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What Does the [Ext] Before a Subject Line in Outlook Email Really Mean?


A little while ago, our Cybersecurity team instituted a policy that would put [Ext] before the subject line of external email messages. This was more of a cautionary thing just to let you know that the email was not internal.

That does not mean you cannot or should not open it! Especially if you communicate often with partners at other institutions (St. Jude, ROH, Le Bonheur), professional associations (AMA, ADA), higher ed associations (EDUCAUSE, ACGME), or vendors (Roche, Fisher Scientific). Even our ITS newsletter has the [Ext] prefix because it is sent through MailChimp.

All the [Ext] means is a simple reminder of, “Hey, this email didn’t come from an internal UTHSC source, so use caution when opening it.”

Have a question about a suspicious email? Either forward it to abuse@uthsc.edu or contact our Cybersecurity Office at itsecurity@uthsc.edu.