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Email at UVA

Information on Anti-Virus & Anti-Spam Measures at UVA

Email viruses and spam are an ever-growing problem on the Internet. To mitigate the problem of attacks and messages delivered to University email accounts, UVA uses sophisticated software to provide anti-virus and anti-spam protection.

Who is Protected

These anti-spam services are provided automatically for faculty, staff, and students who utilize:

  • Office 365
  • UVA Gmail accounts
  • as well as mail that is delivered to any or address, regardless of destination.

Those with accounts on departmental email systems will need to talk with their departmental system administrator for information about anti-spam measures on those systems.

Anti-Virus and Anti-Spam Protection

When an email is sent for delivery to or from a protected account, it is run through a battery of anti-spam and anti-phishing technologies that look at multiple attributes of the message, look at the behavior and reputation of the sending host, and links and content contained in the message. If the message is determined to contain a virus, a phishing attack or spam, it is blocked from delivery.

Our software's published rates are:
Spam Caught: 99.99% | False Positive: 0.00% | Newsletters False Positive: 1.2% | Malware Caught: 99.96%

Reasons Email May Be Blocked

As UVA does scan outbound email from UVA senders to the Internet, occasionally legitimate mail may be blocked. We notify UVA senders of mail that has been blocked by our anti-spam protection for the following reasons:

Contains known spam content

Blocked because: The message in the body of the email contains content spammers would likely send.

Reject Reason*: SURBL

How ITS identifies this: "SURBLs" are lists of websites that have appeared in unsolicited messages. We employ SURBL technology to block messages that have spam hosts mentioned in message bodies. By scanning the message body, SURBL is able to determine if the message is a known spam message regardless of origin.

What to do? You should use one of UVA's email marketing platforms for sending mail of a solicitation nature.

Contains reference to a known spam site

Blocked because: The email contains a reference to a known spam site (on a spam blacklist).

Reject Reason*: URI Filtering

How ITS identifies this: A URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) is a string of characters used to identify the name of a resource. The URI filter checks the body contents of emails for specific URI categories for known spam sites and blocks messages referencing them.

What to do? It is possible the site you are including in the email has been compromised. You can check this by entering its URL into the tool at If the site is okay, please contact the VAMS team with the URL and we will investigate and remediate appropriately.

Sender is a known spammer

Reject Reason*: IP Reputation

How ITS identifies this: The mail is being sent from a sender with an Internet address that is known for sending spam. (Commonly this may happen for travelers trying to send from a mobile location recently used by a spammer.)

What to do? If you launch the UVA Anywhere VPN, your message will be sent from the UVA address space and will not be blocked for IP reputation. When traveling you could also find another Internet address (a different coffee shop, etc) to send from. If you are getting blocked using your home email for this reason, you will want to contact your ISP.

* Reject Reason user will receive in notifications for blocked emails.

  Page Updated: 2018-03-16