Spam and Virus Prevention

Approximately 80% of the emails received by our network are a form of spam but our spam and virus filters block their delivery to your mailbox.

Spam is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited and often unwanted emails indiscriminately to a large number of users. Most spam contains advertisements for services or products; however, very few reputable marketers use unsolicited commercial email to advertise.

A specific type and potentially dangerous form of spam is phishing. With a phishing scam, users receive messages that appear to come from legitimate organizations and are designed to trick the recipient into divulging their credentials and other private information.

How am I protected?

University email is scanned for spam and virus-infected mail using state-of-the-art technology. These products perform many layers of scanning, shown in the graphic below, before an email is delivered to your inbox. The graph to the right shows an example of how much spam and viruses are blocked on a daily basis at UConn. You can also view current graphs of the number of SPAM emails blocked per day.

Phishing emails are one of the types of messages filtered out by our services. If you receive a phishing message, report it to UITS Help Center. Once UITS receives a report, we begin the investigation and take steps to prevent future delivery of the message.

 

12-layers of protection image
– Image from Barracuda Spam Firewall Systems Engineer Training

 

Why am I getting spam emails in my inbox?

University spam filters do their best to remove all types of spam, but spam is an ever changing dynamic nuisance. If University spam filters fail to identify a piece of spam and deliver it to your mailbox, you have two choices. You can configure your mail client with rules to act on those emails when they are delivered or you can report the problem to the UITS Help Center so we can attempt to increase filtering accuracy.

Why was a legitimate email blocked and what can I do?

If your email was blocked by University spam filters, the filters may have given the message or its content such a high score it was blocked from delivery. Multiple factors can cause a message to get a high score and be marked as spam. Some common examples include:

  • Content in an email contains a possible threat, such as a hyperlink to a site known for sending spam
  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record look-up fails
  • An HTML email has problems with its code

The score is cumulative and so if multiple problems are present, even if individually a problem would not result in a high score, an email can get tagged as spam.  Making sure your emails are as Request for Comments (RFC) compliant, which are the rules or best practices that are followed by the spam filter, will help avoid legitimate emails getting tagged.

If you feel that you are not receiving legitimate emails, contact the UITS Help Center.

To initiate the process, the Help Center will ask you check all folders in your mailbox to confirm that the email was not delivered. If the email was not delivered, they will then ask you to give them, at a minimum, the To, From, Subject, and Date of the message. If you have the email header, which gives the Help Center the most information, you should share that. The header contains details about the message, including the sender’s information, the recipient’s information, and the servers that handled the message as it traveled from the sender to the recipient.

Below is an example of a full email header.

Return-Path: <example_from@dc.edu>
X-SpamCatcher-Score: 1 [X]
Received: from [136.167.40.119] (HELO dc.edu)
by fe3.dc.edu (CommuniGate Pro SMTP 4.1.8)
with ESMTP-TLS id 61258719 for example_to@mail.dc.edu; Mon, 23 Aug 2004 11:40:10 -0400
Message-ID: <4129F3CA.2020509@dc.edu>
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2014 11:40:36 -0400
From: Taylor Evans <example_from@dc.edu>
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.0.1) Gecko/20020823 Netscape/7.0
X-Accept-Language: en-us, en
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: Jon Smith <example_to@mail.dc.edu>
Subject: Business Development Meeting
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

 

If you have any questions or need further assistance regarding spam and virus protection. Please contact the UITS Help Center at 860.486.4357 or email helpcenter@uconn.edu. For any other support related questions or information, visit the support page.

 

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