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  • Patch Lady – the Office 365 admin center

    Posted on January 7th, 2019 at 23:35 Susan Bradley Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Patch Lady here – for those of you that are admins in Office 365 I would highly recommend bookmarking the Office 365 admin center and especially to make sure that you have access to the message center inside of it.  It’s a key way to keep aware of updates and changes.  On my cheapest Godaddy Office 365 subscription I don’t have the ability to forward the alerts to other email addresses, but on my higher Office 365 subscriptions (a Office 365 Business plan and a Microsoft 365 E5 plan just to be aware of the nuances and changes with each plan).  You can also download the Office admin center app on an iPhone or android and log in with admin credentials to get the same info.

    Today they announced they are adding more forensic features that turn on more auditing by default.  This is a very good thing and starts to get the online better aligned with on premise in terms of forensics.

    Now if I can just get Advanced Threat Protection features built into EVERY Office 365… yes I know… never happy am I?


    Updated feature: Exchange Online mailbox audit to add mail reads by default


    To ensure that you have access to critical audit data to investigate security incidents in your organization, we’re making some updates to Exchange mailbox auditing. After this change takes place, Exchange Online will audit mail reads/accesses by default for owners, admins and delegates under the MailItemsAccessed action.

    This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID: 32224.

    How does this affect me?

    The MailItemsAccessed action offers comprehensive forensic coverage of mailbox accesses, including sync operations. In February 2019, audit logs will start generating MailItemsAccessed audit records to log user access of mail items. If you are on the default configuration, the MailItemsAccessed action will be added to Get-mailbox configurations, under the fields AuditAdmin, AuditDelegate and AuditOwner. Once the feature is rolled out to you, you will see the MailItemsAccessed action added and start to audit reads.

    This new MailItemsAccessed action is going to replace the MessageBind action; MessageBind will no longer be a valid action to configure, instead an error message will suggest turning on the MailItemsAccessed action. This change will not remove the MessageBind action from mailboxes which have already have added it to their configurations.

    Initially, these audit records will not flow into the Unified Audit Log and will only be available from the Mailbox Audit Log.

    We’ll begin rolling this change out in early February, 2019. If you are on the default audit configuration, you will see the MailItemsAccessed action added once the feature is rolled out to you and you start to audit reads.

    What do I need to do to prepare for this change?

    There is no action you need to take to derive the security benefits of having mail read audit data. The MailItemsAccessed action will be updated in your Get-Mailbox action audit configurations automatically under AuditAdmin, AuditDelegate and AuditOwner.

    If you have set these configurations before, you will need to update them now to audit the two new mailbox actions. Please click Additional Information for details on how to do this.

    If you do not want to audit these new actions in your mailboxes and you do not want your mailbox action audit configurations to change in the future as we continue to update the defaults, you can set AuditAdmin, AuditDelegate and AuditOwner to your desired configuration. Even if your desired configuration is exactly the same as the current default configuration, so long as you set the AuditAdmin, AuditDelegate and AuditOwner configurations on your mailbox, you will preclude yourself from further updates to these audit configurations. Please click Additional Information for details on how to do this.

    If your organization has turned off mailbox auditing, then you will not audit mail read actions.

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    Home Forums Patch Lady – the Office 365 admin center

    This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  anonymous 1 week, 2 days ago.

    • Author
    • #245007 Reply

      Susan Bradley
      AskWoody MVP

      Patch Lady here – for those of you that are admins in Office 365 I would highly recommend bookmarking the Office 365 admin center and especially to ma
      [See the full post at: Patch Lady – the Office 365 admin center]

      Susan Bradley Patch Lady

      6 users thanked author for this post.
    • #245061 Reply

      AskWoody MVP


      If you are an Office 365 admin this should be one of your first “stops” every day. Lots of very good information.


      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #245296 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      This is interesting. According to some forensics geeks, last summer for a few days you were apparently able to access per-mailbox audit data via some secret REST API call but MS swiftly took that access away. The data was allegedly available regardless of whether you had enabled auditing on a given mailbox.

      I’ve been doing things with some of the current unified audit logs around compromised Office365 accounts and it’s worth noting that you can already get events around Inbox rules and mailbox permission changes via these more system-level unified audit logs.

      I suppose there may be occasions where having events for every tiny action taken in a mailbox is useful, but I’m struggling to see much practical mileage in knowing that some logon via an IP address in a far-away land read a specific mail at a specific time. What do you do with that info unless it happens to be a mail containing some secret that can be changed e.g. some kind of credentials?

      If you’re a corporate employing in-house security analysts then you’re almost certainly capable and dealing with most of this now. MS turning on per-mailbox auditing is just one thing your existing 365 mailbox configuration tools won’t need to do now, but you’ll probably keep them doing it to ensure it stays enabled. Or disabled if you don’t want it.

      For everyone else, the Bad Guys tend to set about doing things like making rules to intercept and modify incoming invoices with their bank details etc. and you can see that in the current unified audit logs without resorting to per-mailbox audit logs. You do need to ensure unified audit logs are turned on first though.

      MS making even reasonable security features (not just advanced ones) here cost additional money is beginning to annoy me a lot. The default level is not enough and I think asking for money to fix that is immoral, especially when it’s education/charity Office 365 tenants.


      • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by
      • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by
         PiqueABoo. Reason: Typos
      • #341127 Reply


        Anyone doing any sort of breech investigation, in regards to PII or PHI or whatever other data hackers are after these days such as SSN or CC#s etc, this information is VITAL.  You can’t do a proper investigation and reporting unless you know what they read.

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