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E-Mail Security – E-Mail & Mail Statistics at RWTH

June 15th, 2022 | by
Paper with @-Sign

Source: Freepik

About 50 years ago, the first e-mail was sent – albeit between two computer systems that were part of the same local network. In the 1980s, the internet was opened up to a larger circle of users and e-mail was given its own transmission protocol “Simple Mail Transfer Protocol” (SMTP).

Even today, the exchange of messages via e-mail is undoubtedly an important way of exchanging information between parties via an asynchronous communication channel.

E-Mail Protocols

E-mail communication between two users is based on three protocols: SMTP, POP and IMAP. The SMTP protocol is used for sending and communication among mail servers. The POP or IMAP protocols take care of receiving messages in the user’s mail programme. The POP protocol is only used in rare cases today. It is better to use the IMAP protocol because the mail remains on the server system and the end user does not have to make and check time-consuming backups of his or her e-mails.

The format of the e-mails has hardly changed since the first standardisation. It is flexible enough to accommodate optional extensions. Security issues were not given too much thought in the 1970s and 1980s until more and more people exploited security loopholes.

E-Mail @ RWTH Powered by IT Center

The IT Center of RWTH Aachen University provides a central e-mail infrastructure based on Microsoft Exchange for the university. At RWTH Aachen University, we distinguish between the official e-mail account and the private e-mail account as well as a functional mailbox. The difference lies in the use as well as the presentation.

Since mid-2007, systems from the company Ironport have been used as spam filters, virus filters and spam detection for the entire university. This means that more than 82 percent of spam e-mails can either be detected and not sent at all or marked as spam. This significantly reduces the load on the university’s mail servers and the mailboxes of the users.

SPAM Statistics of the RWTH

Once a month, the IT Center publishes statistics on how many mails were processed and how many of these mails were not delivered. The reason for this can be corresponding security measures that lead to the mail reception being rejected by us. You can find the exact statistics at IT Center Help.


Responsible for the content of this article are Morgane Overath and Thomas Pätzold.

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