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Spam and Viruses

Typically junk e-mail or unsolicited commercial e-mail is called "spam".

An e-mail virus is a piece of computer code attached to an e-mail message which attempts to infect, or embed its code into other files. An e-mail worm is a piece of computer code attached to an e-mail message which makes copies of itself over and over onto local computer drives, over the network, e-mail, or the Internet; in other words, e-mail worms simply exist to reproduce and infect others with a copy of itself.

 

Why We Receive Spam

E-mail spam is an ever-increasing problem for all companies and universities alike. Current industry estimates put e-mail spam as conservatively as 45%, and as high as 90%, of all e-mail received by individual and company e-mail accounts. Some believe the use of e-mail as a mass-marketing tool has become an epidemic of sorts.

Worse yet, it seems spam is a lucrative business for those sending the spam (called spammers). Combined with enticing language and unbelievable deals, attempts are also made to trick people into giving sensitive information out to spammers that use the information illegally for their own personal gain.

 

Combating Spam

Unfortunately, those in the business of sending spam are constantly developing ways of deceiving poeple and electronic spam filters. There are a few general things you can try to do to minimize the risk receiving excess amounts of spam:

  • Don't be generous with giving out your e-mail address. Only submit your private e-mail address to reputable companies, and do not give out your private e-mail address out to surveys and random websites.
  • Do not follow links in e-mail spam messages themselves. Often, following links and visiting a spammer's website is the spammer's way of validating your e-mail address.
  • The US Federal Trade Commission has some enforcement responsibility under the US CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Visit the FTC SPAM website for more information.

 

Combating Viruses and Worms

The best practice is to never open a "suspicious" looking e-mail from anybody. If you are unsure if an e-mail message is legitimate, contact the sender through some other avenue, and verify they sent the message. Otherwise, its best to err on the side of safety and delete the suspicious e-mail message without opening the message.

Also, always have a current anti-virus application installed and keep the application's virus definition list updated daily. OSU faculty, staff, and students are entitled to a free, site-licensed copy of anti-virus software through the OSU Site Licensed Software website.

 

FCOB Spam Firewall

ITS has integrated redundant Barracuda SPAM firewalls into our e-mail infrastructure. For more information:

 

Quarantine Inbox

Access : Follow the link in your FCOB Spam Firewall account welcome e-mail message, in the SPAM Quarantine Summary Report, or visit http://fisher.osu.edu/spam to login using your domain credentials (lastname.# and password)

Retention Period: E-mail is held for 30 days before it is permanently deleted.

Whitelist/Blackist: You can whitelist domains as well as individual email addresses(for user@example.com, you would enter example.com as the domain name). Use caution in doing so as this can open your mailbox to increased SPAM. We suggest you utilize individual e-mail addresses whenever possible. You can copy your safe senders from Outlook to your quarantine inbox by using the bulk edit feature of your Quarantine Inbox (Preferences, Whitelist/Blacklist tab). We recommend that you start with an empty list and add individual e-mail addresses as necessary.

Emails that contain viruses are blocked and not delivered. If you delete something from the Quarantine Inbox, it's gone. You may need to contact the sender. If your email account didn't receive any spam suitable for quarantine, you won't receive a summary for the notification period (Daily or Weekly).