All incoming students upon deposit or registration are automatically assigned an email address. New faculty and staff members will receive their account information from the Human Resources Department.
If you are unsure of your e-mail username is, type your last name into the Directory. Or call 860.768.4357.
Your e-mail account information is used for checking e-mail, connecting to the wireless network on campus, and accessing the library databases. Students, faculty and staff get 1GB for e-mail storage. E-mail accounts include a calendar, contact list and task (to do list) that can be accessed from any computer and will easily sync with a mobile device.
Everyone is responsible for checking their own University of Hartford e-mail accounts. All official communication from the University, including e-bills, e-mails from professors, and password resets will be sent to the University address.
Graduating students (or those no longer registered for classes) are eligible to retain their @hartford.edu email account for one year, at which time an email is sent providing approximately three weeks notice regarding pending deletion. For example, students who graduate in May 2014 will be notified May 2015 before the account is terminated in June.
For any questions or problems with your account, contact the Computer Support Center at 860.768.4357 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Banned Email Attachments
The University of Hartford's e-mail system (mail.hartford.edu) is modified to help protect you from receiving computer viruses via e-mail. The system is configured to prevent "binary attachments" to messages of the following types from being transmitted through the system (this list is subject to change):
.asp .bat .com .cpl .css .dll .exe .hta .js .jse .pif .rar .scr .sct .vbe .vbs .wsf .wsh .zip
E-mail-born viruses are transmitted as attachments of these types, however, it is rare that people actually send each other files of these types. The viruses exploit weaknesses in the settings of users' e-mail programs to execute the attachments, often without the user's knowledge or intent, infecting the user's machine, and in turn, mailing themselves out to others without the user's knowledge.
Viruses can also propagate in files that are not being blocked, such as:
.doc .gif .pdf .xls
Files like these are frequently legitimately exchanged by people (not just viruses) via e-mail, so they are not blocked. Unlike the other types of attachments being blocked, files of this types must be explicitly opened by the user -- they don't just automatically open and execute in most e-mail programs, so you have a chance to detach and scan them with your antivirus program before opening them.
Note : ZIP files are on the list of attachments banned by the e-mail system, if you must send a ".ZIP" file, rename it to ".PIZ", and then send it, along with a note to the recipient instructing them to rename the file back to ".ZIP" before using it.
Does this mean I can't send files of these types?
You can still mail files of the blocked types, if necessary. However, you must rename the file's type (the ".exe", ".vbs" part) to something else before sending it.
For example, if you need to mail the file myhomework.exe, rename myhomework.exe to another name not on the list, like myhomework.exx and then send it. Provide an explanation in your message explaining that they must detach and rename the file back to myhomework.exe before trying to run it.
What will happen if I try to send a file of these types?
You will receive either an error message warning you that you cannot send such attachments with your messages, or you will receive a message back indicating this, depending on what e-mail program you use. The same will occur for people outside the University trying to send you messages containing such attachments. People will know when a message has not been processed for this reason - it won't just disappear!
Virus scanners are still important!
The blocking of binary attachments does not prevent you from receiving a virus via e-mail, it reduces the chances of that happening. You must still install and keep an up-to-date virus scanner on your computer. Our e-mail countermeasures do not relieve you of this responsibility! There are many ways to catch a virus aside from e-mail!
Why not just have the e-mail system scan for viruses?
We may have the e-mail server scan all messages passing through it for viruses at some point in the future. However, a virus scanner is only effective when the vendor that writes it has identified the virus, figured out how to detect it, and makes an update available to the public. This can take a day or two after a new virus is unleashed on the Internet. A number of the more recent viruses (SirCam, nimdA, etc.) did a great deal of damage before effective virus detection was available. However, they generally propagated through binary attachments of one or more of the types we are now blocking. So, even if the virus scanners are not able to detect a new virus, the e-mail system will effectively block them since it is already preventing the passing of the more dangerous types of files.
What have we been doing up to now?
The system is programmed to reject e-mail messages that appear to contain certain viruses by scanning them for specific traits of a number of the more recent viruses, namely, SirCam, nimdA, and Vote. However, this strategy has a number of weaknesses:
- Using a virus scanner, damage can be occurring while we are figuring out the latest virus and writing a filter to block it
- Viruses don't have a consistent "fingerprint" that we can search for
- We may block legitimate messages warning about the virus in addition to messages actually containing the virus
- By switching to the attachment blocking method, we will stop more viruses, while still allowing all legitimate messages through.
