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“PLEASE SUPPORT STIAS…” email causes a mail storm

There is no reason to be worried or concerned about a mail that is being circulated with the subject line starting with “PLEASE SUPPORT STIAS…”

Although it is definitely spam (defined as unsolicited commercial e-mail) it does not appear have any dangerous content and was sent out by a university user to over 300 addresses one of which was the general IT Service Desk email address. Because it was sent to the address which automatically logs service requests the account automatically emailed all the recipients with “Cancellation” e-mails, who then replied, etc. This was no fault on the side of the IT Service desk as it is an automatic process of the Jira logging software that IT uses to track its calls.

This is known as a mail storm in IT jargon when somebody replies to a single e-mail sent to a mailing list and inadvertently replies with a personal message to the entire mailing list leading to a snowball effect or a mail storm. It is like a dog chasing its own tail!

If you receive a mail with the subject line ICT-338035 FW: PLEASE SUPPORT STIAS – PLAN YOUR NEXT MEETING, WORKSHOP AND OR CONFERENCE WITH US”  or “PLEASE SUPPORT STIAS – PLAN YOUR NEXT MEETING, WORKSHOP AND OR CONFERENCE WITH US” just delete it. 

If you want to take it further and set up a mail filter to delete all mails with that particular Subject, then you can do so. However do not blacklist the sender or report it to the help@sun.ac.za address or it will just perpetuate the spam, and you could block legitimate e-mails from IT or the original sender.

Stay safe out there and thank you to everyone who flagged this email. It is encouraging when we have such observant and enthusiastic users.

[ARTICLE BY DAVID WILES]

 

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