box with a list of trusted major websites will appear. To include your personalized trusted links, type them directly into the box. Tip: After entering one link, press the Enter key before proceeding with the next one.
  3. To remove any listed website, simply select it and press the Backspace or Delete key on your keyboard.
  4. Once you’re done, click Ok.

Result

Now, if you open a message with only trusted hidden links, no warning bar will appear. However, if you open a message with a mix of trusted and untrusted hidden links, as demonstrated below, the warning bar will appear. And on Automatic mode, the trusted link will remain hidden, while the untrusted link will be revealed.


Disable the Anti-Phishing feature

After activating the Anti-Phishing feature, if you wish to disable it, there are 3 methods:

  • On Kutools tab, select the drop-down arrow below Anti-Phishing and choose Disabled.
  • On Kutools tab, click the Anti-Phishing button (the shield icon) on the ribbon. Tip: You can click the button again to toggle the feature on or off.
  • On the warning bar that appears at the top of a message which contains hidden links, expand the more options drop-down menu and select Disabled.

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