Terry Zink: Security Talk

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

January, 2007

  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    The Merits and Hazards of Two-Point Filtering

    • 11 Comments
    In my previous post , I defined Two-Point Filtering as the process of using an end-user feedback loop to train a spam filter without verification of the user classifications. I borrowed the Web 2.0 term to refer to the greater community of people contributing...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Two-Point Filtering

    • 0 Comments
    According to Wikipedia, Web 2.0 is a phrase coined by O'Reilly Media in 2004, and refers to a perceived or proposed second generation of Internet-based services—such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies—that emphasize...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    New Year's Resolution Update - Learning Unix better

    • 2 Comments
    Earlier this month I made a New Year's Resolution, that I'm going to learn to use unix a little bit better. Well, so far I've made some good progress as in the past week I have been starting to get used to the sed command. I find it quite handy; how did...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Sometimes you have to trust my Jedi instincts

    • 3 Comments
    One of the things that annoys me a little bit about the Microsoft revolution is the desire for proof-before-action.  For example, if I want to change a setting to (increase spam filtering | reduce false positives) I have to go back and get historical...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    New type of spam - Blogspot

    • 1 Comments
    This morning I ran across a new type of spam; spammers are creating blogspot accounts and when you go to them they redirect to the real payload site (in my case, pharmaspam). Google ought to be able to help out with this. They own Blogspot, so I would...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Spammers quick on the draw

    • 4 Comments
    One of the techniques that spammers use is to borrow a headline from the news and use it as a subject line in their message. This is designed to confuse filters and people alike because it looks like a legitimate message in your email client if you merely...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    IronPort's Virus Threat Level

    • 1 Comments
    I was just checking out IronPort's virus threat level available on their web page, and the three levels of outbreaks are Red, Orange and Green. Now, even though I live in Canada and we have no analogous system, shouldn't that threat level contain two...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Phishing and spam - similar correlations

    • 0 Comments
    I went to the anti-phishing working group web page and they have a nice bar chart on the number of new phishing sites by month, from November 2005 to November 2006. The patterns seem to follow the spam trends that I wrote about in another post . To summarize...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    What percentage of network traffic comes from botnets?

    • 4 Comments
    I was recently asked what percentage of our network traffic can be attributed to botnets and if 60% was a reasonable figure. This is not something that I have personally investigated (ie, I don't have the numbers to support my theories). According...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Are there any anti-spam conferences coming up?

    • 7 Comments
    I was reading an article by Neil Schwartzman, brought to my attention by John R. Levine on the Planet Antispam blog, entitled Trench Warfare in the Age of The Laser-guided Missile . In the article, Schwartzman brings up the point that spammers and virus...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    More on daily trends

    • 0 Comments
    In my previous post, I noted the number of times volume on a specific day of the week exceeded the weekly average. In this post, I construct the weekly average slightly differently. I am going to calculate the weekly average by once again excluding the...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Daily spam trends - is there a pattern?

    • 0 Comments
    A couple of months ago, I posted on daily historical spam trends wherein I examined whether or not some days of the week experience higher volumes of spam than others. I have supplemented that study with some more data. To begin with, are some days of...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Spam level hits 94%... but you heard it here first

    • 5 Comments
    I see on Spamroll that they came across an article on techweb that lets us know that spam hit 94% of all email traffic in December. I don't want to brag (oh, wait, yes I do), but I reported in this post the following on December 27: Approximately 6% of...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Top Ten Ways to Eliminate Spam from Your Inbox

    • 0 Comments
    I came across the article from ITsecurity , The Top Ten Ways to Eliminate Spam from Your Inbox . I think that this is a good article, it's quite comprehensive and the information is accurate (and it's not very long, another bonus). Check it out if you...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    The case for outsourced message management

    • 3 Comments
    I was recently asked to review this whitepaper that argues that building your messaging system costs more in the long run than paying a hosting company to do it for you. I originally made this post on the issue where I argued that anti-spam companies...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    A New Year's resolution worth keeping

    • 3 Comments
    I rarely, if ever, make New Year's resolutions. Even more rare is a resolution that I keep (except for one I made last year to make $1000 in the stock market - which I did, several times over). This next resolution is actually practical, I am going to...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Jim Cramer likes iPod over Zune

    • 0 Comments
    This post isn't spam-related, but Microsoft-related. I was watching Mad Money today and Cramer was giving his top 3 growth stock picks for 2007. I very rarely buy stock picks after Cramer recommends them but I do listen to his reasoning because he does...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Cisco buys IronPort

    • 0 Comments
    I was going to write a post on the story that Cisco just bought IronPort, but Richi Jennings beat me to it. :) I was an employee of Frontbridge Technologies when Microsoft bought us in July 2005. A year earlier, Symantec bought Brightmail. CipherTrust...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    What happens if we blacklist a legitimate IP?

    • 0 Comments
    With the rise in botnets in the past year, some spam filters like to make use of blacklists in an attempt to cut down on the amount of mail they have to filter. This makes sense because an increase in mail can eventually cause delays so we'd like to use...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    December not so good for spamming

    • 1 Comments
    December has not been the most prolific month for spammers. After seeing a huge increase in September and October, November started to go flat. There was a an upswing in mid-December but this latest two weeks has dropped down over Christmas. Week...
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