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Spam Email Filtering

Introduction

Spam (unsolicited email) has become a very large problem on the Internet. It is thought that spam accounts for 30-40% of email traffic. A lot of spam is offensive and all of it wastes time and resources.

IT Services run a spam checking system which attempts to determine if a message is spam or not. The system is not perfect, it will miss some spam messages and occasionally mark a message that you would like to receive as being spam.

If you have a mail folder on the main University mail server called AutoSpam then mail that is marked as being spam will not appear in your inbox but will be delivered into the AutoSpam folder instead. The suspected spam messages will also have the text "{Spam?}" at the beginning of the subject line (the "Re:" line).

Since the evening of 11 May 2004, the automatic spam filtering has been turned on for all members of staff. If you prefer not to use this system, you can switch off the system by deleting the AutoSpam folder.

Messages will be kept in the AutoSpam folder for 7 days.

It is important to note that the system is not perfect! It is possible that a genuine message will be thought to be spam and put in the AutoSpam folder instead of your inbox. Therefore, we recommend that you check the AutoSpam folder weekly for such messages. You can then move them back into your inbox.

Unfortunately, not all spam will be marked as such by the system. However, there are frequent updates to the program which improve detection rates as new types of spam are identified.

Checking the AutoSpam Folder

IT Services recommend checking your AutoSpam folder at least weekly for any messages that may have been incorrectly filtered.

Webmail

You can check the contents of the AutoSpam folder with the Webmail service www.mail.rdg.ac.uk:

  1. Go to www.mail.rdg.ac.uk
  2. Log in normally
  3. Click on [Mailboxes]
  4. Click on AutoSpam

Outlook Express

To view the AutoSpam folder in Outlook Express then you will need to add the folder to your folder list by doing the following:

  1. Right click on the account name (normally imaphost or your username) in the folder list
  2. Click Reset list

You can then select the AutoSpam folder as you would any other mail folder.

Outlook

If you use Outlook to connect the main University IMAP server (imaphost.rdg.ac.uk) then you can access the AutoSpam folder directly with Outlook.

You will need to set Outlook to display all folders:

  1. Right click on the account name (normally imaphost or your username) in the folder list
  2. Click IMAP Folders...
  3. Check that When displaying hierarchy in Outlook, show only subsribed folders is not ticked
  4. Click on [OK]

The AutoSpam folder will then be displayed alongside your other IMAP folders.

Exchange Users

If you are using Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook to read your email then you should log in to the Webmail service www.mail.rdg.ac.uk to check your AutoSpam folder. Switching Off Automatic Filtering of Suspected Spam

If you do not wish your spam and junk email to be automatically filtered then it is possible to stop this by deleting the AutoSpam folder. IT Services do not recommend this.

To delete the folder in webmail:

  1. Go to www.mail.rdg.ac.uk
  2. Log in normally
  3. Click on [Mailboxes]
  4. Click the tick box to the left of AutoSpam
  5. Click [Delete Marked]

To delete the folder in Outlook Express or Outlook:

  1. View the folder
  2. Right click on the folder and select delete
  3. Click [No] to keep the folder, [Yes] to permanently delete it

Whitelists and Blacklists

If you receive genuine email that is filtered into the AutoSpam folder, it is possible to add these email addresses to your Whitelist in your mail options as follows:

Go to the Mail Options web page (www.mailopts.rdg.ac.uk)

  1. Log in normally
  2. In the AutoSpam customisation section tick the box Enable AutoSpam customisation
  3. Click in to the whitelist box
  4. Type in the email address(es) each on a separate line
  5. Click [Save Changes]

Similarly, if you receive messages from particular addresses that you would like to always be treated as spam then you can add the addresses to your Blacklist. Spam normally comes from fictitious email addresses which are changed regularly so the Blacklist is not that effective at stopping spam.

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Last Edited: 19 April 2016 | First Published: 3 October 2007

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