Mailguard Anti-Spam

Overview

Mailguard is an anti-spam web portal allowing for user customization of spam thresholds and management of e-mail quarantines. It is available at mailguard.potsdam.edu, or by following the Mailguard link in BearMail.

With Mailguard, CTS is giving users much more flexibility in how they manage their SUNY Potsdam e-mail. Mailguard takes e-mail content filtering to the next level by allowing users to set their own thresholds for what constitutes spam, as well as to decide the ultimate fate of these unsolicited messages.

What Do I Need To Do?

Most spam emails come from compromised email accounts or computers on the internet. This makes it difficult to identify these emails as spam because they come from different accounts all over the world and are sometimes worded different or even include hidden gibberish to confuse spam detection.

You can take steps to increase our anti-spam filter's accuracy in detecting what few patterns there are by using Mailguard.

Any spam that makes it through our filters will be in the green [Report/Confirm] section.  By marking those as spam you help build the mechanism by which spam is identified and quarantined in the red [Report/Rescue] section - this section is the spam that never makes it to your InBox and that you never see.

Because it is a community effort, the more people that take a few minutes each day/week to identify spam, the more it helps everyone.

If you do not wish to contribute to spam scoring, all you need to login to Mailguard for is if you wish to opt-out of the quarantine service. Also, if you are concerned that they may be missing a message you that feel should have been delivered to you, the first sensible place to look is the Mailguard quarantine area.

Quarantine

By default, when a message is determined to be spam, it will be saved in the recipient's spam quarantine. At this point if the user wishes to review his or her quarantine to release any mis-identified items, he or she may login to the interface and review the 'spam cache.'

Users will note that in addition to the spam quarantine, there are two other quarantine areas, or caches: non-spam, and bad headers. All non-virus e-mail is classified and put into one of these three areas. These caches are kept for user review, as well as for filter training purposes (the reason non-spam is cached). If users wish to confirm the status of the messages in their caches, it helps our content-scanning system more accurately classify future e-mail.

Note: Neither confirmation nor deletion of mail items is required. Confirmation will help our effort against spam, but if you feel you do not have the time to do so, it is better to simply click the 'Delete all items' button. Deletion is also not required, as any unconfirmed items will be purged after an age-out period.

Settings

CTS has come up with a set of defaults that make sense for our campus. If users wish to change how they receive their mail, they will need to login to the Mailguard interface and customize their settings.

  • High: Default setting. Messages determined to be spam will be quarantined.
  • Medium: Opt out setting. This setting will opt users out of the quarantine feature should they wish to continue to do client-side filtering based on ***SPAM*** tagged subjects.
  • Low: Not recommended. In addition to spam tagged subjects, users will also see messages determined to have bad headers. These are almost always spam.
  • Off: Not recommended. This will pass on all non-virus e-mail with no spam or bad header filtering at all.
   

For even more customizability, users may click on the 'Settings' tab at the top of the Mailguard interface. Settings specific to their e-mail address can be reached by clicking on the address.

White and Black Lists

White and black listing is also possible with Mailguard. Any message from an address listed in a user's whitelist will never be considered spam (though it may be blocked for other reasons, i.e. bad headers, virus, etc). On the contrary, any messages from an address in a user's blacklist will always be treated as spam.

Help

Mailguard has a very rich and in-depth help manual, always reachable from the 'Help' link at the top of the page. If you need additional assistance, please contact the CTS Helpdesk at x2083 or helpdesk@potsdam.edu.