OIT Responds to Campus Email Frustrations

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If you’ve experienced more issues than usual with sending emails from your Georgia Tech account in recent months, you’re not alone.

“Having an occasional problem with spam getting through and emails bouncing back will always be a fact of life with email,” said Jason Belford, principal information security engineer in the Office of Information Technology (OIT). “But we’ve noticed a significant increase in these issues over the past few months.”

The first problem is that mail being sent to people off campus has bounced back to the sender, because the Institute has been put on block lists.

“When someone on campus falls for a phishing email, the bad guys are able to use that account to send out email,” Belford said. “When the spammers — disguised as Tech — use the compromised account to send out too much mail, external providers add us to their spammer lists.”

To remedy the problem, OIT provides training to help users understand how to avoid phishing attempts, which leads to fewer accounts being compromised.

Also, there is a cap on the number of messages any account can send out. So, once an account has sent out a large number of messages in a certain time frame, the messages are put in quarantine until someone can examine them and determine whether they are legitimate mass mailings, Belford said.

“This cap is high enough that you won’t exceed it,” he added. “It’s just a precaution that we’ve put in place to protect us if a spammer gets ahold of your account. If the messages can’t get out, then Tech won’t get blocked from other organizations’ lists.”       

And the new measures seem to be helping.

“In the past 30 days, we’ve blocked more than 105 million emails from compromised accounts from getting out,” said Pam Buffington, Georgia Tech’s email service manager.  

OIT is also working on improving the filters that catch spam and phishing emails.

“If users do not receive the bad email in the first place, then their accounts are less likely to be compromised,” Belford added.

For more information, email



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Created: 07/22/2013
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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