Spam on the Google@UH email service is managed by Google. Email messages that Google deems highly likely to be spam will not be delivered to your mailbox and are instead placed in the folder labeled "Spam" (or "Gmail/Spam" if using a mail client). Messages in the spam folder are held for 30 days then automatically deleted.
Spam is unsolicited email messages sent to your account. Spam is also referred to as "unsolicited commercial email" and "unsolicited bulk email". They range from harmless advertising to potentially offensive (complete with pictures). Spam is very similar to "junk mail" that you receive in your regular postal mailbox.
Spammers (the people who send spam) "harvest" email addresses from various places. If you have done anything on the Internet at all (register a software product, participated in a online discussion board), your address could potentially be harvested by spammers.
Even if you hardly do anything on the Internet, as long as you have some kind of presence (even just an email address), your address could still be the target of spam messages. Spammers have been known to launch attacks similar to "cold calling"; they'll keep trying email addresses until they find a valid one. For example, a spammer could send a message to hawaii.edu addresses and just use all known common first names before the @ sign. The invalid ones will bounce, but the valid ones will get delivered.
Google uses a combination of algorithms and reporting tools to protect against spam, viruses, and phishing attacks. Using the same advanced computing infrastructure as its search engine, along with a vast community of users, Google touts having one of the best spam blockers in the business.
For more information on Google and spam, click on http://www.google.com/mail/help/fightspam/spamexplained.html.
Note that the email@example.com address is just for reporting spam. Any questions should be sent to the ITS Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spammers are very aggressive in finding new ways to get their spam through any protective measures. ITS is making a concerted effort to isolate spam email before you receive it. But given differences in perception, there will never be a way to automatically identify 100% of spam without also blocking some amount of email that would be considered legitimate. It is very important that spam blocking is not overly aggressive such that legitimate email is also blocked. There are other emerging approaches to dealing with spam. Some involve the use of specialized or single-use email addresses and many of which require some amount of manual intervention at least once on the part of the sender or receiver to identify legitimate messages. ITS will continue to monitor the tools available to do our best for our email users.
To report a suspicious email saying it's from the University of Hawaii and asking for confidential information:
FIRST: Check to see if the phishing attempt has already been reported by looking at the Security Alerts listing on http://www.hawaii.edu/its/
To prevent compromises:
If you suspect that you are compromised...