Postini SPAM and Virus Filtering

The Message Center 

The Message Center is your personal area where potential junk and virus-infected email is held. The Message Center is also a starting point for you to configure SPAM filters and the settings of other email applications.

You should review the detained messages and choose to remove or deliver them. You can also safely read the contents of a virus-infected email without the risk of harming your system.

As a reminder, you'll receive a regular message directing you to the Message Center to review detained email. If a potentially dangerous virus-infected message is detected, you are immediately notified via email. It is recommended that you check your Message Center often at first so your filters "learn" to be more effective and accurate.

All email messages in the Trash are automatically deleted by the system on a periodic basis.

Message and Delivery Confirmation

Review the detained message. REMOVE the message if you don't want it, DELIVER it to your email inbox if it is a message that you want to keep. When you deliver the message, you will be asked whether you want to add this sender or mailing list to your Approved Lists which allows that sender to always bypass the Junk Email filters. Adding your friends, family and colleagues is an excellent way to improve the accuracy of your Junk Email filters.

Delivered Folder

This folder contains a copy of messages that you delivered to your inbox. Copies of these messages are kept in this folder 14 days after original receipt.

Removed Folder

After you deliver legitimate email or remove junk email, messages are moved to the Removed Folder. Keep in mind, all email in the Removed Folder will be permanently deleted by the system on a periodic basis.

By clicking "Empty Trash", all messages in the Removed Folder will be permanently deleted with no method of recovering them.

Message Center FAQ

How do I set up my SPAM filters?

  1. Once you have logged into the Message Center, click on the link at the top that is labeled 'Junk Mail Settings'. Make sure that the 'ON' button is selected.
  2. The SPAM Filters are designed to give you optimum control over how aggressive the filters should be. After you've selected the levels, be sure to click 'Save Changes'.
  3. The Sender Lists allow you to designate individuals or domains that will bypass the filters or determine addresses that will be blocked regardless of content. It is recommended to add friends, family, and associates to the Approved Sender list.

Does the Message Center offer POP access?
No, at this time the only way to enter the message is via a web browser.

What if I don't want these email services?
This service is user-configurable, allowing you to simply turn off one or all email services. Typically, email providers will determine default settings for their users. If those setting are too intrusive or not effective enough, you are welcome to adjust them at any time.

Will it still work if I change my email service provider?
No, this service is unique to your email address.

Does the service work when I send mail or only when I receive it?
The current email applications only work on inbound email.

Why do I need to enable cookies when logging into my Message Center?
The purpose of cookies is to identify you as a unique user and prepare web pages that reflect your personalized applications. When you enter the Message Center using cookies, the experience is customized-your application settings, your quarantined email. Some information, such as your login email address, is packaged into a cookie and sent to your web browser which stores it for later use; for example, the next time you log in, your browser will send the cookie so that only your password is required-saving you time. We do not track personal information in its cookies or request any personal information through the Message Center-cookies are simply used to ensure you are in control of your email.

How can I read a quarantined email?
Once logged in you will be taken to the main Message Center page where you can view your quarantined email.

What happens to email I delete from the Message Center?
Once email has been deleted from the Message Center it is placed in the Removed Folder. Messages will be permanently deleted from the Removed Folder on a periodic basis.

What happens to email that I deliver from the Message Center?
When you deliver email from the Message Center, it is forwarded directly and immediately to your inbox. A copy is also placed in the Delivered Folder. Messages are permanently deleted from the Delivered Folder on a periodic basis.

Do the email services make email slower?
There is no noticeable latency especially since email delivery does not typically occur in real-time. We use enterprise-class servers that are capable of processing millions of messages per day-each message within milliseconds.

What operating systems are supported?
Mac, Windows 95 through XP and Unix (Solaris and Linux).

What browsers are supported?
Version 4 (v4) and above of Netscape and Internet Explorer.

Junk Email Assistant

The Junk Email Assistant will filter unsolicited commercial email once you activate the service, by selecting ON from the Junk Email configuration page. To improve the effectiveness of your filtering, you should further adjust the settings with the SPAM Filters and Sender Lists.

To increase the accuracy of your junk email filters, you should add the email addresses of your friends, family, and work associates to your Approved Senders list. This allows all familiar senders to bypass the filters. Second, you can adjust the SPAM Filters to meet the level of protection that suits you best. And for the annoying mailing lists and senders, Blocked Senders list is also available to block all messages from those senders.

