||A commercial anti-spam product is available for Waisman email
users. It is called
PreciseMail Anti-Spam Gateway from Process Software or
Before using this anti-spam filter, you need to be aware of what
it does. Therefore, it is not enabled for your Waisman e-mail
unless you specifically opt-in to use it. Please be aware of
these five points:
No anti-spam product is going to catch every spam message.
When you first begin to use an anti-spam product, there will be
messages that you want to receive that are mistaken for spam. These
are known as false positives.
If you communicate by email with an outside organization that sends you
important messages (e.g. a granting agency), you must put their address in
your list of allowed senders to guarantee you see their messages without
having to search through your quantaine (which could get very large). Please
do not add entire domains to your allow list (e.g *@hotmail.com) or the effectiveness
of spam detection will be reduced. Mail from any campus address gets
a boost and it will never get quarantined so there is no need to add
*@waisman.wisc.edu or *@wisc.edu to your allow list. Doing so will greatly
increase your spam.
Just because a message is from another Waisman or campus email address
does not guarantee it will avoid spam checking and possibly end up in your
quarantine. Some senders may choose to use off campus mail systems such as
yahoo, gmail, etc. but the message appears to be from a waisman or campus
address because they set their return address to that address. In this case the
message actually comes from an outside provider and will be checked for spam
which means it could end up in your quarantine. You may not realize this
unless you inspect the headers of the message.
Do not be tempted to add your own address to your allow list. Doing so will
guarantee you'll get lot's of spam. Remember, spam nearly always has a forged from
or return path address and very often it is your own address. Also use caution when
adding entire domains to your allow list. Adding *@wisc.edu would be a bad idea
and would cripple the effectiveness of the spam filter, resulting in more spam.
You can of course instruct PreciseMail that a message it has flagged
as spam is really not spam and you wish to have future messages from this sender
not treated as spam. Eventually, you will have a list of senders who's messages
should not be flagged as spam and the number of false positives will be very
low. False positives are typically newsletters or other messages from
organizations (vendors, groups, etc.) you receive on a periodic basis that contain
a links to web pages or marketing terms.
We already have a list of senders that will not be checked for spam because we
know email from them is of general interest to many people at the center.
These include email from any campus mail system, The State of Wisconsin,
Community of Science and popular vendors (Dell, Orbitz and most major
airlines). You can suggest additional senders be added to this center wide list
of allowed senders when using PreciseMail.
Please keep in mind that the sender's From:
address has absolutely nothing to do with where the message actually originates
from. Spammer's take advantage of this to make you think a message came from
someone on campus. This also means that mail from a sender with a
campus address doesn't always mean it came from a campus email system if the
sender has chosen to use an outside email provider such as yahoo or gmail. Such
messages will be checked for spam an could end up in your quarantine.
Those are the basics. You really should know a bit about how it works before
you opt-in to use it. Each person has a "quarantine" where messages that are
likely to be spam will be kept for 28 days. This means when a message is
received that gets flagged as spam, you won't receive it as an e-mail - it will
be in the quarantine for 28 days instead. You have 28 days to view and/or
release it from the quarantine or it gets discarded. So you will need to view
the messages in the quarantine to see if there are any you really want - false
positives. When first starting to use PreciseMail, you'll want to look in the
quarantine often to make a message you really wanted wasn't marked as spam.
After you tell PreciseMail a quarantined message is not really spam, it won't
bother to check future messages from that sender. Soon, you will have a good
list of allowed senders and won't need to check the quarantine at all
except when you don't receive a message you were expecting.
How to use it
PreciseMail has an easy to use web interface for:
- viewing, releasing and deleting messages in the quarantine.
- changing your list of allowed and blocked senders (allow and block lists)
- setting other personal preferences.
To use the web interface you need to enter your Waisman username and
password to login.
After you enter a valid username and password to login, the
start page appears with a list of choices. One of these
is Set Your Preferences. You follow (click on) this link to
opt-in. After you set opt-in you need to click the
Update Basic Preferences button to save the setting. After the
setting is saved, future e-mail to you will then be checked for spam
by PreciseMail. To verify this, watch for additional headers that begin
with X-PMAS on new e-mail messages.
To try the web interface and/or opt-in, visit:
If you have other e-mail addresses forwarded to your waisman address
(a @wisc.edu address for example) you can request an alias for
the other addresses so you will receive a single spam report for all
your e-mail. Contact Carl Karcher
to request an alias for other addresses
you might have that are forwarded to your waisman address.
How it works
Incoming e-mail messages sent to you are inspected for known spamming
techniques using a set of rules. The rules include various tests that look
for certain words, phases and
punctuation within the each message and check if the message headers are
Many different tests are performed on each message. These rules are
automatically updated to keep up with current spamming techniques as
they are discovered.
Each test performed on a message has a score assigned to it.
This score is known as the spamicity. Each test the message
fails increases the score for the message and also adds a header to the
message. If the total score from all the failed tests is 5.0 or more
but less than 50, the message is considered spam and it will get delivered to
your quarantine instead of your mailbox. If the message has a spam score of
more than 50, it's almost certainly spam and will be in your discard area. You can
change these values that trigger quarantining or discarding by following "Set Your
Preferences" then "Spam Thresholds" on the web interface just after you logon.
Once per day at 7AM you will receive a spam report via e-mail from
PreciseMail of messages
that were quarantined since 7AM the previous day. The report
contains the sender's address and subject of messages that were
quarantined during the previous 24 hour period. Keep in mind this
report ends at 7AM on the current day. Other messages can appear
in the quarantine later in the day and those will appear in tomorrow's
spam report. Please note that this report does not contain messages
with scores over 50 that are in your discard area since it will be
rare that a message you want is there.
If you notice a message in the quarantine report that you would like to
see, you can request that message be delivered to you by clicking on it or using
the web interface. You may also allowlist the sender's address so a
future message from that sender won't get quarantined again. Instructions are
in the spam report you will receive. You have 28 days to request a message be
retrieved from quarantine or discard, after that it's discarded for good. Keep in mind if
you use the web interface to view the quarantine regularly you can probably
ignore the daily quarantine report that's e-mailed to you. You can also
tell precisemail not to e-mail you the report from the "Set Your Preferences"
link on the web interface.
Remember, if you notice mail getting quarantined from a sender that may be
of interest to others (research journals for example), you can use the web
interface to send to administrator to have future messages from the same
sender be considered for inclusion in a center wide list of allowed senders.
The User's Guide for the product can be viewed from the vendor's
web site at:
For questions or problems with the PreciseMail service please contact
© 2013 Waisman Computing Services
| Contact us
| March 11, 2013