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Email Protocol Information

Email Protocol Information - Supported Email Protocols as of 26 August 2020

What's changed?

As of Wednesday 26th August the way our staff and students access email is changing.  The support for three legacy mail protocols (IMAP, POP3 and SMTP) is being turned off, and any email applications using those protocols will stop working on that date.  Affected applications include Mozilla Thunderbird, Evolution & Kmail on Linux and Spark and MacOS Mail (using IMAP/POP/SMTP) on Apple Mac.

 

Why is it changing?

There are a number of reasons why this decision was made;

  1. These protocols (some of which date back to the 1980's) are increasingly being used by hackers to compromise email accounts in the University.
  2. The security detection and prevention options available using modern authentication methods (e.g. multi-factor authentication and conditional access) are not available on these legacy protocols.  Continuing to allow their use increases the risk of account compromise, and potentially the theft of personally identifiable information or valuable intellectual property, with the potential financial and reputational damage which would result.
  3. Article 25 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation requires the University to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect personal data, taking into account "the state of the art" [1], and continuing to support legacy authentication methods would not be compliant with this requirement.
  4. In the second half of 2021, Microsoft will turn off this functionality permanently, so this change is inevitable.

 

What do I need to do?

  • If you use a current version of Outlook (Outlook 2016, 2019 or Outlook 365 on Mac and Windows or Outlook for iOS and Android) then you don't need to do anything.
  • If your email application is setup to use IMAP, POP or SMTP then you need to move to a supported mail client.  We recommend using Outlook, as it is available on most platforms and devices.  If you are using Linux, your best option is to use webmail (https://webmail.plymouth.ac.uk) which will redirect to Outlook Online, which gives a modern user experience without needing a client. 
  • Linux users may wish to explore alternative email applications, but should be aware that those which rely on Exchange Web Services are likely to stop working in 2021 Q3 or Q4, when all legacy authentication protocols (as defined at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/conditional-access/block-legacy-authentication) are turned off.
Modified 24/08/2020