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Durham University

Computing and Information Services

Frequently Asked Questions

List of FAQ categories

Email (General)

+How can I email all my students at once?

A mailing list can be created by following the instructions at:

+How do I find out what my Durham email address is?

Vist the user details web page at:

You will be prompted for your CIS username and password. Your email address will be displayed along with other useful information.

This web page is also available from the ITS Utilities menu on NPCS and MDS systems.

+How should I respond to unwanted email -- should I just delete or reply with unsubscribe?

It is a frequent occurrence to receive unwanted email messages, often advertising pornography or 'get-rich-quick' schemes. Many of these unwanted email messages inform you that you can "unsubscribe" or be "deleted" from the mailing list by replying to the sender. Our advice is that, in general, you should NEVER do this. By sending back an "unsubscribe" or "delete" message in response to an unsolicited email, you are confirming to the sender that your email address is valid, and that you are reading the email messages. This is most likely to cause your address to be added to more lists, and increase the unwanted email that you receive. Unless the unwanted email is itself pornographic or offensive, our advice is to just hit the DELETE button whenever you receive such a message. If the email is pornographic or offensive, please forward it to (always with the full message header information).

+I received spam that claims to come from my own address, has my account been compromised?

Keep in mind that most email headers are easily forged and may contain anything at all. Spammers use a variety of techniques to confuse recipients, presumably in an effort to minimize complaints. One such technique is to send their junk with headers that make it look like it came from the recipient.

Unfortunately, this is a common problem on the internet. This happens to all institutions and we are powerless to stop spammers from spoofing Durham email addresses to making users believe an email was sent from a certain address.

+Is it possible to set email groups by course code?

Yes, indeed we encourage this. Please forward details of the courses, lists, etc. to

+Is there any email best practice advice?

Please see the URL below for further details.

+What is Major Cool?

MajorCool is a WWW interface to Majordomo. It can be used if you are a list-owner wanting to change a list in some way. More details on Major Cool can be found at:

+What is the policy on e-mail filtering?

What is the University’s approach on email content filtering?

University email is not censored or filtered based on the type of content, other than to detect and prevent cyber threats including phishing, malware and unsolicited email (spam).

How is email filtered for information security purposes?

The University uses email security solutions to protect University members from cyber security threats and to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of University information and systems. This includes email filtering to detect and block spam and malicious content such as phishing and malware. What is determined as a threat or content to be blocked is determined by a combination of automated software and security specialists based on experience, research and threat intelligence.

Email that the University’s security software or the University security team believe to be a threat or unsolicited (spam) is blocked from reaching end users’ email accounts.

Email that the University’s security software suspects to be spam but without a high degree of confidence is tagged as such in the email header and delivered to users. Users can filter this out of their inboxes automatically with a rule, or check the content manually to determine whether it is wanted or unwanted. Please use caution and follow CIS’ guidance on email security when doing this as it is a possible threat that has not been automatically detected. The most secure option is to be suspicious and delete such messages.

No IT solution is 100% accurate and unfortunately some threats do get through the University’s systems to users. On occasion legitimate email is incorrectly categorised as a threat and blocked. These systems are monitored and tuned regularly in order to try to prevent and rectify this.

The security filtering that takes place does not typically cause noticeable delay of email delivery.