Help Desk, Online Harassment Response

As a public institution with a public-facing directory, University of Illinois professors and other employees may have their contact information spread online for malicious purposes in retaliation for something they say or do. This can lead to them experiencing a wave of social media harassment, threatening emails, and even in-person visits. The Technology Services Help Desk can assist with the following resources, and can be reached by email at or by phone at 217-244-7000.

If you feel there is an immediate threat to your safety, contact 911 to involve law enforcement.

Directory Suppression

When someone's record is suppressed from the Illinois Directory, their contact information (including name, phone, email, and office) is no longer visible on the public-facing directory website. Directory suppression also hides a person's first and last name from their contact card on the internal Global Address List, so that they can only appear as an auto-complete option in communication tools such as Microsoft Teams and Outlook when their entire address is manually input.

These mitigations can help prevent further harassment by reducing the discoverability of an employee's information.

Directory suppression can be performed by our internal Identity & Access Management team, working with the employee's Human Resources office. An HR representative should send an email to to contact them, and the IAM team will help assess the best course of action.

Email Filtering

This sort of attack often takes the form of harassing emails being sent to the victim's University address. There are a few tools available to help prevent this.

University work computers usually have the 'Proofpoint for Outlook' Add-In installed, which will provide a Report Spam button. This will delete a message and indicate to our email filtering system that similar messages should be treated with suspicion.

Outlook also includes powerful filtering tools for incoming messages. Inbox rules should be configured server-side, so use the Outlook website to do this. If incoming harassing messages match a particular pattern, the Rules feature can be used to find and immediately discard them. More information about mailbox rules can be found on Microsoft's support site here.

If there is a specific example message you'd like our Security team to examine, please use the Forward as attachment function in Outlook to send it as a .eml or .msg file to and describe the situation. To do this, follow Office 365, Email, Exchange, Forwarding Email Messages as an Attachment

Department Websites

Many individual departments list faculty and staff on their websites separately from the main public Directory.

Technology Services can help find contact information for the relevant IT group in control of your department's web content.

Other Online Presence

Many external social media profiles can be set to restrict viewing access or block communication from strangers. Some social media providers also offer a reporting system where harassing posts and messages can be shown to content moderation teams.

Contact the provider of any social media service through which you are being harassed, and inquire about what options are available.

Keywordsharass harassment troll twitter tweet security antagonize offensive criticize mocking mock abuse hate dox doxx doxxed   Doc ID84855
OwnerHelp Desk T.GroupUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
Created2018-08-13 12:13:56Updated2024-04-12 09:57:11
SitesUniversity of Illinois Technology Services
Feedback  0   0