Apr 14 2020

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Indiana University Indiana University Indiana University

Spam and email virus prevention at IU

The following describes some actions UITS takes to help protect users of Indiana University email systems from spam and virus-infected email.

Attachment blocking

To protect against viruses, worms, and other malicious programs spread by email, UITS blocks certain attachments, filtering them from the IU email system.

Spam quarantine

UITS offers a spam quarantine service that analyzes all mail delivered to IU Exchange accounts.

Bandwidth limits

IU limits each host to sending several hundred messages per minute.

As the high volume of spam on the internet continues to increase, servers belonging to some popular email hosts send IU thousands of messages per minute, and the vast majority of those messages are from domains that don’t exist. These hosts quickly and repeatedly exceed their bandwidth thresholds with illegitimate mail, preventing their customers from sending legitimate mail to IU users.

Internal university email flows separately from external email, which allows email to flow reliably between IU students, faculty, and staff. For this reason, it is expected that all official university email is sent via the IU system, and not through external, non-IU hosts. For more, see About IU’s policy on official communications from the university to students.

Other steps

UITS is continuing to explore other systems that can block spam and email harvesting without disrupting legitimate use of IU systems. The following are some current ways that IU helps reduce the amount of spam you receive:

  • On Exchange, UITS limits the number of visible addresses (that is, those on the “To:” and “Cc:” lines) and the number of individual recipients for each email message.
  • All email coming into IU is scanned multiple times by different systems for spam, viruses, and malware, to reduce the amount of malicious mail delivered to users.
  • To search the online IU Directory, the searcher must enter criteria that will return 75 or fewer matched persons.

IU computer users commonly wonder why an email address on a web page is spam-inducing, while an email address in the online IU Directory is not. This is because it is relatively simple to create a program that browses static web pages to harvest email addresses. To harvest addresses from form-based address books, such as the IU Directory, the programmer would have to create something smart enough to interact with different search engines on each address book.

Email hosts

Email hosts

Email hosts

The following describes some actions UITS takes to help protect users of Indiana University email systems from spam and virus-infected email.
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