March 9, 2004

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Contact: Allison Rose Lopez, KU Information Services, (785) 864-8923.

KU launches e-mail filter to help users combat spam messages

LAWRENCE -- Starting this week, computer users at the University of Kansas have a new tool to help them manage the skyrocketing numbers of junk e-mails sent across cyber space. KU Information Services has installed a spam filter on its e-mail servers. The filter will automatically evaluate incoming e-mails and tag suspicious messages with a "SpamScore" in the subject header to help users manage those messages.

"The filter does not automatically delete messages," said Jerree Catlin, associate director of Academic Computing Services at KU. "We didn't want the filter to accidentally delete legitimate e-mails, such as from subscribed e-mail lists. This tagging method flags suspicious e-mails but leaves control to delete in the hands of our users."

Catlin said each message's SpamScore will be indicated by the phrase [Spam: ****SpamScore]. The more asterisks a header contains, the higher the probability that a message is spam.

"Users can utilize the 'rules' feature in their individual e-mail programs to autofilter the suspicious messages into a junk mail folder so they can review them all at once, or directly into the trash," Catlin said. "Because the tagged headers will always contain the exact same wording, e-mail programs can easily recognize likely spam e-mails and let users control where they land in their e-mail boxes."

KU's spam filter determines each SpamScore by using algorithms to analyze each message for common spam features.

"We've had many positive responses from departments across campus because our users need help managing spam," Catlin said. "We hope this new resource helps all of our users by protecting their time and energy from the spam nuisance."

Catlin said more details on the spam filter and instructions for creating autofiltering rules in different e-mail programs can be found at Faculty and staff with questions should contact their department technical support staff; users also may call the Help Desk at (785) 864-0200.

The KU-Lawrence network includes approximately 17,000 student, faculty and staff computers, servers and machines that access the network from off-campus. KU Information Services includes Information Technology Services, Networking and Telecommunications Services, the KU Libraries and Printing Services.


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