Best practices to avoid e-mail viruses
There are a few simple things you can do to avoid having your computer infected by an e-mail virus:
- Install and regularly update an antivirus program on your computer
- Never open an e-mail attachment, even if it appears to be from someone you know, unless you are expecting it, or the message contains a personalized explanation of what the attachment is, in the message from the sender
- If you are unsure about an e-mail attachment - write the person back to verify that they really sent you the message, and if not, delete it
- The e-mail system will block most attachments that are used by viruses to propagate through the Internet and infect your computer
- You can get around this restriction by simply renaming the file before sending it
- You must still install and use an up-to-date virus scanner on your computer
We have seen an increase in phishing emails here at the University of Hartford. ITS would like to remind everyone about things to look for when you receive a possibly dangerous email.
Something’s phishy if:
An email, text, or voicemail is requesting that you update/fill in personal information. Treat any communication asking for your credentials with extra caution.
- The URL shown on the email and the URL that displays when you hover over the link are different from one another.
- The “From” address is an imitation of a legitimate address, especially from a business or co-worker.
- The formatting and design are different from what you usually receive from an organization. This could be something like the logo looking pixelated or the buttons having different colors. There could also be weird paragraph breaks or extra spaces between words. If the email appears sloppy, start making the squinty “this looks suspect” face.
- The content is badly written. Sure, there are plenty of wannabe writers working for legitimate organizations, but this email might seem particularly amateur. Are there obvious grammar errors? Is there awkward sentence structure, like perhaps it was written by a computer program? Take a closer look.
- The content presents a false sense of urgency. Look out for statements like “failure to take immediate action will lead to your account being permanently deleted!”
- The email contains attachments from unknown sources that you were not expecting. Don’t open them, plain and simple. They might contain malware that could infect your system.
Another Phishy Scenario
A warning about increased phishing attacks with specific information about emails being received that seek to defraud members of the campus community. Based on reports received by ITS and Public Safety, the pattern has consistently been the same: the sender will appear as an individual in power, such as a supervisor or a professor. The initial contact will request help or assistance to create a false sense of urgency. Should the victim reply, the fraudster will request money be sent in the form of gift cards. This fraudster will specify the amount, the type of card, and how to include the activation code. These are NOT real requests and you should not send any money or reply to further communication.
Tips on what to look out for:
- The “from” address uses a known name but does not use a @hartford.edu email address. Instead, the actual “from” address displays a free email service. Please check the entire “from” address, not just the name listed.
- Be cautious of an unexplained or under-explained urgency.
If you see a suspicious email or believe you might be a victim of fraud, report it immediately to ITS at email@example.com or 860.768.4357; or Public Safety at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860.768.7985.
Anti-Spam Processing at Uhart
The university's email system is protected by an anti-spam device that helps stop spam from being delivered to your mailbox.
This device is called the Barracuda Spam Firewall 600.
It is a dual processor, "hardened" Linux-based system running special software designed to check email for spam and viruses, and to provide an easy-to-use web interface to allow you to modify your own anti-spam settings, and to process your "suspected spam" messages. All mail received from the Internet is first sent to the Spam Firewall which "scores" messages on a scale of 0 through 9 (0=it doesn't think it's spam, 9=it really thinks it's spam), and checks them for viruses, and then is passes them along to the email system for delivery to your account (if appropriate).
- Uses the collective experience of millions of email users to better identify spam than current methods
- Allows you to choose whether or not to have your mail scanned for spam
- Allows you to choose how aggressively your mail is scanned for spam
- You choose whether messages suspected of being spam are tagged and delivered to your account, or are held on the anti-spam system for your review
- Allows you to "whitelist" email addresses to assure that mail from people you know are received without risk of being blocked
How it works
About once per day, you will receive an email from "University of Hartford Spam Firewall" containing a report of email messages that have been classified as suspected spam by the firewall, and have been blocked from delivery to your mailbox. (If you have not received any messages that have been quarantined as suspected spam, you will not receive a report.)
You decide whether or not a message is spam by looking at who the message is From, and at the Subject as shown on the report. If you only have a few messages to review and process, click Deliver, Whitelist, or Delete using the links under the Actions column of the report. If you have a lot of messages to review and process, or if you want to change the way the system processes your mail, click the "click here" link at the bottom of the report. This will log you directly onto the system via a web browser.
Use the checkboxes to the left of the screen to select multiple messages and process them all with the single click of the Deliver, Whitelist, Delete, Classify as Not Spam, or Classify as Spam buttons above the report headings. If you're not sure what do to with a message based on its origin or subject, you can preview it by clicking on its From address or its Subject -- the message will be displayed in a pop-up window.
Deliver: Delivers message to your mailbox, removes it from quarantine.
Whitelist: Delivers message to your mailbox, removes it from quarantine, and adds the sender's email address to your "whitelist" so that future messages from this address will not be categorized as spam again.
