Unsolicited Email FAQ
- What is SPAM?
- What is Phishing?
- Why do I receive SPAM in my Regent Inbox?
- What is Regent doing to prevent SPAM?
- What can I do to further prevent SPAM from reaching my Inbox?
- What should I do if I receive a SPAM message?
- What if I have other questions about SPAM?
Simply put, SPAM is unsolicited electronic mail. SPAM is similar to television commercials or telemarketing calls. For the most part, users should easily recognize SPAM messages because they often share similar characteristics. Usually, the recipient does not know the sender. Spammers often change the subject line to make it appear as though the contents include a reply message, a forwarded message, or other harmless content. SPAM messages contain advertisements for an assorment of products. These may include, but are not limited to prescription medication, jewelery, clothing, and pornography.
Phishing, short for password harvest fishing, is an unsolicited attempt to gain an unsuspecting victim's personal information. Most of these messages attempt to disguise themselves under a legitimate pretense; that your account password must be changed, your information may have been disclosed, or your account credentials must be updated. These messages provide URL links to websites that cleverly imitate the claimed soucre of the message. For instance, the message may say that your eBay account needs to be updated and when you click on the link, the site looks just like a true eBay site. However, this site is always a phony and will forward any information you type into the page to a criminal. Common Phishing attempts include, but are not limited to bank accounts and online brokerage accounts.
SPAM distributors (Spammers) receive monetary compensation for their works. As a result, Spammers do whatever it takes to penetrate existing protective measures and deliver their messages. To accomplish this, Spammers become familiar with current SPAM-blocking technology and methods for eluding it. Though a significant percentage of SPAM is blocked by current filtering technology, some messages are able to avoid detection and successfully reach a user's inbox. As mentioned before, Phishing is a blatant attempt to steal confidential information for financial gain. Persons who initiate Phishing messages are criminals. They are able to use your information themselves, or sell the information through a black market to another criminal. Either way, these criminals seek financial gain from their victims.
At present, we provide advanced perimeter message filtering. This means that we filter all inbound messages before the server distributes them to our users' inboxes. Our solution prevents a high percentage of undesirable messages (SPAM/ Phishing) from reaching our users. At Regent, more than 10,000 messages are blocked every day, and the filter is continually updated to keep abreast of the latest spammer techniques. Unfortunately, no SPAM/Phishing prevention system is capable of blocking all such messages, so Regent users may receive limited SPAM or Phishing messages in their inbox.
As these messages are not only a problem at Regent University, most electronic mail client applications (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.) provide a means to filter messages as they arrive. Users can configure their mail client to automatically delete SPAM or Phishing messages. When this is used in conjunction with Regent's perimeter filtering, users may be able to further reduce the amount of SPAM/Phishing messages in their inbox. Refer to your Email client documentation for further assistance with configuring these settings.
To maintain confidentiality, the IT department recommends that our users NEVER reply to unsolicited email messages. Often, this only validates to the originator that their messages are being delivered correctly, and encourages future messages. Above all, NEVER reply to a message in which the originator is asking for personal information (Phishing). The IT department strongly recommends that our users delete unsolicited email messages without opening them, as they may contain viruses, worms, or other malicious or offensive content.
Please direct any further questions or concerns regarding SPAM or Phishing messages to the IT department at firstname.lastname@example.org.