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Fighting SPAM

What is SPAM?

Unsolicited bulk email, commonly called "spam," is a problem for every electronic mail system on the Internet today. Cabrini is no exception. This form of net abuse is known to virtually everyone who has ever had an email account. It is commonly estimated that spam on the internet is doubling every three or four months.

What ITR Does to Block SPAM

ITR utilizes a number of server-based SPAM defenses to block and filter the majority of SPAM which is sent to Cabrini Mailboxes. These defenses include blocking lists, which are lists of computers and servers that are either known spam sources or known to be vulnerable to spam operations. These lists are generally updated frequently each day. Spam that is not blocked by the blocking lists will hit our second line of defense, the SPAM filter system. The SPAM filter evaluates each email item individually from a long list of possible spam indicators in both the email headers and the contents. The more indicators match, the higher the probability that the item is in fact SPAM and will be sent to your Junk Email folder.

What You Can Do About SPAM

Keep your email address off the spam radar

  • Don't post your address on a publicly searchable web page if you can avoid it. (It's good practice for departments and organizations to use functional rather than personal addresses.)
  • Only give out your email address to reputable organizations with good privacy policies (yes, you should read the privacy policies)
  • For all other sites, if you must give out an email address, use one you don't care about (a free one from a service like hotmail for example).
  • Don't ever reply to spam or use the "option" to unsubscribe -- that just tells the spammer they have found a real person willing to read what they are sending.

Protect your PC from viruses and malware

Spammers want to infect your PC so they can get all of the email addresses in your address book, and so they can use your PC as a "zombie" to send out more spam. By following good security practices, you are protecting your friends and your community as well as yourself.

Report untagged spam

We encourage our users to send any missed SPAM messages to our help queue; this helps us improve the filtering rules. Send the offending email with full mail headers to itrhelp@cabrini.edu.

Block automatic display of images

Unwanted, disturbing images are a particularly upsetting aspect of spam. Automatically loading "images" can also trigger malicious software. For web-based email clients such as CabriniOne and webmail, your main defense is to only open email from recognized sources. If, however, you need to open emails from people you don't know, then you need the additional capabilities that desktop email programs offer. Many email programs, such as Outlook, offer the ability to turn off automatic image display and/or automatic loading of remote images.

SPAM FAQ

The email I sent to my colleague at hotmail (Comcast, yahoo, AOL, ...) was rejected as spam!

Occasionally outside companies -- sometimes even some of the major ones who should know better -- get too aggressive in their spam blocking lists and reject mail from perfectly fine servers such as ours. If this happens to you, ask your colleague to notify their service of the problem and take our server off their blacklist.

Why is there tagged spam in my inbox?

Tagged spam (subject starting with [SPAM:XXXXXXX] should always go straight to the Junk Email folder. We've seen some cases in Outlook where this is not happening automatically. To solve this problem, please follow our instructions for creating a rule. This is especially important for people who use a hand-held device (such as a Blackberry or a Treo) to receive email directly. No one wants to be notified of each incoming piece of spam.

A real piece of email was sent to Junk Email!

  • Case 1: The server-side filter goofed. In this case, you'll see the tell-tale [SPAM:XXXXXXX] tag in the message subject. While the rate of "false positives" is very, very low at the 70% setting, every once in a great while we do see a non-spam item falsely tagged and filtered into the Junk Email folder. For this reason we strongly recommend you glance at this folder at least once every 28 days so that you can catch and rescue any such error. Please also send the incorrectly tagged email (with full mail headers) to itrhelp@cabrini.edu, so we can try to prevent the problem in the future.
  • Case 2: Your local filter is at work. If the wrongly filtered item is not tagged (that is, the subject does not start with [SPAM:XXXXXXX], then the server-side filtering is not the cause. Rather, this is an indication that some additional spam filtering is happening within your email program, even if you didn't realize it. Recommendation: turn your local filtering off, or spend the necessary time tuning it and checking the results.