Enhanced Security Scanning for University Email Attachments to be Implemented Beginning Sunday, November 17

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Recently the University has seen a sharp increase in harmful software that is concealed in archive files (for example, zip, tar, or sit archives) attached to email messages. When opened, some of these attachments download a virus that encrypts files on the local computer and on other drives to which the computer is mapped. Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) has already restored from backup several file systems that were encrypted as a result of an infected attachment opened on a computer with a mapped drive.

In response to this growing threat, CSSD will enhance the security scanning process for University email messages containing attachments beginning on Sunday, November 17.

The new scanning process is designed to quarantine harmful attachments that may be hidden in archive files (for example, zip, rar, and tar archives). A complete list of archive files is available on the Information Technology Web site at http://technology.pitt.edu/email/email-guideline/attach-filtering.html.

Email messages that originate outside the University email system will have any attached archive files scanned for the restricted file extensions listed on our Web site: http://technology.pitt.edu/email/email-guideline/attach-filtering.html. If the attached archive file contains a restricted file extension, the email message will not be delivered to your Inbox. It will instead be quarantined in your Spam and Virus Message Center at My Pitt (my.pitt.edu).

Keep in mind that the most common file types (like Word documents and PDF files) will not be quarantined if they are attached in an archive file.

Please contact the Technology Help Desk at 412 624-HELP [4357] if you have any questions about this announcement.

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