SMU’s Spam Filter Receiving Upgrades for Intelligent Protection

No SPAM or phishing emailThe Cisco IronPort spam filter that prevents the vast majority of malicious email messages from ever reaching your SMU mailbox is about to get some serious upgrades. These upgrades bring new features that make it even harder for spam to get through and easier for you to identify the few messages that slip through. Let’s go over what these new features will do when they are rolled out January 12, 2020.

URL Rewrite

One of the most prevalent ways spammers/phishers try to get your sensitive information is to trick you into clicking a link to a website that leads you right into their trap. Our new URL rewrite feature detects suspicious links within email messages and rewrites them to pass through Cisco’s Security Proxy for additional verification when clicked. Based on the Security Proxy’s verdict, the user may not be able to access the site at all or could receive a warning before continuing to the actual site.

External Sender Notifications

Certain free e-mail services are very popular with those who wish to send malicious messages. However, many legitimate messages also arrive at our mailboxes from these services. As an extra awareness tool, incoming messages from the largest free e-mail services like Gmail, Yahoo, and will now have an [EXTERNAL SENDER] banner within the body of the e-mail to remind you to exercise caution.

External Sender Example Message

Forged E-mail Detection

This forgery filter uses a dictionary list of high-value targets at the University, including the President, Deans, BOT, VPs, and systems administrators. The filter intercepts “look-alike” senders based on a scoring system. As a result, the recipient will see the real sender’s email address instead of who they were trying to appear as. The subject line will also be updated to include [POSSIBLE FORGED].

External Sender Example Forged Message

Please contact the IT Help Desk at 214-768-HELP with any questions or if you encounter any issues with email delivery.

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Zach Peterson

Zach is a Senior IT Training & Communications Consultant with OIT. Zach began his SMU career at the IT Help Desk in 2012 and joined the Training & Communications Team in 2015. He is a 2011 graduate from the University of North Texas and obtained a Master of Liberal Studies degree from SMU in 2018. He enjoys reading and collecting vintage and antique radio sets. He grew up in Valley View, Texas near Denton.