INFORMATION SECURITY - STOPPING SPAM E-MAIL



SPAM is unwanted, unrequested email similar to junk mail you get in your regular mail. Very often you won't even see your own email address on the To: line as they send it to one email address and hide thousands of other email addresses behind it. You may think they didn't mean to send it to you, but they did!

What is our policy?
The University does not sell its electronic directory to anyone - nor do we intentionally give out email address lists. ITS has taken many steps to protect the online directory from spammers. Spammers get email addresses in a number of ways. The most common way occurs when you sign up for, order from, or enter a contest on the Internet.

ITS-NTS has implemented an Internet mail filter that does a very good job of blocking most spam. Users now get an optional daily digest that lists all the spam that has been blocked by the filter. Users can go to a web console from that digest to further control what email can or cannot get into their mailbox. Users can selectively release blocked email that should not have been blocked.

How did they find me?
Again, NTS does not intentionally allow external access to the online directory and makes every attempt possible to protect institutional information while providing appropriate levels of access.

However, if you have had something printed that has your email address on it or have your email address on a publicly accessible web page, there is a chance that some spam group has grabbed your email address. Also, if you email someone you don't know very well, there is a chance that they have grabbed your email address and sold it.

Filling out online contests or any other form on the Internet possibly exposes you to receiving information or having your name sold. Be sure to read these carefully before filling out. Many have an "opt out" box you can mark or unmark which will allow or prevent you from receiving additional information from that company. Even having your email address included in the zillion forwarded joke emails your friends are sending to 75 of their closest friends means your address gets "out and about" and could be grabbed by anyone.

What can I do?
Avoiding unsolicited e-mail is difficult.
When you receive spam, Delete it. Do not respond directly to spam. In most cases you actually can't reply to the return address because it is likely a fake return email address (or phone number).
Be courteous and think twice before forwarding what could be unwanted email to others.
Be sure any mailing lists you're on do not allow non-subscribers to view list member information. Check with the list manager if you're not sure.
Set up an alternate email account with a free email service, such as Hotmail or Yahoo, and use that address when transacting personal business. This will limit the amount of email coming into your University email account and will decrease the chances of your University email address being distributed to spammers.
Unless you have read and agree to their privacy policy, do not give your email address to any Web sites. The same should apply to any company that wants your address. Unless you know exactly who is going to have access, and under what conditions he or she will have access, don't give them the chance to sell your information.
The Direct Marketing Association's E-mail Preference Service, http://www.e-mps.org/en/ lets you register e-mail addresses that you would like to keep out of mailing lists. The DMA, which is the direct marketing industry's leading trade group, says all of its 4,500 members will be required to take registered addresses off of their mailing lists, while non-members can also use the service.

Filtering
The University offers Spam management software through MailMarshal. If you are logged on to a campus PC, you can access your spam console here.

At home, you can use an email program that allows filtering of email messages. Many ISP mail systems now include free spam filtering, such as Yahoo Mail. Of course, filters do not have the capability to determine if email is spam or not, so you should be aware that when you use them they may filter non-spam mail in error. To see how filters are set up, go to your email "Help" menu and look around for filtering information. If you can't find it, go to the web site of your email program and look around for perhaps an updated program version which allows filtering and assistance on setting this up.

Who Really Sent Me This?
Just because you get an email from lassie@makemoneyfast.com doesn't mean that Lassie at makemoneyfast.com sent you the spam. It is common – in fact almost "the rule" - that Spam is sent using fictitious or false return addresses. Actually, even if mail appears to be from a friend it may actually have been sent by a spammer. If you want to track down the senders, familiarize yourself with reading headers to find the real culprits. Any complaints sent about spam which do not include header info with the complaint have little chance of being resolved.

For info on reading headers, refer to:
http://www.stopspam.org/email/headers.html

Other Helpful Links

CAUCE
The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email or go to a Search Engine and look up more information on stopping SPAM.
SpamCop
A free service that is used to report spam.
Hoax Busters
An up-to-date list of Internet hoaxes and scams.
US Postal Service: Chain Letters
The USPS takes a quick legal look at chain letters.

Why the name SPAM?
One report says that the term is from a famous Monty Python sketch. Spam is a trademarked Hormel meat product. No one really knows for sure.

For more help or info on Spam please contact postmaster (a) lake.ollusa.edu (notice this trick to foil “bots” mining of web site email addresses. You know as a user that you have to type the @ sign with no spaces if you really want to send email to postmaster).
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