Q: Why is the practice of emailing large attachments to many receipients discouraged?

Sending large attachments via Email is an inefficient and wasteful way of disseminating information to a large group of people, as one copy is made for each recipient. It taxes the network, mail servers, disk storage of both the sender and especially the recipients, and sometimes the recipient's patience if they use a dial-up modem for their internet connection.

The typical scenario is that someone will broadcast information (and sometimes committing the double sin of formatting it in a proprietary format) to a mailing list that may contain hundreds, or even thousands, of recipients. A copy is then made for each individual recipient. So, for example, if 4 megabyte attachment is sent to a department mailing list with 250 people, an aggregate of 1 gigabyte of mail storage is used by this one message.

Some Email accounts (e.g. Hotmail, Yahoo) have size quotas, and sending large attachments to them will either fill up or severely reduce the available space for new mail.

It is also typical that not all of the recipients need or want the attachment, yet these recipients have already expended the considerable computing overhead to receive, scan or filter for spam and viruses, and store the large attachment.

A far better strategy is to post the information or file onto a web site (or FTP site if you have access to one), then Email out a short message that describes the contents and refers interested parties to the URL. This will allow people who want the data to pull the data off the web site at their leisure, and those who don't can delete the message without having incurred the overhead of receiving all the data in the first place.

Using this method with the above scenario, a 1K blurb instead of a 4Mb attachment will mean a three-orders of magnitude (1/4000th) reduction in computing resources.

Q: What is phish and why you should never divulge private information over email?
Q: How do I send email with forbidden filename extension, ie: .exe?

Our mail server rejects Email with attachments that have filename extensions which can potentially carry malware (i.e. viruses). Any attempt to receive or send Email with such an attachment will generate an error message, along with a reference to a URL which explains the situation:


Going to that URL will give an explanation of why this is done, as well as some methods to work around this restriction.

Q: How do I read my StatNet email or setup incoming IMAP server?

How do I set Outgoing SMTP server?

I. Webmail:

II. Pine/Alpine or Elm/Mutt via SSH login

  •    If you have a SSH (secure shell) capable host, you can login to any of our blic unix hosts (e.g. be.stat.ubc.ca) and use the command line mail reader (e.g. pine).
  •    If you don't have SSH, but you do have network access and the ability to install software, you can download SSH from our FTP archives and install it. For example, to get the Windows SSH client, go to


III. If you have a PC with network access, you can use an Email reader such

  • PC-Pine
  • Thunderbird
  • Apple Mail
  • Outlook

to connect to our remote mail service and retrieve your Email, You must configure your Email reader to use one of 2 remote Email protocols:

1. The IMAP protocol is the preferred choice. IMAP will do operation on a remote mailbox, rather than trying to download your INBOX and doing local operations as POP/POP3 would. Our IMAP installation is also set up to access your personal mailboxes (not just your INBOX as POP3 does), thus allowing you to access the same mail as you would with WebMail or pine.

Here are the parameters you need to know:

  • Protocol: IMAP
  • Incoming mail server: imaps.stat.ubc.ca
  • Port:
    • If using STARTTLS: 143 
    • If using SSL: 993
  • Mail Folder Prefix: (leave empty)

2. The POP/POP3 protocol is less desirable.   pop/POP3 will try to download your INBOX down to your local disk.  Be careful to set "Leave mail on server" or "Don not download INBOX"

  • Protocol: POP/SSL
  • Incoming mail server: pop.stat.ubc.ca
  • Port: 
    •  If using STARTTLS: 110
    •  If using SSL: 995

If you use a search engine to search for terms like the mail client you are using (e.g. "Thunderbird"), the protocol (e.g.      "IMAP"), and a keyword like "setup" or "configuration" you should be able to find step by step instructions on where to input the above information. (Make sure you substitute their values for our's!)

Q: How do I use To/Cc/Bcc/Fcc/Lcc in PINE?

In PINE, you can specify the outgoing message header options: To, Cc, Bcc, Fcc and Lcc.


Send this message to the following e-mail address (REQUIRED).


Send a carbon copy to the given e-mail address.


