WUR spam filter sometimes blocks friends as well as foes

Advice: check your spam box regularly to see if your regular e-mail ends up there.
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In its efforts to thwart cybercrime and prevent unsolicited advertising, WUR’s spam filter deletes thousands of e-mails every day. The filter also deposits suspicious messages in the ‘unwanted’ folder. However, this sometimes includes messages you do want to receive.


Gert van Maanen, editor-in-chief of Bionieuws, complains that all his e-mails directed at WUR-staff end up in the spam folder. This causes Wageningen staff to miss out on relevant information from the professional biology journal. As proof, he sent me an e-mail. Sure enough: it went straight to my spam folder.


I had noticed the stricter spam filer myself when I stopped receiving messages from Scopus Alert this summer. Elsevier uses Scopus Alert to list WUR researchers’ most recent publications. Initially, I tried to find a solution with help from the WUR Library, by making a new account, until I found out all e-mails from Scopus were directed to my spam folder with no notification.

E-mail messages from Resource’s free-lance translators and illustrators from outside the WUR network are often blocked by the filter. Although WUR employees regularly receive messages alerting them to e-mails having been diverted to the spam folder, these messages only mention part of the content of this folder.


Information security officer Remon Klein Tank of WUR explains that the strict spam filter serves a purpose. The main entry for cybercriminals to breach the WUR-network is through e-mail. On average, some 200,000 unsolicited messages are received each day. ‘So, we must adhere to strict selection criteria as to what messages are permitted, to keep WUR safe.’ Thus, the Microsoft spam filter, which WUR uses, filters out e-mails from senders that have unsafe sending protocols.


Klein Tank advises staff to check their spam folder for important e-mails regularly. If the sender is a trusted party, they can adjust the settings to have messages from this sender directed to the inbox in the future.

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