What is it?
Anyone with an email account is increasingly likely, from time to time, to be sent unsolicited/junk email, commonly known as 'spam'.
It is Hampshire County Council's policy to take all reasonable steps to prevent the receipt of such mail by the users of its IT services but without hindering normal business.
There are lot's of different types of spam (see types), but regardless of which type of e-mail you may receive in your Inbox, the action to take is always the same - use the spam button to report it and delete it from your Inbox.
Types of spam
Phishing emails look like they've come from websites you trust, such as your bank or credit card company, and will ask you to provide personal information such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information. Never respond to this type of email.
This type of spam is not really any different from junk mail delivered via the postal services. However, under an EU directive, anyone in the EU who wants to mail you advertising or marketing material on a regular basis must have your permission to do so.
Hoax virus warnings
These emails pretend to come from an authoritative source (eg. AOL, Microsoft, IBM) and warn about new viruses, encouraging you to forward the email to your friends and colleagues. Never forward this type of email. If you are unsure about it speak to your departmental IT support contact. Virus warnings believed to be genuine should be forwarded to IT Services Help Desk.
Pornographic and obscene
Pornographic and obscene text and images can be extremely upsetting and worrying. If you are particularly upset, talk to someone about your experience - you may want to speak with your line manager or contact the Employee Support Line.
Emails promising money (known as 'advance fee fraud')
There are a number of variations but typically, you will be promised a large sum of money if you help with transferring sums of money to the UK. Do not be tempted - responding to this type of email has cost many people thousands of pounds. Find out more on the Hampshire Constabulary website under Advice and Information.
Investment related fraud
Investment related fraud e-mail are on the increase, although there are no reports of any staff having been targeted as yet. Follow the advice provided above for 'advance fee fraud'. Get rich quick schemes rarely, if ever, deliver what they promise.
Emails which encourage you to forward further emails to all of your friends and colleagues are simply 'electronic chain letters'. Examples include referring to the plight of a terminally ill child, promising donations for treatment from a named organisation for every forwarded email.
All incoming email is scanned by a filter (a piece of software called IronMail) which decides if individual emails should be blocked, held in quarantine or delivered to your Inbox.
Regrettably, some spam may still be received directly in your Inbox but for every item received in quarantine or your Inbox, there are hundreds blocked by IronMail.
IT will consider requests to add the addresses of those sending spam to the spam filter, but please remember that, inappropriate email aside, what may be “junk” email to you may be of genuine business interest to a colleague, and that blocking from a particular source can only be applied on an all or nothing basis.
If the filter thinks that an email may be spam, it sends an email to the recipient entitled Email Filtering Service: Quarantine Notification.
Tip: Quarantine notifications can be sent twice daily. If you do not deal with the emails, they will be repeated in further notifications until they expire (after 14 days). If you are out of the office for a period of time, you will only need to open the most recent quarantine notice as this will list all current quarantined emails. All earlier quarantine notifications can be deleted without reading.
When you receive a Quarantine notification, click on the link in the email to open a list of quarantined email and follow the steps below.
For each e-mail, decide whether you want to Release or Delete it and tick the appropriate box - clicking on the Delete heading will quickly select all of the emails to be deleted
Tip: Deleting an email is the recommended action - if you release an email, make sure it's from a trusted source, as it is likely to be spam.
You will receive confirmation of the action you have taken - close the window
Delete the Quarantine Notification email.
Tip: Anyone who needs to check email regularly and is worried about missing email that might have gone into quarantine, then the advice would be to keep checking the link in your last quarantine email. Further quarantined messages will be available there until a new message is generated.
Spam in your Inbox
If you just delete spam emails from your inbox, it's likely that you will continue to receive spam emails from the same source.
If you click on the spam email and forward it as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org, you will help the system learn what is spam and improve its accuracy.Make it easier to report a spam email - set up a quick step which will forward the email to the spam address with just one click (see below)!
Set up a 'quick step' to report spam
Go into Outlook Mail and make sure the Home tab is selected
In the Quick Steps group click on Create New
An Edit Quick Step window will open
Type in a Name for your new Quick Step then click on the drop down arrow next to Choose an Action and select Forward message as an attachment (under Respond heading)
A To... field will appear, copy and paste this spam email address - email@example.com - into this field
Click on Add Action and then on the drop down arrow next to the Choose an Action field
Scroll down and select Delete message, this is how your window should look
Click on Finish
Your new Quick Step will now appear in your Quick Step group
To use the Quick Step, simply select a spam email in your Inbox, click on the Quick Step, a new email will open, click Send - the spam will be reported and deleted from your Inbox.
NB. Please do not send queries to the spamhelp email address - if you need help, contact Help Desk on 01962 847000.
Be very careful who you give your email address to.
Always tick the "no" check box when a company asks if it can share your email address.
Never reply to spam email - by doing so you are simply confirming that your address is genuine, the flood of spam emails you receive is certain to increase as a result.
Do not believe messages which claim not to be spam because you can unsubscribe from them by clicking on an 'unsubscribe' link - if you have not specifically requested a marketing message, it is spam - period.
And likewise, do not click the link to 'Unsubscribe' to mailings you never asked for in the first place - again, all this does is confirm to the spammers that your address is genuine.
Avoid using your email address on Web sites that offer 'free' services such as 'free' greeting cards or a joke a day - these companies often sell your address information to email mass-marketers.
