Do not use Outlook to access departmental mail

We are investigating reported issues with Microsoft Outlook having problems handling mail from our IMAP server.  The issue can result in failures to update folders and even the deletion of some email.

Until the issue is resolved, please use a different email client (Thunderbird or Apple Mail or pine, for example) or our webmail client (SquirrelMail).  There is a second, unsupported, webmail client, roundcube, which some people prefer (especially on mobile devices).

Email Fraud and Phishing

This is a reminder to be very careful to avoid email fraud, in particular phishing attacks.  These days spammers can target individuals much more easily and deliver emails which seem to come from trusted sources and may use your personal name (including nicknames).  They usually send you to a webpage that asks for passwords for email and/or bank accounts.

Please see the UofT webpage about this at Avoiding Email Fraud.

As usual, if you have any questions please send email to

Changes to the Spam Filtering Thresholds for UofT email

1) Due to large increases in spam emails arriving at the central UofT mail servers (UTORExchange, UTMail+, and UTORmail) they have decided to more aggressively filter email by default.  This may result in an increase in false-positives so people should check their junk email folders to ensure that no important email is being filtered.  More information is available at:

UofT Memo: Changes to Spam Filtering Thresholds

2) This does not affect our departmental email system (email addresses ending in or  For information about spam filtering here please see:

Departmental Email and Spam Filtering

New phishing email

A phishing email with subject line:

        Migrate to The new Outlook Web app for Staff

has been sent to some people in our department.  Please just delete it if you receive it.

Phishing email with Subject line “Department of Mathematics Activities”

Spammers are trying to phish Departmental usernames and passwords with emails with Subject lines:

Department of Mathematics Activities

The body of the message is:

We just concluded all University of Toronto Department of Mathematics Webmail account upgrade,follow the link below to confirm if your account is active and  upgraded.

Please delete this spam.

Phishing email with Subject line “Email Service Alert”

Spammers are trying to phish UofT UTORids and passwords with emails with Subject lines:

Email Service Alert

This message is particularly poorly written (at one point the message says to “enter your details incorrectly”) but the main clue that this is spam is that the link is not to the domain (you can determine the link by hovering on it in most browsers and email clients).  Do NOT click on links that you do not know to be legitimate.  Delete that email.


Our email system now greylists incoming email from many sites.  Currently we only delay for one minute but that may change as we adjust things to minimize spam.  We have a number of greylisting exceptions and if there is a particular site that you would like to be exempt from greylisting please let us know at

Email blacklisting for IOSR

Due to the repeated unsolicited email originating from the following senders:


we have started automatically directing email from those sites to the SuspectedSpam folder, with a label that says [BLACKLISTED].  If you need to receive email from that site please let us know and you can whitelist the required addresses (see our Email and Spam Filtering webpage for more information).

SpamAssassin email filtering to be added in early afternoon today

After more testing we have decided that SpamAssassin is ready to be deployed.  Starting in the early afternoon today we will put in this new filtering.  The SpamAssassin filtering is currently not aggressive, but as mentioned in an earlier post you should check your SuspectedSpam folder for the next little while to verify that things are working well for you.

As usual you please let us know at if you observe any problems with this.

Additional spam filtering with SpamAssassin

In order to lessen the number of spam emails making their way into users’ mailboxes and to have a fallback should our current system fail or is removed by the University, we will soon be adding another spam filtering mechanism, called SpamAssassin, to our email system.

SpamAssassin modifies the Subject line of messages that it thinks are potentially spam by adding “[SPAM <number>]” where <number> is larger than or equal to 5.  In our tests, with the default system settings, SpamAssassin did a very good job of detecting spam (of course, no spam filter is perfect).

SpamAssassin will use the same SuspectedSpam folder as our current spam filter (Puremessage) uses.  The Subject lines of most messages will have SpamAssassin’s and Puremessage’s estimate of the likelihood that that email is spam.  You should check your SuspectedSpam folder when this is first deployed to check that it is not too aggressive for your needs.

Manipulating the aggressiveness of spam filtering will remain the same, see our Emial and Spam Filtering  page for more information.

Another announcement will be made on this website when the filtering is implemented.