Spam Filter

These answers pertain only to the Sophos Email Appliances spam filtering at

  • Inbound email before it reaches Google Apps.
  • Outbound email before it reaches the Internet.

These answers do NOT pertain to:

  • Mail found in your Google Apps Spam Label (folder).
  • Mail filtered into your Outlook or Apple Mail Spam/Junk folders.

FAQs about

How long does the spam filter hold my blocked messages?

The default timeframe before the spam filter removes a blocked message from the quarantine is 30 days.

How can I keep legitimate, work-related messages from being blocked?

Log in to to add the sender to the approved senders list.

I am receiving spam messages that are not being blocked. How may I keep these messages out of my inbox?

  • If the spam are from a consistent sender, either filter them with your Google Apps filters, or your email client's filters or log in to to add the sender's email address to the blocked senders list.
  • If the spam are not from a consistent sender, just delete them as they appear in your inbox. 

Why am I receiving more spam than usual that is not getting blocked? Why did I receive a message that is obviously spam?

Fighting spam is an "arms race" type of struggle, where sometimes the spammers figure out how to get a message or series of messages through. When this happens vendors of anti-spam software, such as the spam filter, soon make adjustments to the tests they use to block the spam. Yes, getting some of these spam is frustrating or even upsetting or revolting. However, no spam filter is 100%. As of May 2016 spam and blocked messages are running about 2.5 million per week, nearly all spam that we get. However, some individual spam or spam campaigns may get through.

Are alumni email accounts included in the spam filter?

Alumni accounts are included in the spam filter. This includes blocking inbound/outbound emails containing patterns that match Social Security or Credit Card numbers.

I am getting hundreds of "Delivery Failure" bounce back messages! What can I do about it?

In order of frequency, this may be the result of:

  1. A criminal chose your email address as the return address on his or her spam campaign.
  2. You responded to a phishing email with your Pepperdine NetworkID and password; then a criminal used your actual account to send his or her spam.

Since the actual delivery failures are legitimate, they can't be blocked. The Service Desk should be able to help you create an email filter in Google Mail, and help you use that to move the messages to the trash.

My mass-mail or service vendor wants some whitelisting with the SPAM filter; how do I do that?

Whitelisting is not an "on-request" service because it is overwhelmingly not necessary with the technology we are using and is a resource burden on the system. You are required to catch a message in the "Quarantined spam and bulk messages" digest email before whitelisting will be performed. Have your vendor send you a test message; if you find your test message in the digest or quarantine don't release it! Instead, email with the exact "To:" address and "Subject:" lines and your contact information. Information Security will research the email and contact you to begin the whitelisting consultation.

Where do I report spam?

The spam filter stops 99.9+% of spam, but some gets through every day. Do not report spam. Just delete it.


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