Junk Email (Spam) Filtering of UW Email
- I can't find my junk-mail folder!
A desktop email program like Outlook, Thunderbird, or Mac Mail might not show the junk-mail folder for a number of reasons:
- The list of available folders may need to be "refreshed." That is, the email program has an out-of-date list of what folders are available. Usually, email programs have a "reset" or "refresh" command.
- Many email programs have the ability to hide or show folders so that the list of folders you see is not the complete list of folders available on the email server.
- Your email program may be improperly configured so that it is looking in the wrong location for the folders. Detailed instructions for obtaining and configuring email programs for use with the UW central email system can be found on the Getting and Setting Up Email Programs page.
- What difference does the sequence of filtering make?
The sequence of filtering (spam filtering before or after other filtering) can make a difference when messages from a particular source are frequently being filtered into your junk-mail folder. By having spam filtering done after your other Email Delivery Manager filters and then creating a filter to direct email from that source into its own folder, you can save it before it reaches the spam filter.
- Is the UW blocking some spam?
Yes. Email from certain sources that exclusively send large amounts of spam are blocked and discarded before they enter the UW email system.
- Is scanning for viruses also being done?
Yes, email messages are also scanned for viruses both as they come in to the UW and as they go out to the world. You can find out more on the UW Fights Viruses Web page. Email messages containing viruses are discarded.
- Does the spam scanning mean my email will be delayed?
Scanning will typically delay messages by only a second or two.
- What can I do if my own messages get high spam scores?
Look at your email message to see if it has characteristics that, to PureMessage, are similar to spam and edit your message accordingly. You can also forward a copy of the message to email@example.com for assistance.
- Can my own email filtering tools use the spam score?
Maybe. The score is in the header of each message and many email clients and antispam filters can read information in the header. Check the documentation or contact the vendor support for your software.
- Does this mean the UW is reading my email?
The scanning is done by a program checking for the presence of specific text strings and other characteristics of messages many people consider to be spam. UW Technology staff themselves do not inspect, monitor, change, or delete email.
- What should I do if I find spam that is assigned too low a score?
Identifying spam is an inexact science. The PureMessage criteria are constantly evolving on the basis of their experience with a very large number of emails, so it represents a generalized understanding of what spam is and how to identify it. UW Information Technology can't directly make adjustments to the scoring system, but does work with the vendor to identify needed changes. If you come upon a case that seems to be far out of line with expectations, you could forward an example (including the full email header) to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you use Web Alpine, use the Report Spam tool.
Adjusting the Risk Tolerance settings of your own filter is the best way to deal with low scoring spam, unless that adjustment means more good messages go to your junk-mail folder. There is no perfect setting.
UW Information Technology will continue to evaluate tools and methods for fighting spam. Send your suggestions to email@example.com