Important Security Measures Added to Northwestern's E-mail Defense System

Posted Date: 20 Feb 2006

Effective Date: 20 Feb 2006

In consultation with the Office of the Provost, NUIT is implementing two mission-critical measures to control the escalating amount of junk e-mail directed to Northwestern's central mail servers.

The E-mail Defense System (EDS) has been highly effective in blocking much of the junk e-mail. However, the volume of these unsolicited messages has increased 60% since September 2005 and an additional 40% since January 2006, putting a strain on networked University resources.

Effective February 20, 2006:

  1. All e-mail with a greater than "99" junk probability rating from EDS tests will now be deleted, reducing the amount of junk e-mail held in quarantine. (This will not affect undergraduate students or alumni, as their e-mail deletion thresholds are already lower than "99.") EDS contains several hundred "junk e-mail" tests that analyze individual message characteristics. Based on these tests, each message is assigned a probability rating between 0 and 100. The higher the rating, the more likely the message is to be marked as junk. Visit How the E-mail Defense System Works for more information.

    PLEASE NOTE: NUIT recommends disabling auto-delivery of the EDS daily quarantine digest to your e-mail inbox if you are not reviewing the digest on a daily basis. Visit EDS Preferences for instructions.
  2. Anonymous directory queries from off-campus will be blocked to help further prevent the harvesting of northwestern.edu e-mail addresses by known spammers, which has been one contributing factor to the recent increase in junk e-mail. This means that if you conduct University business from off-campus, or if you are associated with a University affiliate which is not on the NU Network, you must connect with Virtual Private Network (VPN) software to use directory queries from your e-mail client.

    Visit Authenticating to the NU Network (VPN) for downloading and configuration instructions. Visit Use a Secure Connection to Access the Online Directory for more information about anonymous directory queries.

    Members of the University community will still be able to access full directory information from off-campus by using the "authenticated access" service from directory.northwestern.edu. Non-authenticated users will continue to receive limited directory information.

Impact on End User

Reducing the overall volume of junk e-mail will ensure the efficiency of the EDS for the entire University community. Quarantine digests sent to users who are opted-in to the EDS will be shorter and easier to manage.

Visit EDS Preferences for instructions on how to disable auto-delivery of your daily EDS quarantine digest or opt-out of the EDS.

All off-campus users should connect to the NU Network with VPN to safely and successfully access University resources. Visit Authenticating to the NU Network (VPN) for downloading and configuration instructions.

Support Contact:

NUIT Support Center
Central service desk for students, faculty, and staff.
847-491-4357 (1-HELP)
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