Additional changes to ensure spam emails sent using fake @bristol.ac.uk addresses are flagged as suspicious

Email sign

[05 September 2014]

Following initial work at the end of July 2014 to ensure spam emails sent using fake @bristol.ac.uk addresses are flagged as suspicious further changes will be made from 6th October 2014.

From 6th October 2014 we will publish DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) data for the bristol.ac.uk domain, and digitally sign messages. This will identify emails with @bristol.ac.uk senders as valid only if sent through our:

  • Gmail servers
  • UoB central mail relays

Anything else may be considered suspicious by the recipient’s email service, but should not be rejected, unless there are further issues with the message.

What might cause an email to be flagged as suspicious under the new setup?

Activity that may trigger emails to be marked as suspicious (Please note that those receiving emails may find them flagged as suspicious and/or spam) include:

  • where you have contracted a third party to send University of Bristol emails on your behalf

Action - If you use a third party to send emails and are concerned please contact IT Services so that we can liaise with them about providing a key to sign their messages.

  • where your email is sent via a mailing list. This will only occur if the list server does not add it's own DKIM signature, or fails to remove any previously applied ones.

Action - contact the mailing list owner to report the issue.

Please note: We do not anticipate there being problems with UoB Sympa mailing lists, but if you are the owner of a list that is experiencing problems please contact IT Services.

  • where the recipient of your email forwards it to another account

Action - the recipient will need to take this up with the supplier of their forwarding service. N.B. We do not anticipate there being problems with forwarding from Gmail accounts.

  • where you send work emails using your home Internet Service Provider’s (eg. Virgin, BT) service, rather than smtp.gmail.com or smtp-auth.bris.ac.uk

Action - contact IT Services about how to configure an email client to use a supported server.

Even with this additional protection in place, for the time being we will still be leaving it up to recipient email systems to decide what to do with suspicious looking messages (which may be to deliver them as normal) - so please continue to be vigilant and follow the advice at bristol.ac.uk/infosec/email-threat/