Boston University uses a Cisco Cloud Email Security Appliance (Cisco ESA) to automatically filter unwanted mail at the central mail gateway. Our centralized filtering helps to minimize the number of unwanted messages that get through to @bu.edu accounts, and the vast majority of people reading BU email do not experience a significant problem with spam. However, if you do want to know more about spam and filtering, the following information will be helpful.

How did spammers get my address?

Computers make it easy to automatically generate random combinations of numbers and letters that can then be prefixed to @bu.edu and sent out. In addition, viruses can use infected machines to send spam, in which case you could receive unwanted messages simply because you appear in the address book of someone who owns an infected computer.

Can I get a new email address?

It’s very unlikely that getting a new email address from BU will solve the problem. Everyone with an @bu.edu email address is a target for the same kind of automatically-generated spam.

Managing Spam

It’s inevitable that you will get some unwanted mail because there is no perfect system for filtering it. However, the options outlined below are available for managing the spam that gets through BU’s automated filtering and you can use these methods in whatever way provides the optimal results for your situation.

Manually delete your unwanted mail

Because BU’s centralized filtering is very effective, many people do not use other forms of filtering and simply delete the unwanted messages that do get through. For those who do not get an objectionable amount of spam, this is the method that provides the most control over what you get in your Inbox – delete what you don’t want and keep what you do.

Use the Junk Email settings within your mail client

Most email clients have a way for you to do Junk Mail (or comparable) filtering. Within Outlook 2010, for example, you would select Junk->Junk E-Mail Options and within Outlook 2011 go to Tools->Junk Email Protection. Both versions of Outlook will allow you to turn on Outlook’s filtering and determine what should happen to the messages that are tagged as Junk. You can also create Safe Domains and Blocked Senders lists.

Spam management information specific to Google Apps users is outlined here:
http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=78759

Filter the scored (suspicious) messages into a separate folder

All incoming messages that the Cloud Email Security Appliance detects as spam are automatically filtered out.  In the event the Gateway identifies mail as “likely spam”, a [SUSPECTED SPAM] tag will be added to the beginning of the email Subject line. With a potential for false positives in this filter category, we wish to provide the client an opportunity to review the message. Clients are encouraged to utilize this Subject tag to create personal mail filters to move mail with this subject to their Junk folder.

Select your mail client to learn how to filter messages using the Subject tag