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SPAM Mail Issues And TechMail Changes
The level of unwanted electronic mail (SPAM)
received by TechMail servers accounts for almost
70% of total mail received currently.  This
activity is causing two major problems that Texas
Tech must address:

1. University resource consumption, and
2. The “black-listing” of our mail domain by
external mail servers.

Currently, the TechMail system “scores” each
incoming message and delivers those deemed
“suspect” to your “Junk E-mail” folder.  Over the
past several years, there has been a consistent
increase in complaints about the amount of spam
being received.  At the rate that spam is
increasing, it is becoming costly and infeasible
to allocate increased needs of IT resources to
handle this high volume of SPAM. 

Effective April 18, 2007 (next Wednesday),
received messages with a high SPAM-likelihood
score will be returned to the sender and not
directed to any mailbox.  By rejecting and
returning these messages to the sender, we are
able to more efficiently utilize our resources for
legitimate academic and business activities.  In
the rare instance that a “good” e-mail is tagged
as spam, the sender will receive a notification
that the mail was not delivered. Messages with a
lower SPAM-likelihood score will still be
delivered to your junk mail folder.

In terms of the second problem, forty percent of
the TTU community (mainly students) redirects
their TechMail address to another mail system,
such as AOL, Yahoo!, MSN/Hotmail, and Gmail. This
is a legacy practice created to handle quick
communication with incoming students.  Since then,
our mail infrastructure and Help Desk services
have been increased sufficiently to handle all
mail (and support issues) without an automatic
re-direct to an outside account. This is different
from the normal forwarding of mail by individuals.

Because a majority of the redirected mail is
scored as SPAM, external entities are frequently
blocking mail from TTU.  Once we have been added
to a blocked list, significant staff resources are
required to change our status.  Effective
immediately, TechMail mailboxes will be created
for all new eRaider accounts for faculty, staff,
and students.  We are also developing a migration
plan so that current automatic redirects will be
disabled by January 2008.

Following is a summary of the impact expected from
these two actions:
- reduced volume of spam mail delivered to users;
- avoid an increase in IT infrastructure costs;
- better utilization of allocated mailbox size;
- increased mail delivery speeds; and
- reduced exposure to malicious contents (worms,
viruses, etc.) contained in spam mail (most of
these are already stopped by anti-virus systems in

If you have questions or need assistance, please
contact IT Help Central at 742-HELP (4357).

TTU Office of the CIO