Email at UW Is Scanned For Viruses

Stopping Viruses Before They Reach You

Much of the email coming and going from the UW is scanned by UW Information Technology for viruses with the aim of stopping common viruses from getting onto UW computers. However, email scanning only can find known viruses. New viruses are being created all the time that may not be detected by the scanners. Also, viruses can get into your computer by other routes, such as through shared software or through networks you are connected to. Therefore, the email scanning service is only one of the UW's antivirus defenses.

You need to do your part by taking steps to protect your computer from viruses.

The Sophos anti-virus software is available on the Sophos Anti-Virus page to all current faculty, staff, and students at no charge.

Once you have installed your virus protection software, run it regularly to check your files and update the software and the virus description files frequently. You can follow the instructions that come with it to configure the software to automatically do the scanning and updating on a schedule of your choosing.

What UW Email Gets Scanned

Messages scanned are those to or via "@u.washington.edu" or "@washington.edu," addresses. Departmental email which isn't forwarded via one of those domains is not scanned by UW Information Technology. Scanning inbound email (email from off campus) for viruses began in Fall of 2001.

Email scanning also includes email sent from within the UW to outside destinations through the UW Information Technology managed SMTP email servers. Scanning outbound email helps to identify people in the UW community who are using infected computers so they can be notified.

What to Do If You Get a Warning

If a virus is detected, a warning message is sent to the sender and the message is "scrubbed," which means the virus is made inoperative or is deleted from the message altogether. If you receive a warning that an infected message came from your computer, you should immediately take steps to "clean out" the virus from your computer:

  • Talk to your local computer support person first.
  • Learn more about viruses.
  • Obtain virus scanning software for your computer, such as McAffee VirusScan. Scan your computer regularly and keep up with the software and data file updates.

Last modified: July 16, 2013