UNIT installs new software to identify spam, alert users

Sean L. Wright

UNIT, in an effort to stop unwanted or unsolicited e-mails has recently purchased spam filtering software developed by Sophos. Currently, the filter is just labeling spam mail, but no action will be taken beyond that until UNIT has properly trained the filter.

To train the filter, UNIT has posted steps on its website to ensure the deletion of pure spam mail only. Two e-mail accounts have been set up to inform UNIT when mail is incorrectly tagged.

The accounts are called [email protected] and [email protected], respectively. Procedures to forward e-mails to either account are listed on UNIT’s homepage and cover extensively the process of the Spam Reduction Plan.

When the filter has been properly trained, UNIT will take the proper steps to delete e-mail marked as very likely spam.

Training Coordinator for UNIT Rachel Schaller said, “Students need to participate to help us eliminate unwanted spam mail.”

No definitive date or percentage will be given until UNIT feels that the filter software has been properly trained to avoid deletion of wanted e-mails. The filter does not sort through internal mail and is currently only used to scan external mail.

However, students are concerned less with external e-mails. The largest concern of students is the amount of internal e-mails.

Freshman Andrew Pluta said, “The most junk mail I get is the mail that the school sends out to me that I don’t want; dining services news, St. Mary’s pool issues, clubs of no meaning to me. At the end of the day I’ll check my mail and delete maybe 18 of the 20 e-mails that are new. I just think they should make e-mail more exclusive. I know people who don’t check their account because of this.”

While the filter has only focused on external mail, measures are being taken to slow the amount of internal mail going to students.

Specifics include stricter policies about who can and cannot distribute mass e-mails to the student body.

Freshman Griffin Boll said, “If there’s one thing I can count on, it is sitting down at my computer to sort through at least 20 flyers I don’t care about each and every day.”

The Sophos filter uses sophisticated algorithms with over 2,500 criteria to determine the likelihood of whether or not a message is spam.