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Scanning E-mail for Viruses

Computing Services has installed virus detection software on the servers (mailhubs) that control e-mail to and from off-campus addresses. This software automatically scans files attached to e-mail messages for possible viruses: it does not scan the e-mail message itself.

If an attachment appears to contain a computer virus, that e-mail will not be delivered and will be deleted. Neither the sender (usually a spam mail sender) nor the recipient of the message will be notified that the message has been deleted. 

Which Messages with Enclosures Might Not be Delivered

  • Files that are known to contain computer viruses.
  • Files with very long file names.
  • Files with file extensions that indicate they will run an application on your computer, such as .exe, .pif, or .scr.
  • Files with names that try to hide their real file extension with a double extension, for example filename.doc.scr .
  • Files with lots of contiguous white space in the file name.

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For Legitimate Enclosures That Were Not Received

Since this virus detection software was installed, there have been some instances where enclosures that should have been delivered were stopped by the system. In these cases, the sender was able to resolve the problem by compressing the file into a different format, such as .zip or .sit and resending.

  • If you are expecting an e-mail with an enclosure and it does not arrive, your department's IT support office can assist you in determining what happened to that e-mail message.

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You Still Need Virus Protection on Your Machine

Even though Dartmouth filters potentially harmful e-mail enclosures, you still need virus protection software on your computer. Computer viruses can attack your computer in any number of ways; examining e-mail enclosures is only one way we are trying to prevent viruses from spreading. In addition, e-mail messages sent between Dartmouth addresses (e.g., from one account to another account) are not scanned by this software.

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Last Updated: 3/4/10