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Bioacademy Webmail

Bioacademy Webmail provides a web interface for registered bioacademy users to have access to their mailboxes at the domain. It is much like a mail-client program installed on your PC (eq. Outlook express) but this one works over the web. It provides some kind of flexibility to users in the case they need to read their e-mails and do not have access to their PC where an e-mail account is configured.

It is also the only way for someone located outside the network facilities of the Bioacademy institute, to have access to his/her mailbox. The only tool needed for someone to use this service is a web browser and an Internet connection.

Webmail in a glance

Secure Login

Webmail lets subscribed users have access to their email account from any computer as long as it is connected to the Internet. Due to the fact that the Webmail login page can be accessed from any Internet user, further security countermeasures must be applied to minimize the probability of a malicious user compromising a legitimate email account.

Preventing password guessing

As the Webmail login page is accessible from anywhere and everyone in the Internet, a malicious user might try to guess your password by doing several successive attempts until he finds the correct one. Of course most of the times this is implemented by automated tools which try thousands of possible passwords without the intervention of a person.

In order to protect users from password guessing attacks, Webmail allows only a limited number of subsequent failed logins to the Webmail interface, after which the user is not allowed to login for a short time period.

In any case all registered users must be very careful when choosing their password and always keep in mind the following:

NOTE:  In general, users should be aware that none of the security mechanisms running in the mail system will be able to protect them unless they first ensure that their password has been chosen with care and is kept secret afterwards. The webmail login page is publicly available to anyone  and passwords not following the above rules could easily be cracked within minutes giving a malicious user access to private or sensitive information.

Password strength validation

Our system includes a mechanism for validating the strength of new passwords and only the ones that meet certain criteria will be accepted.

In order for someone to change his/her password successfully the instructions outlined below should be followed.

Class Set Example
Class 1 Lowercase Letters a - z
Class 2 Uppercase Letters A - Z
Class 3 Digits 0 - 9
Class 4 Special Characters ! # @ $ % ^ & * ( ) < > . ? etc

Mailbox maintenance

Every email received by our mail server is stored in the server until a user requests it. For users only using the Webmail interface for accessing their email account, messages are left on the server until the user deletes them. Users must be aware that the server handles a very large amount of email messages every day and leaving all these messages on the server will end up in a resource starvation situation where there will be no more available space left on the server for new messages to be stored. This will also prevent the mail service to work efficiently and in extreme situations it may even become unavailable.

Spam mail removal

As mentioned above all emails are globally filtered by the antispam mechanism running on our servers. All spam emails are placed inside each user's Spam-Mail folder which is only accessible from Webmail. You should regularly check on the messages inside that folder in case a message was mistakenly tagged as spam. Afterwards you should delete all the spam emails, as they occupy a substantial amount of disk space on the server. Keep in mind, that a daily process on the server will automatically delete from each user's Spam-Mail folder all the messages more than 15 days old.

INBOX maintenance

The INBOX is the folder where all your received emails are stored (except from the filtered spam emails). Having a very large INBOX consumes space in the server's hard disk and also makes the Webmail service difficult (and sometimes impossible) to use. This mostly applies to users that exclusively use Webmail and leave their messages on the server.

These are some good practices the users should follow :

By regularly doing the steps described above you will end up having an up-to-date backup of your emails locally to your computer, Webmail access will be faster and you will help in maintaining a more efficient service.

NOTE:  The above good practices for INBOX maintenance also apply to any other folder either created automatically by the email system, (such as Sent) or folders created manualy by the user.

The Trash folder where the deleted messages are stored, also gets automatically cleaned up, by deleting all emails older than 15 days.

Download/Backup Emails

In WebMail there is a feature that allows users to take backups by downloading their emails (including attachments) locally to their computer. Users from the Webmail interface can select one or more messages and then choose the Download option from the More ... menu entry at the top of the page. This will download to disk the selected messages in a compressed (.zip) format. After that if the user decompresses the downloaded files it is possible to load the produced .eml files into the email-client program installed on the computer (eq. Outllook, Thunderbird etc.).

Informatics Department
Last Update 23/03/2023