Email Defense System (EDS)

In June, EDS will be upgraded from Symantec Messaging Gateway to Proofpoint. Be aware that safe/blocked senders in the current EDS will not be moved to Proofpoint. Users can view their current safe/blocked sender list by logging into EDS with their NetID and password. Instructions for re-establishing safe and blocked senders in Proofpoint will be available after the upgrade. Learn more about the new system.

At a Glance

The Email Defense System (EDS), powered by Proofpoint, is Northwestern IT's system for scanning and filtering junk email, phishing attempts, viruses, and malicious high-risk attachments sent to the University community. EDS scans all incoming mail, deletes identifiable viruses and junk email, and quarantines other junk email before delivering messages to the University's central email server.

Launch the E-mail Defense System

A Safer, More Manageable Inbox

Contaminated email attachments are the most common source of computer infections. With EDS filtering out most of these as well as junk email, Northwestern email recipients experience:

  • Increased computer security
  • Decreased junk email, allowing for easier email management


It is important to note that EDS is an automated process and does not monitor or read private email messages.

URL Protection

The Email Defense System provides improved scanning for attachments and URLs that may contain malware or phishing. As part of this process, Proofpoint rewrites hyperlinks in emails so websites can be checked for malicious activity before users access them. Please note that URL rewriting is an automated process. Proofpoint does not monitor or read email messages.

If users hover over a rewritten link, they will see added to the beginning of the original link followed by a string of letters and numbers. If a URL containing phishing or malware is clicked, users will see a message that the web page was malicious and blocked. Legitimate sites should load with no delay.


BEFORE URL rewriting--HTML email with an embedded link 

Email with embedded link

AFTER URL rewriting--HTML email with an embedded link

Email with embedded link

BEFORE URL rewriting--Plain text email with a link

Image of an email with a link to Microsoft's website

AFTER URL rewriting--Plain text email with a link

Email with Proofpoint email link

Additional Information

Support Contacts

Support Contact:

IT Support Center
Central service desk for students, faculty, and staff.
847-491-4357 (1-HELP)
Submit a Support Request