You will receive a regular summary of quarantined messages. You should visit the Message Center often to help the service adapt to your needs. There is a possibility that "legitimate" messages may be mistakenly detained in the Message Center. If you "Deliver" the message, you will be given the opportunity to add the sender to your Approved Senders list, increasing the accuracy of your filters by allowing email from that sender through.

Junk Email - SPAM Filters

The SPAM Filters increase the sensitivity of your junk email filters to meet your personal tolerance levels. The filters intelligently recognize characteristics that are typical to junk email of these category types:

If you find not enough junk email is being directed to your Message Center, increase the filters toward agreessive. However, the more stringently you set the sensitivity, the greater the opportunity a "legitimate" message might be mistakenly quarantined. It is important to carefully set the filter levels to meet your personal needs - and to adjust them as you deem necessary.

A Lenient setting will allow more junk email into your inbox, however, there is less chance that "legitimate" email will be unnecessarily directed to your Message Center as junk email.

An Aggressive setting keeps fewer junk email in your inbox, however, there is greater chance that legitimate email could be mistakenly detained in the Message Center.

Junk Email - Sender Lists

Approved Senders

Add email addresses to the Approved Senders list if you want email from those senders to bypass the Junk Email Assistant, regardless of what filters may be active.

You can add or delete senders to the list manually as you would block senders. Addresses can also be added to the Approved Senders list automatically when you deliver email from your Message Center and it asks whether you want to add that name to the Approved Senders list. Select the addresses that you want to add and click continue.

Mailing Lists and email-based newsletters can also be approved to bypass the filters. Email headers for Mailing Lists are not all formatted like your personal email and require some extra attention to pre-approve. Look at a copy of the mailing list that you want to add - if their email address is located in the TO: field, then add it to the Approved Mailing List. If the Mailing List's email address is located in the FROM: field, add the email address to the Approved Senders List.

Please note that mailing list addresses are often long and can change slightly from issue to issue. To ensure the newsletter isn't quarantined, you may want to add only the domain of the mailing list. For example, add "mailinglist.com" and ALL email messages from that domain will bypass the filters.

Blocked Senders

Add email addresses to the Blocked Senders list if you repeatedly receive objectionable email from the same individuals or organizations. This list might include a SPAMmer, someone who keeps sending you chain letters, or a subscription that you can't unsubscribe from. By adding a sender to the Blocked Senders list, all messages from that sender will be directed to the Message Center.

If you decide that a message from a blocked sender should be delivered to your inbox, simply select Deliver, and it will be sent to your inbox. You may modify this list at any time by returning to this setting.

Junk Email - FAQ

What makes the Junk Email Assistant filters different from the SPAM filters found in my email application?
The mail filters found in email products have a number of limitations and often assume a "one size fits all" solution. You are often expected to develop your own filter rules from the limited tools provided. Further, you must still download email before the mail client can filter it, possibly wasting time and bandwidth while waiting to read mail, such as SPAM, that you would not want anyway.

With the Junk Email Assistant filters, all email processing is done behind the scenes before it arrives in the inbox. This saves time and bandwidth by not forcing you to download superfluous email, such as unsolicited offers. Moreover, improvements are done without modifications to your email services or email client. The Junk Email Assistant performance is superior, identifying up to 95% of your junk email.

How do I know junk email is being filtered and not my regular (legitimate) email?
An advanced filtering technique is used built on heuristic rules, lists of approved and blocked senders, and databases of known junk email to maintain the effectiveness of the rules system. Despite these advanced measures, some good email may get caught since the concept of junk email is subjective (one man's trash is another man's treasure). To remedy this, we let you set a lenient-to-aggressive tolerance for filtering suspicious email: lenient filtering potentially lets more junk email through, but also minimizes the risk of legitimate email from getting mistakenly directed to the Message Center; conversely, aggressive filtering catches more suspicious email at the risk of mistakenly diverting normal email to the Message Center. You're notified with regular summary reports of your Message Center activities. With the right configuration, less than 1% of valid email is falsely identified as suspicious.

