Information Technology Services

SPAM Management

Have you experienced an increase in SPAM messages in your mailbox?  Would you like to get rid of it?  Manage it?  Avoid it?   It is unlikely that your mailbox will be spam-free forever, but with some tips you can dramatically reduce the amount of SPAM that arrives in your mailbox. 

In order to learn how to deal with spam we should first understand what it is.

SPAM mail is the practice of sending massive amounts of email promotions or advertisements (and scams) to people that have not asked for it. Many times, SPAM email lists are created by "harvesting" email addresses from discussion boards and groups, chat rooms, IRC, Usenet and web pages.  Email addresses can also be obtained by purchasing email lists from third party companies or retailers.

How can you protect your mailboxes from being inundated with SPAM?

Use the ITS SpamBlocker web site filter:

  • Clark has an opt-in SPAM filter.  For information and instructions visit http://www.clarku.edu/offices/its/spam/.
  • Secondary mailboxes, like departmental or student organization mailboxes, can have spam filtering applied by associating the secondary mailbox with an individual’s Clark email account’s spam filter.  The person to whom the filtering is associated will see all messages received and filtered by both mailboxes when they log into the ITS SpamBlocker web site.
  • Be sure to TRAIN the filter.  This requires that you periodically log into the SpamBlocker web site and mark spam items you received as spam and then “Confirm…” the status.  The more people use and train the filter, the better the learning process will be.
  • Never add @clarku.edu to your White List. Spammers send messages that appear to be from your own domain (@clarku.edu) and if you have @clarku.edu in your white list, you'll get the spam.

Use Another Email Address:

  • Don’t use your Clark email address for personal business.  If you are ordering on-line or filling out forms that request or require an email address, use another address.  There are many places you can get a free email address; Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail and the like.  By obtaining another email address you can use this address when ordering on-line.  This will keep commercial emails centralized and away from your business email (and even your home email).

Things to Avoid:

  • ITS, webmaster, or Help Desk will NEVER ask you to "confirm" your PASSWORD. If you receive any email asking you to confirm your password or account information (especially financial accounts) DO NOT RESPOND. If you think it may be legitimate, call the institution directly to confirm that they have sent this message.
  • Don’t click on links in spam messages; even if it looks like it might unsubscribe you, don’t click it!  Once you click on a link, they know they have a live person on the other end and you’ll receive even more junk mail.
  • Don’t reply to spam messages.  Replying lets the spammers know they have a live person at the other end and you’ll get more junk emails.
  • Don’t open attachments.  You don’t know what that attachment will do.  It may send information back to the spammers, it might install something malicious or damaging onto your computer.
  • If an email arrives from someone you know, but looks suspicious, contact that person and ask if they sent you the email.  Spammers often use a technique known as spoofing where the sender information shown in emails (“From” field) appears to come from a different sender, maybe someone you know or even you.

As mentioned earlier, you won’t be spam free, but by following these tips you should see a significant reduction in the amount of spam in your mailbox.  You may notice that periodically you will get a burst of spam messages.  This usually happens when spammers develop a type of message that can bypass spam filters.  By logging into your spam filter regularly and training it, you will help the University adapt and block these messages more efficiently.  

As always it is also important that you keep your computer and your accounts safe and secure.  To view the article on Cyber Security click here.

If you have any questions concerning these recommendations, please contact the Help Desk directly at 508-793-7745 or helpdesk@clarku.edu

 


Sharon Griffin Edson
April 2008