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  #1  
Old 03-14-2008, 06:45 PM
Mike Richichi's Avatar
Mike Richichi Mike Richichi is offline
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Location: Chatham, NJ
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Default New Spam Firewall

Here's the text of the campus-wide message:

Quote:
CNS has been evaluating and testing the Barracuda Spam Firewall as a possible replacement for our current spam filter, and had planned to switch to it in the near future. This Friday, sending and receiving email off-campus was broken for several hours, due to our current spam filtering systemís licence expiring prematurely. When the license was extended, we had significant issues bringing the system back online. While email messages were only delayed and not lost, we consider this to be a serious problem. Due to this and other ongoing concerns we have decided to advance the replacement cycle of the spam filter and complete the upgrade today.

The new system behaves slightly differently than the old one, and we believe it will do a better job of filtering unwanted messages. You will still receive daily quarantine messages. The reports have the option to release the message, release and add sender to your "whitelist" or delete the message from quarantine. http://spam.drew.edu will still be available to examine your quarantine at any time, and allows you to configure some personal preferences as well.

While these interfaces may look different we believe they should be as easy if not easier to use than the previous system. You will also notice far fewer messages in your quarantine, which should make it simpler to find legitimate emails that were blocked. This is due to the additional filtering methods the Barracuda uses to block email from known undesirable origins. Also, current deny/allow from the old system will not be on the new system; we expect to be able to migrate them for you shortly.

We've been satisfied with the Barracuda product so far, and as our renewal for the old product was coming up, the timing was right to examine other products. We expect it to be more reliable than our old solution.

You will receive one more quarantine report from the old server, and clicking on the actions in that message will still work appropriately. In addition, the old spam filter will be available at http://oldspam.drew.edu/ for at least one week in case you need to review messages it has captured.

Please use this thread for questions, problems, and what we hope is positive feedback.
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--Mike Richichi
Director of Computing and Network Services
http://depts.drew.edu/cns/
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  #2  
Old 03-14-2008, 08:34 PM
Franklin K. Wyman Franklin K. Wyman is offline
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Default Why does CNS change software so often?

Sir:

I am a Ph.D. candidate, over 50 years of age, and not a genius at technology. Therefore, I strongly object to the seemingly constant changes in the various Drew software systems with which we are expected to deal. It seems that as soon as I learn how to deal with one system or interface, CNS discards it in favor of another that is even more arcane and complex.

The latest switch is a perfect example of this frustrating trend. With the soon to be outgoing system, the "delete" button was too small for anyone but an eagle-eyed undergraduate to detect. I became aware of its location only after I asked about it. Why did I have to ask how to delete mail that I do not want to read? If your objective in providing a spam filter is to avoid spam, why did you select a system in which the "delete" button is so hard to see? It would appear that the spammers are in league with those who designed the filter, or vice versa.

But, lo and behold, now that I have at long last figured out how to delete mail I do not want, I see that CNS has chosen a new system. My choices appear to be to ignore it or to take valuable time in learning a system, that, perhaps, will soon be replaced in its turn.

This must stop.

Franklin K. Wyman
Caspersen School
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  #3  
Old 03-14-2008, 09:09 PM
E. Axel Larsson's Avatar
E. Axel Larsson E. Axel Larsson is offline
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Location: Madison, NJ
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Franklin K. Wyman
Sir:

I am a Ph.D. candidate, over 50 years of age, and not a genius at technology. Therefore, I strongly object to the seemingly constant changes in the various Drew software systems with which we are expected to deal. It seems that as soon as I learn how to deal with one system or interface, CNS discards it in favor of another that is even more arcane and complex.

The latest switch is a perfect example of this frustrating trend. With the soon to be outgoing system, the "delete" button was too small for anyone but an eagle-eyed undergraduate to detect. I became aware of its location only after I asked about it. Why did I have to ask how to delete mail that I do not want to read? If your objective in providing a spam filter is to avoid spam, why did you select a system in which the "delete" button is so hard to see? It would appear that the spammers are in league with those who designed the filter, or vice versa.

But, lo and behold, now that I have at long last figured out how to delete mail I do not want, I see that CNS has chosen a new system. My choices appear to be to ignore it or to take valuable time in learning a system, that, perhaps, will soon be replaced in its turn.

This must stop.

Franklin K. Wyman
Caspersen School
With both the old and new sstem, it is not necessary to delete messages from the Quarantine manually. Messages that are not released by you are automatically removed after 7 days, so you can simply allow them to remain and they will expire on their own.

As to switching to the new product-- we did not intend to make the switch during the semester. We recognize that switching software during mid-semester is disruptive to the user community and would only consider such actions when absolutely necessary. As Mike's message indicated, we experienced a serious failure with the previous product this morning that resulted in a multi-hour outage of email service. This outage has been preceeded by a variety of persistent unresolvable problems with the product, that had resulted in us investigating the Barracuda product in the first place. This morning's outage was the last straw in a long history of issues.

Rather than continue to subject the University community to unreliable email service, we took the prudent course and cut over to the new system right away.