Does someone read personal emails?
No. All email processing is done through automated filters. Further, it is unlikely that a particular email stays around long enough since a single message is processed within milliseconds and does not write valid messages to disk. In the event a "suspicious" email is discovered, it will be directed to your private Message Center pending your review.

How do I get notified when email is quarantined as suspicious junk email?
A regular report is sent via email of newly quarantined email. However, you can log in to the Message Center at any time to monitor and review detained messages.

What if I want to receive junk email?
Click on the Junk Email link at the top of the Message Center, and click on OFF.

However, if too much legitimate email is detained, first try setting the SPAM Filters to a lenient setting. It also helps to explicitly list certain email addresses to allow their messages through the filters, regardless of content. Do this by entering valid addresses in the Approved Senders field.

What happens in the event that the email pre-processing servers fail?
A large number of enterprise-scale servers dedicated to processing email are deployed. However, in the event of a catastrophe, email will be passed around the system by defaulting to your email provider's regular mail servers. There will be no noticeable performance hit. Any suspect messages that were diverted to the Message Center are stored on redundant disk storage devices that are backed up.

How often is email deleted from the Message Center?
Email messages are kept in the Message Center for 14 days following the receipt. Email service providers will send an email activity report on a regular basis to remind you to check your Message Center.

What if I receive SPAM, what should I do with it?
If junk email reaches your desktop and appears in your email inbox, you can simply delete the message or forward it to SPAM@postini.com. This allows us to use the email for future enhancements. You can also visit the Message Center and add the sender's address to your "Blocked Senders" list if it appears to be a repeat offender, preventing that sender from reaching the inbox again. It might also be useful to try increasing the sensitivity level in the configuration.

What if legitimate email is quarantined in the Message Center?
Unfortunately, some legitimate email may be erroneously directed to your Message Center. This is due to the subjective nature of email messages and what could possibly be considered junk email. If a significant amount of valid email is being misdirected to the Message Center, a list of approved senders can be built, thereby minimizing the possibility of detaining a valid email in the future.

From the Message Center, click "Deliver" for any legitimate email and you will be asked if all messages from this sender should be delivered--that sender is then added to the "Approved Sender" list. Next time, messages from that sender will not be detained unless the Virus Assistant is active and detects a virus from that sender. You may also manually build your approved senders list by visiting your junk email settings.

Does the Junk Mail Assistant watch for obscene language and other questionable content?
The Junk Email Assistant is tuned for identifying unsolicited commercial email (UCE), otherwise known as SPAM or junk email. This is somewhat different than filtering specifically for content, like most email filtering. For example, a friend sends a joke containing obscenities. This originates from a known source, whereas a message of unknown origin containing obscenities that refers to a pornography site WOULD likely be directed to the Message Center. Of course, you have the ability to explicitly block any address--in case you want to restrict email from a known source.

Does the Junk Mail Assistant watch for email only written in English?
Yes, at this time English is the only language supported.

Virus Assistant

Virus scanning is simple - turn virus filtering ON or OFF. It is highly recommended that you leave virus scanning on - it does not impact your email performance and more importantly, the in-line virus protection service can protect you from malicious and potentially harmful viruses.

If a virus is detected, your message will be safely detained in the Message Center and you will be immediately notified via email. The virus infected message is safely viewable without fear of transmitting the virus to your operating system or installed software. You can then deliver it "as is" or remove it entirely.

Disclaimer
The virus protection assistant is constantly kept up to date through worldwide virus tracking centers. As malicious viruses break out and mutate, updates to the the virus recognition software with the latest virus definitions are made, allowing us to identify them and render them harmless. Although this service will protect you from virtually all incoming email-borne viruses, it is important to know that this service, and others like it, cannot guarantee that your system will never be infected. The best anti-virus solution is a layered approach that protects SMTP, HTTP, and desktop resources.

Virus Scan Assistant FAQ

Is Virus Assistant up-to-date on its virus definitions?
Yes. Virus Assistant updates virus definitions continuously. Not only will virus scanning of malicious email viruses prove extremely valuable to you, but it also saves valuable time by scanning messages behind the scenes. You are only notified when a virus is found in a message. A worldwide virus-monitoring network continuously looks for new viruses and subtle changes in old ones so that virus definitions stay current.

Does it cost to repair my infected email?
Virus scanning and detection is freely available.

