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Barracuda Spam Firewall

Posted: June 30, 2015

If you are using the College’s Exchange email system then you are benefiting from the College’s Barracuda system. Like a barracuda fish patrolling the harbor looking for its next meal, the Barracuda Firewall constantly patrols incoming e-mail looking for spam and phishing attempts.

In this series of articles we’ve reviewed the importance of avoiding falling victim to phishing schemes and the need to keep passwords safe.  While phishing attempts by text message is growing we are most vulnerable to phishing messages received through e-mail.  People using the College’s Exchange e-mail system see fewer phishing messages than many other e-mail users because the College has invested in the Barracuda Networks spam blocking technology.  By blocking or quarantining spam and phishing mail on its way in, we reduce the burden on you to sift through illegitimate email.

During a recent 5-day work-week, 82,383 pieces of email were sent to us from outside the College’s mail system.  Of that number over 11,500 looked suspicious – they were either blocked, quarantined and reported to you, or arrived in your mailbox with the indicator [suspected spam] in the subject line.

You may well ask why you still see spam and phishing messages if the Barracuda is patrolling the mailbox, and that answer is also to your benefit.  Working under the principle that allowing some spam to pass is better than losing even one piece of valid email, our Barracuda Administrators have configured the system to err on the side of allowing mail through.  Additionally, people who make a living with spam and phishing constantly improve their product to get it passed through filters, and people who sell filters are constantly improving their processes to catch spam.  It is a constantly evolving, high-tech game of leap frog.

This is just one example of how Ag IT is working to protect your data.  When all of us work together we can have a greater chance of securing Penn State’s data and networks, and of protecting and securing your personal and private information.