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Dealing with Spam

Introduction

Spam (also known as Unsolicited Bulk Email (UBE) ) is email that has been sent to you that you do not want and that you are unable to stop. Spam email is generally just a nuisance, but it can also harbour malicious email threats.

At the University of Reading we run an Anti Spam service called AutoSpam. When this is enabled it uses complex rules to classify email into Spam, Non-spam and Probable-Spam. Anything that is classified as Spam will not be delivered to your inbox, and is rejected by our systems. Anything that is classified as not-Spam is delivered to your Inbox.

When email is classified as Probable-Spam it is sent to the AutoSpam system. Once here it is held for seven days, during which time you can check it and, if you decide that it is Non-Spam, you can have it delivered to your Inbox. After seven days, email in the AutoSpam system is deleted.

Q. Why do some emails get classified as Probable-Spam when they aren't?

The AutoSpam system uses complicated pattern-matching rules. The system examines an email and compares it with known Spam looking for similarities. When it reaches a certain threshold the email is classified as Probable-Spam or Spam. These matches are not an exact science and it is possible that an email that is not Spam may get classified as Probable-Spam. This may be due a poorly configured sending email server or even something as simple as the use of certain words in the email message.

Q. Does AutoSpam count against my Quota?

No. AutoSpam email does not count against your quota.

Accessing the AutoSpam system - via the web

The easiest way to access the AutoSpam system is through the AutoSpam web page, which can be found at:

https://www.autospam.reading.ac.uk/

You then log on using your Reading University username and password. Once you have successfully logged on you should see a list of emails that have been classified as Probable-Spam. By default the Date, Sender, Size and Subject are displayed (note that the Sender is often spoofed and may not represent the real sender).

Delivering filtered mail to your Inbox

If you decide that a message is not Spam, and should be delivered to your Inbox, you should select the check box to the left of the message, make sure that the drop down box reads "Deliver Marked" and select the button marked "Go". The mail will now be delivered to your Inbox.

Alternatively if you are reading the email and decide that it should be delivered into your Inbox, you can use the Deliver button to have email sent to your Inbox.

Deleting Spam

Probable-Spam is automatically deleted after seven days but you can delete it sooner if you wish. Select the email that you wish to delete and make sure that the drop down box reads "Delete Marked" and select the button marked "Go". You will notice that they still seem to be in the mailbox. To get rid of them permanently you have to purge all the deleted messages. Click on the link marked "Purge Deleted" on the right hand side in the blue tool bar.

Accessing the AutoSpam system - via your email client

Another way of accessing your AutoSpam folder is via your email client. This is recommended if you receive a lot of email in your AutoSpam folder that has been incorrectly labelled as Spam.

To access the AutoSpam folder you will need to set up an extra account in your email client. The instructions below are for Outlook 2003, but can be used with some modification on other email clients.

  1. Click on Tools - > Email Accounts
  2. Select Add a new... and click Next
  3. Select the IMAP option.
  4. Enter the details as they are shown below, entering your details where appropriate
    AutoSpam settings
  5. Select more settings.

  6. Select the Advanced tab, and tick the box marked "This server requires an encrypted connection (SSL)" under the Incoming mail server box. If this has been done correctly then the port number will change to 993.

  7. Click Ok, Next and then Finish.

    You will now see a new mailbox called autospam.reading.ac.uk in your folder list in Outlook. You can now access any email in the Inbox of this account.

Q. Can I rename the account?

Yes you can. Right click on the account autospam.reading.ac.uk and select properties. Then select Advanced and alter the value in the box marked Name.

AutoSpam - Advanced Options

You can configure the sensitivity of the AutoSpam system that will alter how many emails are classed as Spam. You can also create Whitelists and Blacklists of emails addresses or domains that should never/always be considered Spam. For more information about this, please see: AutoSpam - Advanced Options.

Junk Mail in Outlook

If you use Outlook you may notice that there is a folder called Junk Mail and that mail may be filtered into it. This is a separate system that is part of Outlook, and we recommend that it be turned off. To do this:

  1. In Outlook, click on Tools->Options
  2. In the dialogue box, select Junk Email
  3. Select No Automatic Filtering and click Ok.

Email will no longer be filtered into the Junk Mail folder.

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Last Edited: 19 April 2016 | First Published: 4 November 2014

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