Send a blind carbon copy to the given e-mail address. There will be nothing in the message header the that indicates a Bcc: was sent. The To: and Cc: recipients will not know a copy was sent to the Bcc: recipients.


Save a copy of this outgoing message into a file. The default file is "sent-mail". You may type Ctrl+T to get a list of all your folders and select one to use as the FCC for this message.


Send a copy of the message to a list of people but avoid having all of their addresses visible, in order to reduce clutter when the message is received.

To create a list of e-mail address, select the ``ADDRESS'' submenu in the main menu of PINE. Then type ``@'' to add new e-mail list.

When you compose your e-mail message, leave the header option To: blank. And type the nickname of the e-mail list in the header option Lcc:. Each recipient in the e-mail list will receive the message without their address being visible.

You need to use Ctrl+R to turn on/off the Bcc, Fcc, and Lcc header options.

Q: Email aliases, how to figure out who are in an aliases? Ex: who are in students@stat.ubc.ca?

Login to Unix servers (Be.stat.ubc.ca)
$ ssh your_email@stat.ubc.ca
         Type this:
 $ less /usr/local/data/stat-mailaliases/aliases
and browse through to get necessary information. It will contain lines like these:


which explain that "help" includes "hi,tha and Binh.Dand" in help group. There is no misterious difference between "grad", "grads" and "students" in our department.

Also, there will be lines like the following:

grad: :include:/etc/stat-mailaliases/grad.list

which instructs us look at the given file to get the list of people included into "grad" alias. To look at this list just pull this file on your screen by

 less /usr/local/data/stat-mailaliases/grad.list

You will see a simple one-name-by-line list of all grad students' emails.

Q: How do I setup automatic email forwarding, vacation messages?

Easy way:
     Go to My Stuff -> Email Forwarding/Vacation Message or click here to get there.
Brower Way:

You now have new vacation tool
Email forwarding and vacation message (login first)

Notes: You must Login first AND supply passwd one more time
at the bottom "Do It" button

There are 3 category
1) Remove any previously set Email vacation/forwarding
        When you come back from vacation, you need to do this

2) Set up your auto-reply message
        Before you go on vacation, you need to do this

3) Forward your Email to another address
If you don't want to use our email, (external mail providers: gmail, yahoo...)
You need to do this.  Do not "Keep a Copy" since you need to
clean up sometime to avoid email rejection due to "Over quota"

Manual Setup Forwarding Email:

Check if there is a file named ".forward" in your home directory.
$ls -l .forward
If there is no such file, then use any text editor (e.g. vi, emacs) to create the ".forward" file in your home directory.
 Log into StatNet server.
  $ ssh your_email@stat.ubc.ca

 # If you want only forwarding, and don't want a local copy of the message
 At your home directory, use any text editor to create the ".forward" file..
 $ emacs .forward or vi .forward
OR simply run this command
 $ echo 'your_other@email.address' >~/.forward
 # If you want forwarding, and also keep a local copy of StatNet message.  NOT recommended,
 $ echo '\user_name,your_other@email.address' >~/.forward
    NOTE:   the '\' character is important: it disables any aliasing and prevent Email loops.

If there already exists the ".forward" file in your home directory, then it means you already setup e-mail forwarding. You can use any text editor (e.g. vi, emacs) to change the destination e-mail address.

For example, if the destination address in the ".forward" file is abc@gmail.com, and you want to change
the destination address to abcyahoo@yahoo.com. Then you can use any text editor to open the ".forward" file.
Then replace


 To deactivate, remove the above file:
$ rm ~/.forward

Q: What are the risks of using an Email auto-reply?

Email auto-replies are useful in some circumstances, but the use of this facility is not without risk. If you install an auto-reply to your Email address, please be aware of the following outcomes which you may not have considered.

