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As with any form of communication, there are risks associated with using email. Hazards include unauthorized use of your email account, infection of your computer with viruses, and theft of data. By taking some simple steps, you can avoid most of the risks associated with communicating by email. Outlook Web App supports several features that help protect you.

This article is for Outlook Web App, which is used by organizations that manage email servers running Exchange Server 2013 or 2010. If you're using Microsoft 365, or Exchange Server 2016 or 2019, your email program is Outlook on the web. For help with Outlook on the web, see Get help with Outlook on the web.

You can use Outlook Web App on your laptop or desktop computer when you’re not connected to the internet. This can be very useful if you’re traveling and moving in and out of places where you have internet access. You must be connected to a network to enable offline access. Because part of your mailbox is copied to your computer when you choose to work offline, it’s best not to use offline access on a computer you share with other people. For more information, see Using Outlook Web App offline.

You can access your mailbox from any computer that has a web browser and an internet connection. Internet cafés, libraries, and public access terminals such as internet kiosks offer internet access at little or no charge. However, because these computers are available to the public, you should take precautions to help protect your data and your privacy.

We recommend that you use Outlook Web App only in locations you trust. Don’t use offline access on a network kiosk or other shared computer.

What should I do when signing in?

Take the following precautions when you sign in to a computer in a public place:

  • Make sure no one watches you type your user name and password.

  • Never select an option that lets you save your password for later use. Even if you plan to use the same computer for several days, always type your password.

What about opening messages and attachments?

Follow these guidelines when you open messages and attachments:

  • Before you open a message, make sure it's from someone you trust and are expecting an email message from.

  • Open attachments only from people you trust.

  • The best way to open an attachment when you're using a public or shared computer is to select the Preview link that's below the attachment. This protects you from potential virus attacks and prevents a copy of the attachment from being created on the computer.

  • If you want to open an attachment instead of previewing it, save it to a folder or a location that’s easy to find, such as the Desktop, and then open it from there. Most browsers give you an option to open the file or save it to a disk when you select the attachment's link. After you finish using the computer, delete the attachment and empty the Recycle Bin or trash.

What should I do when I'm done?

When you've finished using your mailbox:

  • Sign out from your mailbox. Signing out helps prevent someone else from using the computer to access your mailbox.

  • Close the browser.

Junk email and phishing are common threats to be aware of. Junk email can contain viruses or links to malicious websites. Phishing is a specific type of junk email designed to steal your private information for use in identity theft and other scams. For more information, see Learn about junk email and phishing.

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