User:Huck/email filtering

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I am pleased to announce the availability of new features for our IMAP users. NC State has updated its servers to allow for server side spam filtering, vacation messages, and authenticated SMTP. Each will be explained below.

POP users -- server side filtering and vacation messages are only available to IMAP users. If you would like to discuss converting from POP to IMAP email, please contact and we'd be happy to discuss your options.

Server Side Filtering

Server-side filtering has many advantages over client-side filtering. First off, setting up a filter on your mail server instead of the email client on your local computer means that your mail is filtered all the time, even when you are not checking your mail. Also, even if you use another email client somewhere else (like WebMail, or a client at an Internet cafe), your mail will still be filtered as you like it. Two particular abilities of this new IMAP functionality will be discussed: Spam/Virus Filters and Vacation messages.


NC State University uses the PureMessage software to check for the likelihood of spam and viruses in incoming email messages. If a virus is detected, the server automatically strips the virus out of the message, and sends the rest of the message on to the recipient with an explanation of what has occurred. If the system determines that a message is Spam, a flag is placed in the headers of the email (not usually visible in your email client by default).

Until now, we have had the option of configuring your email client to filter email based on these flags provided by the PureMessage system. This does require that a) your client allows for client side filtering and b) that you setup these filters on all of your email clients. The creation of server side filters will help to do this centrally before the email ever gets to your client.

To enable server side Virus/Spam filters, please follow the instructions here:

Virus Filters: Spam Filters:

When you read these instructions, you will note that the recommendation of the University is that you use these filters to move emails into a "Spam" or "Junk Email" folder. This allows you to make sure that no email is incorrectly labeled as Spam or a Virus. You may then delete these emails at your convenience. Please note that this Junk folder must be a folder on the IMAP server and will count against your IMAP quota.

The system does allow you to simply delete these messages immediately. To do so, select "Discard Silently" under Step 7, rather than "Move message into".

However, please be aware of the *CONSEQUENCES* of doing so. IF you chose to 'silently delete' emails, you will *NEVER SEE* anything that the NC State email system declares as spam or a virus. This is a double edged sword -- while you will certainly receive less spam, you will not be aware of emails being deleted, nor will you have any ability to recover these messages -- they are gone. Be aware that this is a personal choice and that the NCSU IT Staff will not be able to assist in recovering any missing mistagged emails that result.

Please note that the system still does not catch all spam. I still receive a good number (though I am seeing much less, and as I have enabled the "discard silently" option, I am required to purge my inbox less than before). Central IT will continue to work on improving the filters to catch those currently slipping through the system. The Spammers are crafty, and it requires CONSTANT work on behalf of the IT Staff to try and keep up.


One of the server-side filters can also be used to take certain steps when you will be away from your email for an extended period of time. Commonly called a "vacation" message, this functionality can let you notify email correspondents of your absence, possibly giving them an alternate contact or date for your return.

Important notes about this functionality:

You can determine how often a vacation message will be sent back to someone. By defining this period of time, no matter how many emails someone sends you, they will only receive one reply from the system. For example, if you'll be gone for 2 weeks, you can set the interval for 7 days. Should someone email you during the first and second week, they will only receive one "vacation message" each week. Any additional emails they send you after the first will not result in a reply to them. This will prevent you from "spamming" people who send you a lot of emails while you're away.

You must remember to manually turn the vacation email OFF when you get back. There is no way to set a date to automatically start or end these messages.

Vacation emails will NOT be sent in reply to emails received from mailing lists.


To enable server-side vacation messages please follow the online instructions found here:

Once you create the vacation message, any new messages will now be replied to with your vacation message. This will take affect immediately.


Authenticated SMTP is a service that allows users to send mail from off campus using the on-campus outgoing mail server (SMTP). The service requires that you enter your Unity ID and password when sending mail. Now all NCSU students, faculty, and staff can use the outgoing mail server,, when either at home or on travel.

This will remove the need for laptop users to use WebMail when offsite and/or changing their Outgoing Mail Server information in their email clients. I know that this has been an issue for our traveling faculty.

Setting up your computer for AuthSMTP:

If you are running Symantec Antivirus 9.x for Windows, you will first need to make a modification before you can use Authenticated SMTP. SAV's Internet E-mail Auto-Protect will not allow Authenticated SMTP to work. Here is what you need to do to disable this function:

1. Open the SAV control console by double-clicking on the gold shield
   icon in your system tray (bottom right corner of the screen)
2. Select "Configure" on the menu tree on the left side
3. On the right side, select "Internet E-mail Auto-Protect"
4. Uncheck "Enable Internet E-mail Auto-Protect"
5. Click OK and you're done

Once you have configured the client and attempt to send mail, you MAY see a message asking you about a certificate. This is common and you can choose the option to accept permanently. This is an NCSU certificate and will not harm your machine in any way.

Details on configuring YOUR email client to use this service may be found at either of these two pages below.

Windows Users: Macintosh Users:

If there are additional features you'd like added to the NC State IMAP servers, please send suggestions to I'll make sure that we pass them along.