Delete: Deletes the message without sending it through to your mailbox
Classify as Not Spam: Delivers message to your mailbox, removes it from quarantine, and helps "train" the firewall that this kind of message is not spam.*
Classify as Spam: Deletes the message without sending it through to your mailbox and helps "train" the firewall that this kind of message is spam.*
*A copy of the message is uploaded to the firewall vendor, Barracuda Networks, so that their anti-spam definitions can be updated to help block this type of message in the future.
When you are done working on the firewall, click the "Log Off" link in the upper right corner of the web page.
The Spam Firewall will filter email using settings and preferences set up by University of Hartford Information Technology Services. You may find the default settings are too "aggressive" (the system classifies too much "good" mail as spam), or too weak (too much spam still gets through).
Spam Firewall Login
To check your Spam Firewall quarantine without waiting for your daily quarantine report email message, log in using the password sent to you by the firewall. The automatically generated password is your email name followed by several random characters. You can change it (perhaps set it the same as your email password?) by filling out the screen above and clicking Save Password.
Don't know your password? Go to the Spam Firewall's login page.
Enter your email address in the Username field and click Create New Password. The Spam Firewall will send you an email message containing a newly generated password which you can then use to log in and set to one of your own choosing.
Add email addresses of people whose email you never want to have filtered by the Spam Firewall by adding them to the Allowed Email Addresses and Domains whitelist. (Addresses are also added here if you click the Whitelist button.) You can also block all email from a specific address by adding it to the Blocked Email Addresses and Domains blacklist.
Quarantine Settings screen
To turn off blocking of suspected spam, set Enable Quarantine to "No" and click the Save Changes button. It can be turned back on again at anytime. When Quarantine is disabled, messages suspected of being spam are sent along to your mailbox anyway, with the subject line modified to contain the phrase "[QUAR]" at the beginning. When Quarantine is enabled, the messages are held on the Spam Firewall to be processed as described above.
By default, the firewall will send a message once per day. You can change the setting to once per week, or to never send notices (you'd have to manually log onto the firewall to check for quarantined messages). The firewall will hold messages in quarantine for up to 30 days (subject to change).
Spam Settings screen
If you don't want your mail scanned for spam at all -- perhaps you're having difficulty receiving a legitimate message from someone, set Enable Spam Filtering to "No" and click the Save Changes button.
Want to change the thresholds at which the system classifies a message as spam? Set Use System Defaults to "No", click the Save Changes button, and then change the settings as described below.
The system assigns a "spammy-ness score" to each message it examines using several methods including, blocked network addresses, messages originating from known spam senders, messages containing spam-like "fingerprints" (as reported by you and other users with the Classify as Spam button described earlier), intention analysis, Bayesian analysis, and rules (banned phrases and attachments). The score can range from "0" (system does not think the message is spam) to "9" (system thinks the message is spam). You can control what the system does with the message, depending on how high (spammy) the message's score is. In the example shown above, the Tag score is 2.5, and the Quarantine score is 3.0. This means that any message whose score is below 2.5 will be forwarded to your mailbox as usual. Any message with a score between 2.5 and 3.0 will be "tagged" -- its subject line will be modified to start with "[SPAM?]" and forwarded to your mailbox as usual. Any message whose score is between the Quarantine score and the Block score will be quarantined as you specified -- either held on the firewall awaiting your decision about what to do with it, or passed along to your mailbox tagged with "[QUAR]" added to the subject line (if you've disabled quarantine). Any message with a score of 9 or higher will simply be bounced back to the sender without your ever having to deal with it.
- Even though the Tag, Quarantine, and Block scores appear to have "sliders" next to them, they are simply a visual representation of your setting - you can't slide them. To change a score, enter it in the box (it may contain a decimal) and click Save Changes.
- You can disable the quarantine function by setting the Quarantine score to 10.
- If you don't want any chance of blocking a message based on its spam score, set the Block score to 10.
- When you are done working on the firewall, you should click the "Log Off" link in the upper right corner of the web page.
- You should log onto the Spam Firewall at least once every few days and process any messages held in quarantine. Messages left in quarantine longer than 30 days (subject to change) may be deleted and are not recoverable. If you do not wish to process your quarantine folder, please disable quarantine for your accounts as described above so that messages do not build up on the firewall.
- The University has had email addressing schemes over the years, namely "@hartford.edu" (the current address), "@mail.hartford.edu", and "@uhavax.hartford.edu". If you are still receiving messages at the older addresses, a separate Spam Firewall account will be automatically created for each of them, and you will have to check each of them individually. You will receive a separate Spam Quarantine Summary email for each account, if they receive quarantined messages. (These messages contain a web link that connects you directly into your account on the firewall without logging in.) There is currently no way to combine the addresses/accounts on the firewall.
- No anti-spam mechanism is perfect. If you do not like the way the system works, you can opt out of it, or adjust its behavior.
- For questions about the system, contact the Computer Support Line at x5999, email ITS@hartford.edu, or drop by the Computer Support Center in CC113.