“Junk email” (also known as “spam”) is something we all receive. It is a loose term which can cover unsolicited advertising material, offensive messages, chain letters and off topic messages on mailing lists. The University’s email systems filter out a large proportion of junk email received, but there is inevitably a certain amount that still gets through.
Junk email may not be sent from Engineering Department systems; any user of departmental systems who generates junk email will be subject to the normal disciplinary rules and policy on network misuse.
If you need to send email to a large number of recipients you should consider the UIS Guidelines for bulk email.
Can junk email be dangerous?
Yes. There are various ways in which junk mail can be dangerous:
- It can trick you into giving away passwords to bank accounts etc – ‘Phishing’
- It can trick you into giving away money, in the hope of getting more – ‘Advance fee fraud’
- It can encourage to you click on a link to a webpage which contains a virus or malware, even though the email itself is not harmful – ‘Trojans’
If you have already given away password details or run an infected file you should contact the IT Helpdesk urgently for advice.
Is it Junk?
Sometimes you’re not sure if a message is junk or not. There are some things you can do to check:
- Hover your mouse over any links to see where they really go
- Check email addresses too
- If a message seems odd, call the sender and ask about it
- Be particularly careful with attachments, or requests to log into a webpage
In general if something seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.
See also the UIS webpages: “Stay safe online: a spotter’s guide to scams”
What can I do?
While we appreciate that junk email (spam) is annoying, in general our recommendation is to simply delete it.
You should only contact IT Staff for help if:
- You need help identifying whether a message is genuine
- You are receiving hundreds of messages a day and need help to stop them
- The message contains a virus/malware which is not detected by McAfee
- The message is impersonating another person in the university
- The message is trying to steal (phish) your university password(s)
What not to do
- Do not reply directly to junk emails.
- Do not send junk mail on to anyone else.
- Don’t click on links in emails at all if you’re unsure they’re safe.
- Don’t open files which arrive in unsolicited emails without checking with the sender.
- Beware of hoaxes – don’t forward chain letters