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When it comes to digital security, ‘everyone has to be vigilant’

More anti-spam measures are coming to Concordia
August 17, 2016
By J. Latimer

We all dread getting spam — from a harmless email advertisement to an attachment containing a computer virus.

“There are measures in place at Concordia to reduce spam,” says Mike Babin, director of infrastructure and operations for Instructional and Information Technology Services (IITS). “But the attacks are getting more sophisticated. Malicious email can easily masquerade as coming from a friend.” 

That’s why Babin’s team — acting on an initiative from Michel Robitaille, director of IT architecture, security and planning — is improving Concordia’s capability to intercept spam and other dangerous email by strengthening web and email gateway security.

Two new systems to help protect the Concordia University community from email and browser-based threats will be acquired, installed and implemented early this fall.

No filtering mechanism is bulletproof

The new programs will provide added functionality over the systems currently in place. Faculty and staff will have the option to review email filtered out as spam themselves — say, to look for a missing reply to a grant application — without having to contact IITS.

The new filtering software also comes with access to updated databases of attack signatures.

“On a typical day this summer, our four transport servers capture upwards of 120,000 pieces of spam and 86 viruses. This performance will get even better when the new programs are implemented,” says Babin. “Still, everyone has to be vigilant. We remind people to be sure they have security software on their desktops. It’s readily available through IITS.”

Robitaille agrees, noting that no filtering mechanism is “bulletproof.” The aim is to be as proactive as possible.

Find out more about IT security at Concordia.

Learn more about how to identify a phishing email.



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