The main problem associated with auto-reply systems are that they indiscriminately reply to the purported sender. Email is notoriously prone to fraud, and the sender information is frequently forged (or spoofed) by spammers, phishers, Email worms and viruses, and other ne're-do-wells. The result is that your messages could be sent to

  • innocent third parties who have had their Email addresses forged;
  • Email addresses that collect replies to phishing targets;
  • spammers who may collect replies to confirm a working Email address;
  • spamtrap addresses owned by blacklist operators -- this is a malicious attempt by an attacker to try and put a mail system onto a public blacklist to cause mail delivery problems.
  • a mail domain that is a target of a denial-of service: a malicious party could generate Emails from

Such unintended replies are sometimes called "outscatter" or "backscatter"


Furthermore, even legitimate auto-replies may cause problems, such as

  • mail loops: under rare circumstances, two auto-reply systems could lock themselves into a mail loop replying to each other's Email and causing one, or the other's, Email INBOX to fill up.
  • mailing list: your reply notice may be sent to a mailing list yuo are subscribed to, and hundreds or thousands of other people who don't care may see your auto-replies.

There are some systems in place, both on our Email system and other mail system, that mitigate these risks:

  • an efficient spam/virus filter that drops Email before they can be responded to;
  • a sender tracking system that limits auto-replies to a particular Email address to (default) once per day.
  • mail loop detectors;
  • most blacklist operators are aware of unintentional auto-replies and will consider that before adding to a blacklist;

However, you can further reduce the risk of unintended consequences by

  • realistically assessing the nature of Emails you receive and evaluating whether it is of enough importance to necessitate an immediate auto-reply (as opposed to dealing with the Email when you can get to it).
  • Using some other mechanism such as Email forwarding or web notice to disseminate your intended notice.
  • narrowing the scope of when auto-replies are invoked, such as only during the times when it would be useful, or only to certain senders. Contact the IT staff on how you can achieve this.
  • recognizing special circumstances that would make an auto-reply system risky (target of much spam or many mailing lists) and weighing those factors against the benefits of installing an auto-reply.
Q: Email quota: Not enough disk space, how can I fix it?

Your email INBOX has small 1Gb quota for performance reason.  You will need to archive your Inbox periodically to avoid run out of Inbox storage space, hence avoid loosing email.

There are 2 ways to do it.

1) Archive the whole Inbox to a new mail archive and your Inbox will be empty.

Suppose the date is Dec 31, 2018. You want to do the archival.

Step 1: Quit all of your email client such as Thunderbird, Apple mail, Webmail, Outlook, Pine, Elm/Mutt etc.

Step 2: Login be.stat.ubc.ca
$ ssh yourlogin@be.stat.ubc.ca


$ ssh yourlogin@stat.ubc.ca

Then start moving Inbox to mail folder

$ mv /var/mail/yourlogin mail/InboxDec31-2018

Log out when the move finished.

Now, you can start your email client again. You should see InboxDec31-2018 in your mail box. and INBOX should be empty or only new email just arrived.

2) Archive your email one by one monthy. Aim for email with attatchement .

Q: How to Forward FASmail to @stat.ubc.ca mail?

If anyone has trouble having their alias FASmail account forwarded to @stat.ubc.ca, here's user experience reported:
1. Ask UBC IT to created an alias Firstname.Lastname [at] ubc.ca (I didn't want my CWL [at] mail.ubc.ca address distributed widely, since that's my CWL id, and I don't like it being out on the interwebs too much). Make sure you have added the email address you want to forward to into your contact list: after logging in at https://www.mail.ubc.ca using your CWL account, access People menu from the top left Menu icon, then add a new entry for "Your contacts"
2. Created an Inbox rule (go to the little gear wheel on the top right of the web interface www.mail.ubc.ca) to have my FASemail forwarded to @stat.ubc.ca *BUT* there is a trick! Here's what took IT central 2 weeks of emails back and forth to figure out:
3. Split the rule into two: one to forward emails only, and another one to delete the forwarded emails, and make sure the "delete" rule is set up after the forward one.
4. If you don't do 3 above, you will have your "alias" email forwarded, but email to your CWL [at] mail.ubc.ca will disappear in thin air
5. With 3, all my FASemail (those sent to CWL [at] mail.ubc.ca and also those sent to Firstname.Lastname [at] ubc.ca) get forwarded to @stat.ubc.ca

Here is the UBC IT Howto: https://web.it.ubc.ca/forms/fasmail/