How am I notified that virus-infected email has been detected?
You are notified immediately via email when an infected virus is detected in an email message. From the Message Center, you can safely review the infected email text.

Account Settings

Account Settings let you manage your password and alternate email addresses from this service provider.

Password
We recommend that you change your password periodically for security purposes. Failed log in attempts will present you with options to receive a new temporary password.

Alternate Addresses
You have the ability to manage multiple addresses within your primary Message Center account. This is useful especially if you have alias addresses to your primary address--keep in mind, alias addresses will not receive the benefit of the services until they are "mapped" to your Message Center. Also, if you have multiple addresses and separate Message Center accounts, you can consolidate those addresses into one Message Center for convenience.

To add an alternate address to your Message Center, you will be asked to submit the address. A confirmation email will be sent to your alternate address to confirm you are the legitimate owner of the address. If so, you will be provided with a link to confirm the addition of the address to your primary account. You may submit as many alternate addresses as you own.

Remember My Address and Password

When you sign in using your address and password, your browser can "remember" this information by using a persistent cookie on your computer. By selecting this checkbox, you can bypass the login each time you come back--be sure to also bookmark the Message Center after you log in successfully. (You should still always remember your address and password, or write them down in a safe place.)

If you do not want to enter your password when logging in, check "Remember Me" and Don't Log Out. Simply close the browser. If you Log Out, it will require you to submit your password the next time you access your message center.

If you use a shared computer (in a library, Internet cafe, school, or other public area) where someone could see your personal message center, DO NOT select the checkbox.

Account Settings FAQ

How do I get a password?
There are 2 methods. First, your email provider uses existing authentication, so that the password remains the same as your existing email account; or alternatively, an email provider may supply a new, temporary, password that can be changed after your first log in to the Message Center.

In some cases, a new temporary password is provided when the user account is activated. The user is requested to change this temporary password after first log in.

Can I change my password?
If the email provider utilizes its authentication mechanism for Message Center login, then the password must be changed through their user support system. To see whether you can change your password, go to Account Settings and, if "Password" is available, you can change the password.

What if I can't log in to my Message Center?
You should first try your email account password. If the password fails, the login page will display instructions for how to retrieve a password based on the authentication method used for the email provider.

Privacy and Security

Postini and your email provider are committed to honoring the privacy of our users and visitors. By publishing our Privacy Statement, we allow users to make informed consent to participate in Postini service offerings.

Postini and your service provider set strict security policies and access rights to protect against loss, misuse, and alteration of messages stored on Postini servers. Our security policy is backed by VeriSign, a leading provider of Internet trust services.

2000, 2001 Postini Corporation. All rights reserved.

Privacy & Security FAQ

How do I make suggestions?
We listen carefully to its customers to learn ways to improve its current products and to develop new ones. All feedback is welcome at: feedback@postini.com

How is security handled?
Postini takes the security and privacy of user data seriously. Legitimate email is not written to disk. Passwords are not stored and never transmitted in plain text. Suspicious email directed to the Message Center is broken up before being written to disk, so only you can access it. Postini resources, apart from the web and email processing machines, are not accessible through the public Internet.

To ensure data integrity, Postini has stringent back-up schedules as well as redundant systems for load balancing. To ensure availability, Postini administrators work with administrators at Exodus Communications, where Postini's physical equipment is located, to ensure 24x7 up time and the integrity of the system.

Do these services compromise your privacy?
No. Neither Postini employees nor its business partners ever read an email that is being processed during the course of normal mail delivery. Instead, it is the application software that process email behind-the-scenes automatically.

Log In Help

Can't remember your password?
First, enter the email address that you were issued by your email provider. For example, joe123@service.com

Second, your password is either the same as your email account password, or you were assigned a new password in the activation email. We suggest that you try the password that accompanies that ISP email account. If it does not work, check the error message for instructions.

You can also get your password information by checking your email inbox for the activation message sent by your provider, titled "[your email provider] has activated your new mail services".

Other Useful Tips...

Remove and Deliver Messages:
Once you log in to your Message Center to review suspicious messages, you should DELIVER legitimate email and REMOVE the junk email. The filters will increase in accuracy by doing this.

Check Back Often:
Check your Message Center on a regular basis and remove junk email and deliver legitimate email. The service can be configured to remember your legitimate email senders, and will allow those senders to bypass filters.