Swarthmore College Department of Computer Science


I think by now we all know we shouldn't execute .exe files and unzip .zip files we get via email. Still, I'd hate for one of my users to fall for one of these emails, so I'm including a few examples below. We do get a lot of spam each day, and some of it is starting to look slightly convincing.

Just like ITS, we, the CS department, "will NEVER ask you for your password, including by email!". And we'll never send you anything and ask you to run or execute or unzip it.

If you have any questions about this, or get an odd-looking email from us, please ask.

example spam

Here's one we recently got:

Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2010 06:00:17 -0000 (GMT)
Subject: Warning Code: XXU00321WBM
From: "System Administrator" 
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

The Helpdesk Program that periodically checks the size of your e-mail
space is
sending you this information. The program runs weekly to ensure your
inbox does not grow too large, thus preventing you from receiving or
sending new e-mail.
As this message is being sent, you have 18 megabytes (MB) or more stored in
your inbox. To help us reset your space in our database, please enter your
current user name (_________________)  password

You will receive a periodic alert if your inbox size is between 18 and 20 MB.
If your inbox size is 20 MB, a program on your Webmail will move your
oldest e-mails to a folder in your home directory to ensure you can
continue receiving
incoming e-mail. You will be notified if this has taken place.

If your inbox grows to 25 MB, you will be unable to receive new e-mail and it
will be returned to sender. All this is programmed to ensure your e-mail
continues to function well.

Thank you for your cooperation.
Help Desk

If you look at the header info for this email message, it's obvious this isn't from us:

Received: from mailsrv1.ug.edu.gh (mailsrv1.ug.edu.gh [])
Received: from