Spam and Junk Emails
What is Spam?
Spam is any email that is produced in vast quantities and sent out to multitudes of accounts of users who did not request it.
What should I do if I receive spam?
Simply put; you should do nothing. When you receive an email that you suspect is spam, delete it. If you reply to the originator of the spam it can only result in you receiving more spam. They (the spammers) see any response as verification that an account is active.
How did they get my account?
There are a number of ways that spammers (those people that send out spam) can get your email address:
- Your email address can be easily found on the internet. There are companies that store such information and sell it on to corporations to make a quick buck.
- If your email account is stored on a web page as a link, online spammers can search websites for such links and then store them in a database and email you.
- Some computer viruses are major contributors to the level of spam
on the internet. There are many viruses out there which can access an
infected computer's address book and use that to email out to all users
in the address book.
In short there are many ways that spammers can get a hold of your address. Unfortunately there is little that can be done about this.
How do I know if an email is spam?
Spam emails tend to have a content that is of no concern to a user or that a user did not request to receive. Most spam emails will request your assistance in some matter often involving money. They can also take the form of a petition. If there is an email out there that says "Add your name to the bottom of this list" then it is likely to be spam.
Some spam email can take the form of a warning that you have a virus, telling you to delete a file and email everybody in your address book. If you receive an email warning you of a virus on your computer, do not believe it - trust your anti-virus software to eliminate all viruses as they come into your computer. More often than not the file they are telling you to delete is a file which is legitimate and used frequently by your operating system.
A more frequently occurring version of spam is the advertising of products (some of which are of a private and of a sexual nature, such as Viagra). Such mass emailing is seen by some companies to be a good way of advertising their products or services but is, to most people, only a nuisance.
What does ITD do to stop me getting Spam?
We use the services of online companies and an internal spam filter to block spam from entering our mail servers. Because spam emails are constantly changing it is impossible for any anti-spam program to eliminate 100% of spam emails and at 93% UNE is achieving above industry best practice in identifying and blocking spam.
Email identified by the spam filter as "possibly" spam will be tagged as spam, with the word [SPAM] added to the subject line and passed on to your inbox.
To identify possible spam the new services use several techniques including:
- <!--[if !supportLists]-->Email coming from an address identified as a source of spam will be blocked
- Email without a valid 'from' address will be blocked
- <!--[if !supportLists]-->Content will be evaluated and emails with content identified as spam will be blocked
Why are some friends and colleagues off campus unable to email me?
The online companies that we use block to block spam from coming into our server "blacklist" the IP address of known spam mail servers. If your friend/colleague emailed you and got a 'bounce message" talking about "open relays", it is telling them that the server that they (the sender) are using has been rejected. They should contact their IT support to get themselves off the blacklist.
From time to time, you may receive an email claiming that you are the winner of some amount of money. These emails ask you to provide personal details, and the money will then be forthcoming. Any of these emails, regardless of what they offer, are a hoax. Providing any information to the sender will make you vulnerable to people accessing your savings or other resources and stealing them.
Information is provided by the Australian Government Spamwatch website. There is some general advice that people should take into consideration when receiving emails.