FAQ’s Regarding SPAM in Our District

To many users, it may seem that the amount of SPAM that is in our Quarantine has increased, and in some cases it has.  However, SPAM that is in your Quarantine (log in at https://login.postini.com/) is email that has been blocked and not delivered to your in-box (your regular ccsd.edu email account) but requires action on your part.  Below are a few Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding SPAM.  I hope you find this useful.

Q: What good is a SPAM filter if I need to check it regularly to see if any legitimate mail has been “caught” in the filter?  Why not just send it to my email?

A:  By having the SPAM (and, unfortunately, a legitimate email every now and then) get caught in the filter, it does not enter our network unless it is released by a user (you) who knows that the message is legitimate.  By doing this, our servers are not overwhelmed with storing email that is SPAM.  This also reduces our risk of being infected by a virus that is often carried via SPAM.

Q:  I understand that the filter blocks SPAM, but it seems a lot still gets to my quarantine, and sometimes even my mailbox.  How much SPAM is out there?  It can’t be that bad, can it?

A:  On August 10th alone our Postini filter blocked 55,588 spam messages intended for our users. Yes, more the 55,000 SPAM messages in one day!  Of those 55,588 messages, 18,891 of them were sent to various users’ quarantines (but not their mailboxes) because they possibly were legitimate messages.  Most are not.  The rest were automatically deleted, requiring no effort on anyone’s part!   To put these numbers in perspective, on that same day, only a total of 2,513 (apparently) legitimate messages were delivered to ccsd.edu mailboxes (maybe you got a message that day.  This would be included in the 2,513).  Summary?  More than 95% of the email sent to our email system is SPAM.  Ouch!

Q:  Why can’t the District block all SPAM that is sent, rather than quarantine some, thus making me check if it’s legitimate or not?

A:  Though our SPAM filter analyzes each piece of e-mail sent to the district, if a message appears to be SPAM but it cannot be extremely certain that it is SPAM, it forwards the message to the quarantine of the intended recipient.  This accounts for only a small percentage of the actual SPAM that is sent to us.  By doing this, it allows the intended recipient (you, in some cases) to make the final judgment of whether the questionable email is legitimate or SPAM.  If you mark it as SPAM and delete it, the Postini system becomes smarter for all users!  If you never check  your quarantine, Postini automatically deletes any message after thirty days.

Q:  What if I choose not to check my quarantine?

A:  If you don’t check your quarantine, it’s possible that some of the messages are actually legitimate and should be read for you.  Imagine that your friend won the lottery and wanted to share the winnings with you.  They might type in the subject line, Won Lottery.  Millions to share with you! The body of the email might have lots of information that looks like SPAM to the filter (same would hold true if you were refinancing a mortgage and looking for the lowest rate or shopping for pharmaceuticals online).  This would likely end up in your quarantine.  If you never checked, you’d never know that an important message was sent to you.  Also, it would be gone after 30 days!  Again, as you check your quarantine and delete the items that are SPAM, the system becomes smarter.
Q:  The Department of Instructional Technology has done a great job moving toward having one username and password.  Is it possible that Postini will be able to be connected to the same password I use for email, the network, and Google Apps?

A:  Thanks for the compliment.  Postini cannot be part of our single username/password project, and this is by design.  In many companies, office assistants are delegated the task of reviewing the quarantine, and it is important that the password not be the same as the manager’s network and email password.  Therefore, the “single sign on” functionality is not available.  However, if you’d like to have your Postini password match your current network password, you can do so!  Simply log-in to Postini (https://login.postini.com/), click on the My Settings link (top right corner), and then click the Change  Password link.  Follow the prompt by entering your network password as your new password, and you’ll be all set!

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