Skip to main content

Spam, Virus Protection and Phishing Avoidance

The Security Matters website provides information about the latest viruses and other threats that can affect computer systems as well as other general advice on computer security.

Viruses

Computer viruses can cause a lot of damage to your computer. For example they can delete files, reformat hard drives, or be used to gain access to your accounts (such as email and bank accounts) and any personal data you store in those accounts. If you install antivirus software and keep it up-to-date, you can minimize these risks.

SPAM and Junk Mail

SPAM is a term for unsolicited e-mail, the Internet equivalent of junk mail or unsolicited phone marketing. Most of the time SPAM comes in the form of advertising or get-rich quick messages. Unfortunately, spam messages can also have pornographic content or advertise sex related products and/or services in varying degrees of explicitness.

UTmail+ uses Exchange Online Protection (EOP) to filter suspected spam (SCL of 5 and above), phishing, virus and unwanted bulk (BCL of 7 and above)?emails.

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

Spyware

Spyware is the term given to software used to gather information from your computer that can be used by marketing companies. It primarily affects Microsoft operating systems and Internet Explorer. Most spyware tracks your web browser usage, but more malicious forms may also retrieve passwords or other system information which can be used to commit identity theft. The spyware records this information, and transmits it to the creator of the spyware. These programs, in addition to gathering personal information, also reduce computer performance.

Similar to spyware, adware is also covert software that causes advertising to appear while browsing the web, usually in a pop-up window, that is unrelated to the website you are viewing. While generally less malicious than spyware, adware is still a drain on your computer's system resources, and may result in reduced performance.

Safe Sender or Accept lists

You can create a Safe Sender and Recipients 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.

Using Message Reporting and Safe Senders List to ensure legitimate mail is not marked as SPAM

Our recent migration of MX records for the @utoronto.ca and @mail.utoronto.ca domains changed the way that anti-spam works for individuals with addresses in those domains; incoming mail is now scanned by Exchange Online Protection (EOP).

There have been sporadic reports of EOP generating spam false positives (legitimate messages marked as spam and delivered to the “Junk Email” folder instead of “Inbox” folder) .  The service will improve its accuracy over time as it learns about our communication patterns but you can take the following steps to help: