OIT takes aim at spam
By Sarah R.
Buchholz, Chronicle staff
Mail account users will soon have the opportunity to have most of
the spam filtered out of their inbox, according to David Powicki,
a network analyst at the Office of Information Technologies. OIT
is scheduled to implement a spam-reduction program in mid-June that
will tag most spam coming into the campus e-mail server.
known as "spam," accounts for approximately 40 percent
of e-mail received by UMail users, Powicki said.
"It's a huge problem,"
he said. "We process on the order of 300,000 messages a day.
We estimate that about 120,000 of these are spam.
"The growth in
spam that we've seen on campus over the last two and a half years
is pretty much consistent with what people have been reporting on
the Internet as a whole. Every day we answer complaints on the phone
and via e-mail."
On June 16, all UMail
users, no matter which program they use to read e-mail, will have
the opportunity to participate in a filtering system that tags probable
spam and sends it to a separate folder.
that comes in to the campus mail server will be compared against
the known corpus of spam," Powicki said. "If it matches
a known signature, then it will be tagged as probably spam. No messages
are blocked; messages are only tagged."
UMail users will be
able to sign up at a designated webpage to have any mail tagged
as spam routed to a folder where it will be stored for a specified
length of time before automatically being expunged. Users will have
several time-length choices, Powicki said.
"It doesn't matter
what program you use to read your UMail mail, whether it's Netscape
Communicator or Outlook Express, this will work for you," he
said. "You just sign up for this service and the filtering
is taken care of on the server. This is only for OIT-provided e-mail."
Powicki estimates that
approximately 65 percent of spam will be identified by the program
"This is the first
layer of defense that we're deploying," he said. "Once
we have the infrastructure in place, we'll be adding additional
tagging software to identify spam."
Powicki said all UMail users will receive information about where
to go on the web to sign up for the program.