SPAM is scanned in the School of Mathematics by two systems. The first is Proofpoint. The second is SpamAssassin. Once email has been scanned, it is filtered based on SPAM scores.

  • Proofpoint assigns a number between 0 and 100 as a SPAM score, if the score is 99 or 100 the email is marked by the header X-IAS-PPS-SPAM: YES
  • SpamAssassin assigns a number based on the sum of positive and negative tests applied to the email. The header X-Spam-Status: Yes

To filter based on these headers, you will need to configure filtering


Phishing email messages, and websites, are designed to steal information from you (e.g. account information, personal information, etc). 

If you see a link in a suspicious email message, don't click on it. Rest your mouse (but don't click) on the link to see if the address matches the link that was typed in the message.

To see the list of already known phishing / scam email attempts:

If you received a phishing email in your inbox and wish to report it, forward it to the following address:

Proofpoint Digest

You will receive an email with subject "End User Digest: XXX New Messages" each morning.  This email contains a digest of the messages that were marked as SPAM by Proofpoint.  Contained in this email are links to release the SPAM to your INBOX.  You may also Safelist the email to prevent filtering of this from address in the future.  The NotSpam button will inform Proofpoint that it has mislabelled this email as SPAM.

To manage your Proofpoint Digest, login to: Username is your IAS e-mail address (your, not

Detailed instructions are attached at the bottom of this page called: PPS_Digest.pdf

Spam Reporting

If you received spam in your inbox and wish to report it, forward it to the following address:

If a legitimate email was marked as spam, forward it to the following address: (false positive)

SpamAssassin Preferences

You may tweak the settings of SpamAssassin by editing a file in your home directory called ~/.spamassassin/user_prefs. If you find that email from Alice is being filtered incorrectly (you wish to receive email from this address), you may whitelist the addess in this file. If you find that email from Bob is not being filtered (you do not wish to receive email from this address), you may blacklist the address. Example:

whitelist_from alice@*
blacklist_from bob@*

The "*" in the address is a wildcard, you may whitelist an entire domain by using wildcards, to whitelist all of gmail, you would put whitelist_from * in your user_prefs.

SpamAssassin Training

You may train the Bayes filter on SpamAssassin by placing any SPAM that arrives in your INBOX into the folder "Spam" in your Mail directory.  To properly train the filter you will also need to copy good email or "Ham" into the folder called "Ham" in your Mail directory.  Email placed in either of these folders is automatically deleted after being added to the Bayes filter.  These folders may not already exist in your account, you can create them through pine or Thunderbird.  Please use the names "Ham" and "Spam" with the same capitalization.

See the following FAQs for more information:

PDF icon PPS_Digest.pdf382.51 KB