Software

24

Feb
Sat
05:24

Email and Spam

The IT department at BI has collected useful information and tips regarding email, spam and viruses. Read through the content below and use it as a reference on how to become a smarter and more protected user of digital media.​

 

The email system

The BI student email system is delivered by Microsoft, using the web-based solution Office 365 for Education. The addresses are still in a BI format – we only use Microsoft as a mail service provider (like Posten, British Mail, US Mail etc.).

Your student email account is available through the @BI student portal (preferred), or directly at https://login.microsoftonline.com. Email sent to your student mail account will be delivered to your mailbox hosted by Microsoft. The address format is firstname.surname@student.bi.no. It is also possible to use the student-number – e.g. s1399999@mail.student.bi.no, but for practical reasons, the address with your real name is preferable. It is also easier for your contacts to remember an email address containing a name rather than a random number.

Incoming mail will be scanned using Microsoft’s continuously updated virus filters and anti spam-agents. This is done completely outside BI - we do not scan incoming student email for viruses and spam.

 

Suspicious mail from fellow students

We get calls from students reporting spam from fellow students. This is confirmed to be untrue by the fellow student.

 Is the BI email-account compromised? No!

 Has BI ever sold lists of email addresses to partners or spammers? No!

Unfortunately, the email standards were designed before the spam and virus industry was born, and have few mechanisms to avoid misuse. It is very easy to fake the sender’s email address. The method will for obvious reasons not be explained here. By faking the sender’s mail address, the real sender can make mail appear to be sent from any other mail address, or even the same address as the recipient’s address (i.e. identical sender’s and recipient’s addresses). That is why you sometimes get spam that appears to come from other BI students (or even from yourself).

But - how come they have my email-address? Well – all students have an email-account, which is available and visible in It’s Learning. When you log in to @BI and It’s Learning, you will find a list of all fellow classmates with corresponding email-addresses. This is a feature intentionally implemented in It’s Learning in order to improve and facilitate communication and cooperation within the classes.

Unfortunately, someone is abusing this functionality by extracting addresses and presumably selling or otherwise sharing them. Until September 2012, all students were able to see both the names and mail addresses of all other users logged on to It’s Learning – this feature is now blocked. You may only see your classmates’ addresses. This restriction reduces the possibility of mail address abuse, but unfortunately, there are student email addresses on unwanted distributions lists.

 

Spam

Many students at BI receive offers from bookstores, job agencies etc. Some of these feature a BI logo or another connection to BI. This is illegal use of BI’s name and branding. This is spam – as simple as that! The Legal department will try to follow and chase down those abusing the BI brand when possible, but in most cases, it is a waste of time. The spammers hide behind anonymizers and post box companies abroad.

There is not much the IT department at BI can do either. But you may help the email-community fight spam. In your email account at Office 365, there is a folder called Junk E-mail. Simply right-click one of the spam messages and click “Create Rule…” to create a spam filtering rule that filters this and similar messages directly to the Junk E-mail folder. 

Fighting spam is a game of catch up, you always feel like you’re running behind. The spammers keep changing the sender’s addresses and domains in order to avoid junk mail-filters. They also change their phrasing a little, to increase the chance of their spam slipping through the spam filter. Even so – you have nothing to lose on creating filters to automatically process spam messages. If you do not want spam mail from casinos, create a rule that filters all mail with the word “casino” to the Junk E-mail folder.

 

So – when you get something that seems too good to be true – it probably is!

 

What are the odds of you inheriting 10 million dollars from a distant relative in Kongo or winning 5 million dollars in a lottery you never even knew existed? The kind guy who will share his wealth with you if you can help him transfer the money out of his country? Surprise: He is after your money!

 

Virus

It is no longer popular to distribute viruses through email. It is just too easy to block all email viruses before they ever reach the user’s mail accounts. Instead, the bad guys send messages that try to fool you into visiting web pages with scripts that exploit unpatched security holes in your operating system or other installed software to auto-install malware on your computer. They also show you fake security warnings to trick you into installing software updates or “anti-virus software” that is really the opposite - malware that take control of your computer and basically can monitor everything you do, copy all files and even send out mail from your mail account. 

​More information and possible download sites

 

Last Modified: 06/03/2013 10:09