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Microsoft fixes Outlook filtering failure after users report torrent of spam

Sometime in the last few days, something went very wrong with the spam filtering in Microsoft’s Outlook email service.

user icon David Hollingworth
Tue, 21 Feb 2023
Microsoft fixes Outlook filtering failure after users report torrent of spam
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Users began reporting that spam was no longer being filtered and that inboxes were being flooded with unwanted emails.

“Why are all my junk emails coming through into my inbox? Started two days ago,” one Outlook user asked on Microsoft’s own community forum. An “independent advisor” responded that the issue could be related to user error, suggesting that perhaps an email in the junk folder had been responded to, thus spilling a flood of spam.

But many more Outlook users chimed in, reporting much the same — that Outlook’s spam filters had basically kicked the bucket.

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“I am having the same issue, junk mail is not going into the junk folder and I get 100s of spam emails a day,” wrote one user.

“Same issue. I am getting so much that my inbox is useless at this point. I do pay for a subscription,” wrote another. “Not sure if that matters or not.”

However, while Microsoft has not made an official comment on what was happening, it has mentioned the issue on Outlook’s status page.

Microsoft reports that “everything is up and running” but does recognise that there was an issue. According to Microsoft, not only were users seeing spam and phishing emails make it into their inboxes, but they also could have been experiencing “performance issues such as navigation delays and messaging latency”.

The issue seems to have taken 12 hours to rectify, with Microsoft “analysing system logs to isolate the origin of this issue and reviewing options to remediate the impact” as of yesterday (20 February), before finally reporting the issue as resolved.

“We’ve identified the source of the problem and taken action to fix it,” Microsoft wrote on its service status page. “Our service telemetry shows that the problem has been addressed, and we’ll continue to monitor this telemetry to ensure the issue remains mitigated.”

What the issue may have been remains a mystery, but we have reached out to Microsoft for comment.

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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