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IT's New E-Mail Filter Puts Spam on Defense

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September 23, 2005

When Information Technology launches its E-mail Defense System (EDS) Oct. 3, e-mail users will wonder where all the junk mail went.

EDS is the University's new system for filtering junk e-mail, phishing attempts, viruses, and malicious attachments. Every individual with a Northwestern e-mail account, who uses a northwestern.edu e-mail address, will be automatically opted into EDS. However, users are free to opt out at any time.

“The Northwestern community has been anticipating the EDS launch,” said Wendy Woodward, director of IT Technology Support Services. “Over the summer, EDS was tested extensively, and it’s proven to be both effective and intuitive.”

EDS scans incoming e-mail messages before they reach the University’s central mail servers to determine if any of the messages are junk mail. If so, EDS marks them as junk and handles them accordingly. Some e-mail is quarantined, or safely moved to an isolated location on the network. Quarantined e-mail is not immediately deleted by EDS, and quarantined messages can be accessed and reviewed at the recipient’s convenience within seven days.

Users receive a daily e-mail digest from EDS with a list of quarantined messages. Within EDS, they can choose to have any of those messages sent to their inbox, or simply deleted. Other EDS options allow users to customize quarantined mail to ensure that desired messages are delivered appropriately.

“We want to encourage the community to take a moment and review the online documentation we’ve prepared prior to October 3, so that they’re ready for this major change in how e-mail is being handled,” Woodward said.

A detailed overview of EDS, including step-by-step instructions, is available at <www.it.northwestern.edu/security/eds/>.

Information sessions are scheduled on both campuses.

Evanston: 1 and 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, 107 Swift Hall; 2 and 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, 107 Harris Hall

Chicago: 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, 721 Wieboldt Hall

Contact the IT Support Center at (847) 491-4357 or consultant@northwestern.edu with questions about the new system.

Topics: University