URL Link Protection


URL link protection automatically changes website addresses (URLs) sent in emails. When you click on a link in an email message, that link gets checked to see if it is malicious. If so, you are taken to a notification website. If not, you are taken to the actual website.


URL link protection automatically changes URLs in email. Those URLs (links) will display 'urldefense.com' followed by an underscore (_) and the original URL. When you click the link, it is checked against a list of known malicious sites. If the link would take you to a malicious website, you will instead be directed to a website that explains the situation. See image, below.

Sample image displaying that a website URl/web address has been flagged as malicious.

To see if a link has been altered, hover over the link in your email program with the mouse pointer. It will display the link to the website, as shown in the image below:

URL link protection: an unaltered URL








For URLs that have been altered, you will see that the link begins with, "https://urldefense.com/v3/_". In the image below, we've hovered over the headline in this email-based news article. Altered URLs will begin with "https://urldefense.com/v3/_" followed by an underscore, the original link, another underscore, and a string of letters and numbers.

URL link protection example: an altered URL with https://urldefense.com at the beginning

Frequently Asked Questions about URL Link Protection

Are all links altered?

Most links are re-written except in certain situations. These situations are:

  • If the website is within the University of Oregon's domain (e.g. "physics.uoregon.edu") it will not be altered
  • If the email is sent from one UO Exchange user to another, links in that message will not be be altered
  • If the email is signed with PGP or S/MIME, links in the message will not be altered

If I forward an email to someone outside UO, what happens to the altered links?

If you forward an email message that contains altered links to someone outside the University of Oregon, the links will work. However, the links will remain altered.

Will URL Link Protection interfere with one-time-use URLs, such as password reset messages?

No. This feature will not invalidate one-time-use URLs. When you click on an altered link, the software checks the link against a list rather than contacting the destination website.

I've been taught to hover over the link in the email to make sure the web address matches the link. Does this mean I shouldn't do this anymore?

We realize this feature will introduce complexity for you. It's not ideal. We see a significant number of compromised email accounts because people were not checking links, so we have decided to use software to help protect the university, its students, and employees.

When you hover over links, altered URLs will begin with https://urldefense.com. See the images above for examples.

Other Questions and Help

If you have other questions, please request help from our Spam Filtering service.

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Article ID: 84238
Thu 8/1/19 2:11 PM
Wed 11/27/19 4:11 PM