NAU technology engineers fight back against e-mail spam

E-mail is considered an official tool of communication at NAU for its speed and efficiency. However, the increase of e-mail spam over the past year has made simple communication a difficult task, with some employees reporting hundreds of spam e-mails a day.

“My personal worst was 250 e-mails a day, and that was a few months ago,” said Sean Evans, who has been a reference librarian at Cline Library for 25 years.

Previously, all spam filtering was operated on the “jan” and “dana” servers, but the two servers were not sufficient.

Technology engineers at NAU’s Information Technology services addressed the issue by creating a new “cluster” of computers run by a sophisticated program called SpamAssassin. The cluster now filters close to 500,000 e-mails a day.

“This last fall we did quite a bit of work,” said Doug Pace, senior software systems engineer at ITS. “We moved where the spam filter happens to a cluster, so there are four machines dedicated to spam filtering on campus.”

SpamAssassin makes spam filtering easy for the technology engineers at NAU. The program is updated regularly to filter out even the most recent spam e-mails.

Employees may already notice a difference in the amount of junk e-mail they receive since SpamAssassin was implemented earlier this year.

“I’ve gone from probably 40 or 50 e-mails a day to about 10 to 12 that are a lot more appropriate,” Evans said. “I’ve noticed a big change.”

For information, call the ITS Solution Center: (928) 523-1511