ISS have always recommended the following mechanisms (Alternatives To Local Distribution Lists) for bulk mailing. No enforcement (or other action) on large mailings has ever been carried out.
However, for security reasons, users who currently send email this way are having their mail delayed. The article below describes the reason for the restriction and alternative methods of mailing large numbers of people.
Restrictions On Mailing Large Groups
Following a security incident in the December 2010, members of the University:
- may NOT use large 'local distribution lists'* to send email to large numbers of users.
- but can still use small local distribution lists to send message to small numbers of people.
*local distribution lists are any lists of email addresses held on the users computer for the purpose of sending bulk email through the University Exchange email system or any other University email systems.
Reasons For Restricting The Use of Local Distribution Lists
Restrictions on the use of local distribution lists (such as the facility in Outlook Contacts) is being introduced because of the security incident. In December 2010:
- a number of members of the University gave their Uinversity account details including their password to Phish attackers.
- the email accounts were hijacked and used to send large amounts of Spam to external addresses.
- external users reported the University as a source of Spam.
- the University was added to various Blocking Lists including a list run by Microsoft.
- as a result of being on the blocking lists, some legitimate mail sent by members of the University to external addresses never reached its destination. The recipient would not even know that someone had attempted to email them. The sender was informed in most cases.
The above incident was resolved by suspending the affected accounts, changing their passwords and making people more aware of the phishing attack emails. However it was recognised that this type of attack could happen again with serious results. It was decided to increase monitoring of outgoing mail and to delay and inspect large quantities of mail from individual users. In order to reduce the number of emails that need inspecting ISS is asking people to use the recommended alternative methods of sending large amounts of email.
There are three major alternatives to local distribution lists:
- LUSI Lists for mailing students.
- Exchange Lists for mailing Staff on-campus (with Exchange accounts).
- Majordomo Lists for mailing 'diverse groups' including off-Campus addresses.