Also, please do keep in mind, that it is not always up to Drew University's CNS department when we implement a new piece of software. We are forced by industry trends and vendor's support policies to stay current with this software. When we switched from GWGuardian to M+ Guardian one year ago, this was not by choice. The vendor that supported the product had started to discontinue support for GWGuardian and was no longer keeping it up to date, pushing customers who were renewing their contracts to the new software. We were actually quit happy with GWGuardian would have been content to continue using it, but it was no longer being actively maintained by the vendor. It is simply not an option to be running an anti-spam and anti-virus product that is not actively updated by the vendor, as the system would be incapable of detecting new spam and viruses and this would be both an inconvenience and a security risk to the University.

Due to the persistent issues we've had with M+ Guardian since we were pushed to switch to it a year ago, and the failure we experienced this morning, we are exercising our option not to renew our contract for another year for that product and are putting the Barracuda in place two months ahead of schedule.

We've been evaluating the Barracuda for a while and are confident that it will provide more reliable service than M+ Guardian. The product's interface for users has been relatively unchanged for several years and we have every reason to believe that they will keep it as is with only minor changes for a while yet to come...
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E. Axel Larsson
Systems Architect and Director of the Enterprise Technology Center

Last edited by E. Axel Larsson : 03-14-2008 at 09:21 PM.
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  #4  
Old 03-15-2008, 01:13 PM
Meaghan E. Bratichak
 
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Default

I gotta tell you, I'm not thrilled. I got four emails with some variation of "please her sexually" in the subject line this morning alone. That's never happened before. Maybe it's just coincidental timing and actually has nothing to do with the new spam filter, but....
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  #5  
Old 03-15-2008, 02:13 PM
Michael J. Perez
 
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Default

Part of the Ship...Part of the Crew...The Dutchman Must Have A Captain
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  #6  
Old 03-15-2008, 02:45 PM
Andy A. Benavides Andy A. Benavides is offline
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Posts: 59
Default Did you ever wonder???

Did you ever wonder how chickens manage to get the yolk inside of the shell? It always gets me thinking...
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  #7  
Old 03-19-2008, 10:57 AM
Nicole T. Fredrickson
 
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Default More Spam Than Ever

With the last program we were using, much fewer spam emails got through than now. I constantly am getting emails about people wanting to deposit money in my bank account, women who want to hook up with men, working from home and getting paid.
I hate this, I wish we had stuck with the old one. I just thank god I wont be using the Drew mailing system much longer.
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  #8  
Old 03-19-2008, 03:22 PM
Scott Wood's Avatar
Scott Wood Scott Wood is offline
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Location: Morristown, NJ
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Default

I see that you've changed your settings, so you can expect to receive a lot less spam now.

I've noticed a few instances where people chose settings that will probably result in either additional spam in their Inbox or legitimate mail being discarded. Just to review:

There are three settings people can change: Tag, Quarantine and Block Most people will only want to change the Quarantine setting. If you are receiving too much spam, you can experiment with lowering the quarantine number. As you lower the quarantine number, you increase the chances that a legitimate incoming email message will end up in your quarantine. You will probably want to review your quarantine more frequently after making changes and perhaps whitelist legitimate messages that are being caught.

By default, we've set Block and Tag levels to 10 (disabled). If you choose to lower your Block number, it is not advisable to go much lower than 7. We've seen legitimate email score as high as 3 and I think in some circumstances might score higher. It's best to just quarantine these messages instead of Blocking them. If you end up with more messages in your quarantine than is manageable *and* you aren't seeing legitimate email messages in your quarantine, you may want to consider lowering your Block level, but we recommend being very conservative about making changes to the Block number.

Some people prefer use the Tag option. This adds [BULK] to the subject of any message that scores higher than your tag level. You can create a GroupWise rule to test for the presence of [BULK] in the subject of a message and move it to a designated SPAM folder. This allows you to quickly see suspected spam by viewing an email folder instead going to the web interface ( https://spam.drew.edu) or waiting for your daily quarantine report.

Hopefully this clears up any confusion about changing spam levels, but feel free to post followup questions here or to contact the CNS Helpdesk at x3205
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  #9  
Old 03-26-2008, 10:13 PM
John D. Muccigrosso John D. Muccigrosso is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 112
Default New quarantine

OK, so now quarantine seems to be activated on my account, even though I've set the quarantine slider to 10.

Oddly, the account name isn't mine...or not the simple version of mine anyway. It's actually:

user=jmuccigr.emppo1.drewdom@drew.edu
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  #10  
Old 03-26-2008, 10:43 PM
Jonathan B. Reams's Avatar
Jonathan B. Reams Jonathan B. Reams is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by John D. Muccigrosso
OK, so now quarantine seems to be activated on my account, even though I've set the quarantine slider to 10.

Oddly, the account name isn't mine...or not the simple version of mine anyway. It's actually:

user=jmuccigr.emppo1.drewdom@drew.edu

Actually that IS your account name. If you look closely you'll see your name, followed by the post office you're on, followed by the drew domain name. Think of it as a mailing address; if I sent you a post card at "John D. Mucciogrosso - Drew", I would not only get the post card back, but probably a snarky note from the post office asking why I presumed that they would know who and where you were from just "Drew". Fortunately, the GWIA is smart enough to be able to translate the internal addresses of user.post office.domain@internet domain into something the rest of the world can use and remember. This is pretty common on corporate email systems.
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