Unsolicited emails such as phishing attacks and unwanted spam are an increasing problem both at the University and throughout the world. Phishing emails can be defined as targeted and deceptive emails sent to you in order to gain information, access, or money. Spam are unsolicited emails that attempt to sell you a product or service. Both types of email abuse affect the University by cluttering inboxes, wasting valuable time, threatening security, and consuming resources.
Guidelines for dealing with email spam
- It is best not to reply to these messages for any reason. This simply validates your email address and will result in even more messages.
- Copy [don’t forward] spam messages to UIS Email Abuse [or firstname.lastname@example.org]. We will block any incoming messages with recurring detectable and traceable origins.
- Delete the suspicious email from your mailbox. Do not click on any hyperlinks or open any attachments.
To copy email to the UIS Email Abuse mailbox
The offending email message must be copied and not forwarded to preserve internet headers. These headers allow us to trace the route.
- In Outlook right click on the offending email.
- Click copy.
- Open a new mail message.
- Type “UIS Email Abuse” or “email@example.com” in the To field.
- Type “Email Abuse” in the Subject field.
- Click in the message area of the new message.
- Right click and select paste.
- Click send.
- Use the Delete key.
- Use the Junk and Adult Content filters in Outlook [available under Tools, Organize].
The perpetrators of email abuse use several methods which make it very difficult for network and email administrators to block their messages. They typically will send their messages from a “borrowed” email address, in effect sending the message as someone else. They will then change that address rapidly to prevent their messages from being blocked. Knowledgeable offenders can spoof an email address to make it appear to have originated from a legitimate web site, google.com or hotmail.com, even uis.edu. The offenders will typically relay their messages through three or four email servers to make tracing messages back to the source difficult. Even when a message can be traced, its origin is frequently from a site outside the United States.
The University combats email abuse by using an automated filtering tool which catches over 70% of all email messages as unwanted and blocks them before they ever reach your inbox. Unfortunately, it is impossible to block all unsolicited email which is why it is important to be vigilant about checking for legitimacy and reporting suspicious emails to the email abuse inbox. Reporting emails allows the automated tool to evaluate the message and update its filter signatures to better protect campus.