New spam and virus protection: University email system gets a major update

To keep inboxes as free from unwanted e-mails as possible, the university mail system has been equipped with a new spam and virus protection software. For end users, this will bring some minor changes.

The new software was activated on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, at around 11:00 AM. During the switch, email delivery was delayed by about 15-20 minutes.

With this new software, a few things will change for end users:

  • Spam emails are no longer sent as attachments, but get tagged and sent to your inbox. SOGo users can create a filter rule to automatically reroute these emails to a spam folder (learn how to do that in this how-to). Exchange users are already set: All tagged messages will automatically be redirected to their junk mail folder. Users of institute-specific mail systems/user interfaces can contact their IT representative to learn how to set up a filter rule for their inbox.
     
  • Spam emails are no longer automatically forwarded to external email addresses: Students whose emails are automatically forwarded to an external email address will have to make some minor changes in their SOGo settings (see information below).
     
  • As usual: Unrecognized spam emails or falsely tagged mails can be reported. However, the email addresses to send these reports to have changed (see information below).

More details about these changes as well as tipps and guides can be found in the foldable area below.

If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to contact the IT-Service: it-service.uni-heidelberg.de


Some background information

The number of unwanted e-mails containing advertising, dangerous links or malware is growing almost exponentially on a yearly basis - a major challenge for the university's mail system. Every incoming and outgoing message has to be scanned automatically and, if necessary, filtered or at least tagged as spam. Not an easy task with hundreds of thousands of emails to go through every day. The current system would have soon reached its limits and required a great deal of administrative effort. Therefore, it needed to be completely renewed and has been replaced by a much more powerful and intelligent software solution that will offer long-term protection against unwanted mails for all university email accounts.

Bild: E-Mail

The old spam filter informed you about potential spam mails by tagging them and forwarding you the actual content in a mail attachment. The new filter will also add a tag, but will send you the potential spam mail directly, not as an attachment. One of the following tags will be applied to a (potential) spam mail:

  • [SPAM] – recognized as spam.
  • [SPAM?] – potentially spam.
  • [SPOOFED] - The sender's email address has most likely been faked or tampered with. This tag can also occur in combination with the SPAM tag.

If you don't want tagged messages to land in your inbox, you can create a spam folder and set up a filter rule to have the tagged mails moved to this folder. For Exchange users, such a rule has already been pre-defined, meaning that all tagged mails will be moved to the junk mail folder. SOGo users can consult this how-to to learn how to set up a spam folder. Users of institute-specific mail systems/user interfaces can contact their IT representative to learn how to set up a filter rule for their inbox.

In general, you should regularly check your spam folder to see if there are any mails that may have been falsely tagged as spam. The spam folder should also be emptied regularly since the contained messages also take up some of your mail quota.

Emails tagged as spam are no longer automatically forwarded to external email addresses. If you have set up a general forwarding rule to an external email address (i.e., at Gmail, Yahoo, etc.), make sure to check your university inbox regularly. It is also necessary to check the box "Keep a copy" in the SOGo forwarding preferences to make sure that all messages are stored properly.

This information is only relevant for students - employees are not allowed to automatically forward their work-related emails to an external email address, as stated in the university's email guidelines.

If an email ends up untagged in your inbox, even though it is clearly spam, you can forward it to spam@uni-heidelberg.de. Please note: It is important to forward the email as an attachment, to make sure it contains all of the relevant information. Please do not forward mails that have already been tagged as spam by the filter!

If a message has been falsely tagged as spam by the filter, you can forward it (also as an attachment) to ham@uni-heidelberg.de.