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spam

OIT offers tips for avoiding spam e-mails

By Alex Morones
Technical Writer and Editor, Office of Information Technology

(Nov. 5, 2005)--Junk and "phishing" e-mail messages continue to pour into our in-boxes. This problem is a concern to the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and also should be of concern to you.

A typical phishing e-mail message states that a financial institution wants you to update your account information online. Most recipients do not even have an account at the financial institution that supposedly sent the e-mail.

Other messages offer "important information" about your eBay account -- and are often sent to people who do not have eBay accounts.

We all wish junk e-mail messages would cease to exist. OIT asks that you handle junk e-mail messages the same way you handle junk mail at home: send them to the recycle bin and delete.

UTSA personnel also continue to receive dangerous phishing messages from addresses such as:

  • postmaster@utsa.edu
  • webmaster@utsa.edu
  • administrator@utsa.edu
  • register@utsa.edu

The addresses on these messages are phony and should immediately be deleted when you see them in your mailbox. The Outlook filter catches these messages and replaces the infected attachment with text that explains the removal of the suspicious attachment.

All official UTSA OIT correspondence comes from an e-mail address such as "Network Services", and not "networkservices@utsa.edu."

Note that the difference between these two addresses is that the faked (or "spoofed") address contains "@utsa.edu," while an official address does not.

The best way to deal with e-mail messages from unknown or suspicious addresses is to delete them, or allow your spam filter to quarantine them. If you respond to a spam message, you will have confirmed to the sender that they have indeed reached a valid e-mail address, and your address will be the target of even more spam.

If you click on the link offered in some of these e-mail messages, you may infect your computer with spyware or a computer virus.

Here are some tips from OIT:

  • Do not respond to suspicious messages.
  • Always delete suspicious messages.
  • Never click on a link in a suspicious message.
  • Whenever possible, avoid using your official UTSA e-mail address to sign up for anything on the Web.
  • Remember that OIT will never ask you for your password -- not in person or via e-mail.
  • E-mail messages from Network Services are addressed to "EVERYONE," not to individual e-mail addresses.
  • For more information, contact the OIT Help Desk at (210) 458-5538.

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