Similarly, avoid giving out the email addresses of friends and colleagues to such companies and ask your friends and workmates not to do this with your email address.
If you are receiving emails from sites that you subscribed to, but now do not want to receive emails from, return to the site and unsubscribe to prevent further emails being sent.
How will I know if an email sent to me has been classed as spam?
All corporate users will receive email quarantine notices in their inbox which will ask them to decide if the quarantined email is a legitimate email or spam, and give them the option to delete it or release it.
Does IronMail scan internal emails?
No, IronMail only scans emails sent from outside of the corporate email service (eg internet mail).
How long do emails get quarantined for?
All quarantined emails will be held for 14 calendar days. During this time, you must decide whether to release or delete them. After 14 days the system will automatically delete them.
If quarantined emails get deleted, can you get them back for me?
No, they are permanently removed from the system.
What happens if someone is on leave/sick etc for longer than 14 days?
Any potential span will still be deleted after 14 days.
Why should I delete emails from the quarantine?
This will help the system learn what is spam and so improve its accuracy. If you let the emails expire from the quarantine, the system will not learn from them.
Does this mean that you are reading all my emails?
No the system automatically scans the emails for content, no-one reads individual emails.
If I receive spam email which is not quarantined, how can I ensure it doesn't happen again?
Please send any emails not caught by the quarantine to spamhelp.- open a new email, type spamhelp in the To... field, insert the spam email (Copy (Ctrl + C) and paste (Ctrl + V)) into the email. Please do not forward the email, as this does not include important header information needed for to deal with the spam correctly. Unfortunately anyone using a web based email system (such as OWL or mail) will not be able to do this.
Why do I still receive Spam - shouldn't Ironmail prevent it from reaching me?
Ironmail removes about 90% of unwanted mail which no one sees. About 5% is then quarantined and 5% sadly does slip though. It is an ongoing battle to try to prevent SPAM from getting through because SPAM is on the increase and the people that send it are constantly trying to find ways to get around the system. The way the SPAM filter works, is that it checks the email for its content and then gives the email a score. Based on the score it is given, it determines if the email should be blocked or not. Some of the ways the ‘Spammers’ are getting around this, is by, constantly changing the send from address that they are using, splitting up the words that they know will get checked e.g. V.I.A.G.R.A., or even copying the text into a picture so that it is not read as text.
Also, because SPAM is dealt with corporately, if an email is picked up by Ironmail and you delete the email, the score for that email will be increased. If other people in HCC get the same email and release it, it will counteract what you have done and reduce the score.
Why haven't I received a reply to the email I sent to the spamhelp email address?
The spamhelp email account is a completely automated system, so you will not receive a response to any emails sent to it. If you have a query, you should direct it to the IT Services Help Desk (tel:01962 847000, email:firstname.lastname@example.org)
How does IronMail work out what is potential spam?
IronMail uses a variety of rules, such as checking against senders email addresses, specific content, (words, URL’s etc.), senders domain address, if the sender address has been spoofed, if the email has been sent to multiple recipients. It is continually updating what it rates against, and IT Services are able to add specific rules if it is found that specific items of unwanted spam are still getting through.
Will our emails be checked for viruses?
Yes. All email is going through an Anti Virus check. Any infected attachments will be stripped out. Any non-infected attachments will not be scanned via the IronMail spam filters though, only message body text and email title.
How many quarantine notices should I receive per day?
A maximum of twice per day, at midnight and midday. If you do not receive spam, you won’t get a notice.
Can you delete all notices at once?
Yes, if you click on the word Delete above the selection boxes. all items will be selected.
If I release an email that has been quarantined, how long before it appears in my in-tray?
It should arrive in your in tray soon after you release it, but please allow at least 30 minutes for this to happen.
What do I do if I receive an email which contains “inappropriate” language/content?
If it is really offensive, contact the IT Services Helpdesk to have a call raised. This will be filtered ASAP.
How can I view an urgent email that has been quarantined?
You can access your quarantined items at any time by clicking the link in the last Quarantine Notification you received..
Can I create a bookmark/favourite in my web browser for my quarantine list?
No. The link in the Quarantine Notification email expires after 14 days so it is not practicable to do this.
Why do I occasionally get two quarantine notices for the same spam email?
This may occur if you have more than one full work email address or if the spam has been addressed to your Hantsnet ID
Why can't I use the Junk email facility in Outlook?
We cannot use this facility in Outlook because of the way that Outlook is set up for us corporately. Because of this , a corporate decision was been made to only use Ironmail and the Outlook facility has been disabled.
I don’t work at a school but have an HCC POP3/mail account -will I be included on the system?
Yes and you will also receive quarantine notices.
Children's Services FAQs
I work at a school and have an OWL account - will I get spam notifications?
Yes all corporate users will receive email quarantine notifications, this includes school OWL users.
I work in a school and have an HCC POP3/mail e-mail account - will I be included in this system?
Yes all POP3/mail users will be put onto IronMail. Please note you will not receive quarantine notices. This is because the system has no way of knowing whether an email address is for an adult or a child, and is to prevent children from releasing unsuitable emails. The system will automatically delete them after the required period.
We have our own mail server - will I receive quarantine notices?
No. Your emails will still be filtered for spam but you won’t receive notifications.
Can I report SPAM using the Spam Button from an OWL or @Mail service.
It is currently not possible to report or send any spam received within OWL or @Mail. If you receive SPAM, simply delete it.