1. First the belt: a central layer of defence

The sending of email messages between computers has been happening since the early 1970s but as the use and popularity of the Internet has increased it has become a more hostile place. Nowadays most email users are all too familiar with junk mail and virus infected emails. University users will be relieved to hear that OUCS works hard to minimize exposure to junk mail and viruses in a number of ways.

First off, the moment an email comes into the University network it is scanned for viruses at the Oxford mail gateway, known as the Oxmails. This will minimize the number of virus infected emails that you will see in your email account as all messages that are identified as containing a virus are rejected. At the point of scanning the Oxmails are also able to apply heuristics to determine the likelihood of a given message actually being junk mail and will assign a junk mail score to each of your email messages. The higher this numerical score the more likely it is that the message is junk mail and the score can be used for filtering in Webmail or your mail client. The Oxmails also use Internet blacklists to identify mail from suspicious sources on the Internet.

A very small number of departments do not receive their email via the Oxmails and so virus and junk mail protection is dependent on the locally provided facility. Oxford IT Support staff may also want to run anti-virus products locally. For example many ITSS run the Sophos Enterprise Console to manage and monitor Sophos installations on their managed server and desktop systems.

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