Spam (junk e-mail) has become a routine, irritating part of modern digital life. Many of us manage numerous e-mail accounts nowadays, and it’s common for our mailboxes to be the target of many unwanted mail messages. Just to give you some perspective, most of the incoming mail at the Weizmann Institute (more than 75% of all messages) is categorized as spam.
Traditional Junk Mail Handling
Spam mail has traditionally been managed as follows:
- The Institute’s mail gateways (Iron Port) monitor incoming mail and apply spam filters, mostly based on reputation and other features common to spam messages.
- When a specific message is categorized as suspicious or positively identified as spam, the Iron Port system appends the suffix ** SPAM *** to its subject heading.
- The Institute’s main mail server moves the tagged message directly to the Junk folder in the user’s mailbox.
- Occasionally, the user inspects the Junk folder to confirm messages as spam, delete them, or set rules to move those not to be regarded as spam back to the main mailbox.
Clearly, fine-tuning unacceptable or acceptable mail, and ensuring that spam messages are deleted forever have become common maintenance tasks for nearly all mail users.
One of the common features of mail gateways is their ability to maintain personal quarantines for spam messages, and provide users with management tools enabling mail flow adjustment.
To overcome the inconvenience and time consumed by cumbersome manual spam processing, the Weizmann Institute provides a new Spam Quarantine service that offers an innovative way to manage targeted spam mail. This service can help users manage personal spam-related preferences, keep spam mail out of their mailboxes, and fine-tune settings for deliberate retention of specific messages.
Personal spam quarantines offer numerous benefits over receiving spam messages directly in the inbox and having to manually manage each and every message according to personal preferences.
These benefits include:
- Space savings – spam messages are kept in quarantine and are not allowed to reach and consume storage in the main mailbox, unless specifically released by users.
- Time savings – setting and adjusting mailbox rules instantly become fast and simple, once users add quarantined mail to their personal safelists – something that can be done with no more than a couple of mouse clicks.
- Increased spam detection accuracy – once the quarantine is set on the mail gateway, the spam detection algorithms it utilizes become increasingly accurate, leading to improved distinction between spam and other mail messages.
For more information on the Institute's Spam Quarantine service, please review the Spam Quarantine service user guide.
Users who do not wish to use this service may opt out via our IT service catalog.
Spoofing and Phishing
You are strongly advised to be on alert for spoofing and phishing attempts.
Spoofing involves the use of seemingly legitimate e mail addresses, including those of Weizmann Institute users, by spammers to source junk mail, so as to bypass address-based spam filters.
Phishing is essentially an attempt by scammers to collect such sensitive, personal information as user names, passwords and credit card details. It normally involves receipt of e-mail seemingly originating from well-known institutions, with links to Web pages mimicking those of banks, online shopping portals and others. There, unsuspecting users are requested to confirm personal details and login credentials, in fact providing phishers with the information they need to commit identity theft.
For example, users throughout the Institute have recently been receiving junk mail posing to be legitimate e-mail, seemingly sent by Institute personnel or technical units. These junk messages will typically include warnings of mailbox overflow, with links to malicious sites asking for such sensitive information as your login credentials.
Note that no Weizmann IT or Computing Center branch will ever send you e-mail requesting that you reveal personal details. We therefore urge you to treat phishing messages (normally appropriately tagged with **SPAM-W**) with extreme caution, ideally by deleting and never replying to them.