Information, Technology & Consulting

Understanding Dartmouth's Email Virus Scanning


Information Technology Services has installed virus detection software on the servers (mailhubs) that control email to and from off-campus addresses. This software automatically scans files attached to email messages for possible viruses: it does not scan the email message itself.

If an attachment appears to contain a computer virus, that email will not be delivered and will be deleted. Neither the sender (usually a spam mail sender) nor the recipient of the message will be notified that the message has been deleted.

Email Attachments to be Deleted

  • Files that are known to contain computer viruses.
  • Files with very long file names.
  • Files with file extensions that indicate they will run an application on your computer, such as .exe, .pif, or .scr.
  • Files with names that try to hide their real file extension with a double extension, for example filename.doc.scr .
  • Files with lots of contiguous white space in the file name

Since this virus detection software was installed, there have been some instances where attachments that should have been delivered were stopped by the system. In these cases, the sender was able to resolve the problem by compressing the file into a different format, such as .zip or .sit and resending.

IMPORTANT: Even though Dartmouth filters potentially harmful email enclosures, you still need virus protection software on your computer. Computer viruses can attack your computer in any number of ways; examining email enclosures is only one way we are trying to prevent viruses from spreading. In addition, email messages sent between Dartmouth addresses (e.g., from one account to another account) are not scanned by this software.

Last updated: 
Tuesday, July 5, 2016

If you have questions or need further information, contact your department's IT support office, or contact the IT Service Desk via email at [email protected], via phone at 603-646-2999 or walk in to see them in Baker/Berry 178J.

Information, Technology & Consulting