SPAM and Junk Email Blocking


Note: This article is for UTmail+, UTORexchange, and UTORmail customers.

Overview

In order to reduce the amount of junk mail (spam) reaching your Inbox every day, Information +Technology Service (I+TS) has installed anti-spam filtering software at the U of T postoffice. The software will redirect suspected SPAM from your Inbox to a folder named Junk E-mail, or junk-mail, depending on the email service you use.

In UTORmail, messages older than seven days will be regularly deleted from your junk-mail folder.

In UTORexchange, you must regularly empty your Junk E-mail folder.

You should regularly check your junk-mail folder for misclassified good messages and move them to your inbox.

See a list of all SPAM articles.

Here's How It Works

By default, the anti-SPAM filter has been turned ON for all UTmail+, UTORexchange and UTORmail customers.

With the anti-SPAM filter turned ON, messages that are suspected of being spam are automatically delivered to your Junk E-mail or junk-mail folder instead of your Inbox. Some spam messages may still be delivered to your Inbox - anti-SPAM filtering is not perfect.

You can set anti-spam filtering to be very strict or less strict depending on your tolerance for good messages being filtered into your Junk E-mail or junk-mail folder. This is done by selecting one of four SPAM filter risk levels: Low, Moderate, High or filtering OFF.

  • Low risk means fewer good messages may be detected as SPAM
  • Moderate means a few more good messages may be detected as SPAM
  • High risk means even more good messages may be detected as SPAM
  • OFF means all SPAM will be received in your Inbox

By default, the filter has been set to Moderate.

Important:Whatever risk level you choose, you must regularly check your Junk E-mail or junk-mail folder for misclassified good messages that are captured by the filter and move these messages to your Inbox or other folder. In UTORmail, messages older than seven days will be regularly deleted from your junk-mail folder. We encourage you to delete messages from junk-mail once you have confirmed they are all spam.

To change your filtering level, here's what you do:

Note to Faculty and Staff: If you have someone in your department responsible for maintenance of your computer (installing software, fixing hardware and software problems, handling network connectivity, etc), please check with them before making changes.

  1. Go to the UTORid account management site, log in with your UTORid password and select change options.
  2. Go to the Junk Mail (Spam) Filtering option.
  3. Select the option appropriate for you. 
  4. Click the "submit the modification request" button.
  5. The change will be in place the next day. You can alter your anti-spam settings at any time by returning to the UTORid account management site.

The change will be in place the next day. You can alter your anti-SPAM settings at any time by returning to the UTORid account management site.

Safe Sender or Accept lists

You can create a Safe Sender or Accept list to ensure messages from certain email addresses never get marked as SPAM. In general, it is not necessary to add everyone who sends you messages to your Safe Sender or Accept list. False positives in such cases are rare. However, some newsletters have characteristics of SPAM, and the sender email address should be added tif you want to ensure delivery.

Instructions for creating a safe sender or accept list are below.

UTmail+, UTORexchange and UTORmail Reject Worst SPAM

Because of the massive volume of useless messages, beginning August 28, 2017, UTmail+, UTORexchange and UTORmail is rejecting all mail from other post offices with a spam score equal to or greater than 90%.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is spam and where does it come from?
See the original Spam FAQ - the time before filtering.

Will my other email addresses also be filtered?
The anti-spam filter function only works on email handled by UTmail+. UTORexchange or UTORmail. At present, only email arriving to addresses ending in @mail.utoronto.ca or @utoronto.ca can be filtered. Some departments run their own email systems independent of UTmail+, UTORexchangge or UTORmail. Messages going directly to such systems are not affected by this filter.

If I forward mail from my UofT email address to another address, will my email be filtered?
If you forward email addressed to any non-UofT email account, the spam will not be filtered. The anti-spam filtering only works if you are reading your email directly from your UofT email account.

What happens to anti-spam filtering when I go on vacation and set my auto-reply? 
When the anti-spam filter and the auto-reply function are on at the same time, anti-spam filtering will happen first. This means the vacation message will only be sent in response to messages that get past the anti-spam filter. This is good since responding to spam often just produces more spam and delivery failure notifications.

If you are on UTOrmail and will be away for more than seven days (remember messages older than seven days will be regularly deleted from your junk-mail folder), you may want to turn the anti-spam filter off or reduce your risk tolerance setting to Low Risk. This will reduce the risk that good messages which filter to your junk-mail folder will be deleted in the seven day cycle.

Will email be delayed as a result of the filtering? 
There will be a moderate delay.

What happens if I accidentally delete my UTORmail junk-mail folder?
The first time there is a message to be delivered to the junk-mail folder, it will be recreated.

What if I really want spam in my INBOX?
Turn the anti-spam filtering off (instructions here).

Does anti-spam filtering also mean viruses are being scanned for?
Yes. See http://www.utoronto.ca/ns/antivirus for details.

I am technical staff, technically advanced or just curious about how the anti-spam filter works - where can I find more information?
Please visit our advanced explanation page.

I can't find my UTORmail junk-mail folder! 
The junk-mail folder should appear and require no additional intervention. Should that not be the case, you may need to subscribe to junk-mail in order to see it. Please consult with an advisor at the Information Commons Help Desk for assistance in subscribing to the junk-mail folder. Call 416-978-HELP.

Not a good idea for POP email programs
Most people use email programs that read messages directly from the central email servers using a technique called IMAP. Some people use a method called POP which usually downloads your entire Inbox to your local computer when you first connect to the email server. POP has never been supported or recommended for UTORmail.

While the anti-spam filter may seem to work when you use a POP email program, it is not recommended because such email programs often do not give you a simple way to check your junk-mail folder for any good messages you might want to save.

If you continue to use a POP email program and the anti-spam filter, the suggested compromise is to use the Low Risk setting via the UTORid management page. Low Risk will minimize the chances that good messages will get into your junk-mail folder.

Acknowledgements

We wish to thank the University of Washington and the University of Ohio for sharing their anti-spam documentation. We also appreciate the technical expertise that the Unversity of Washington shared with us.

Tags: SPAM, UTORprotect