Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

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Are there any anti-spam conferences coming up?

Are there any anti-spam conferences coming up?

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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 writers take advantage of the fact that while there are talented people within organizations fighting spam, the effort is disjointed and disorganized.  Spammers don't have to wait for code reviews for their spam, they can shift tactics every week, or every day if they wanted.

I have not had the chance to attend a conference on spam fighting (or anti-virus/anti-malware counter attacks); I think this is influenced by the fact that I live in central Canada and a lot of stuff like that doesn't come our way.  So, to my readership community, is anybody aware a comprehensive list of relevant anti-(spam|virus|malware) conferences that are going to occur in the next 12 months?  If people send me ideas, I'll put them up in the links part of my blog.  Who knows, perhaps someday we'll meet up in person.

Of course, I'll take a look around myself but any assistance would be appreciated.

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  • The main two I know of are the MIT Spam Conference, http://spamconference.org/, and CEAS (Conference on Email and Anti-Spam), http://ceas.cc/.

  • Check out MAAWG, http://maawg.org/, next meeting coming up at the end of the month in San Francisco.  Quite worthwhile, in my experience.

  • I hear MAAWG is good.  You need to be a member, however -- which is part of the problem.

    To be honest, I think a shortage of conferences, private meetings, and junkets is *not* the problem; there are plenty.  MAAWG, MIT Spam Conf, CEAS, APWG, London Action Plan, Virus Bulletin -- all have their own get-togethers with some subset of the "good guys".  Why do we need so many?

    A side-effect of this stuff happening via face-to-face meetings and conferences is that those of us who aren't paid to attend by our employers, won't be part of whatever may be decided.

    I haven't been to an anti-spam conference in a couple of years now, since I left McAfee.  I'm still part of the SpamAssassin development team, and working hard on that -- but nobody's likely to pay for me to attend anything, so I'm not going to be helping in whatever may get decided.  Most of our team is similarly not employed to work on anti-spam -- it's an open-source project.

    It may be better to start using *the internet and email* for discussion and collaboration -- I hear it's quite useful for that ;)

  • Agreed on the e-mail collaboration point.  Some discussions may require confidentiality, though, and doing that effectively over the internet and e-mail is more than a bit difficult.

    Also, the upcoming MAAWG meeting is open to non-members; I'm going.

  • that MAAWG meeting is about $800 in plane and hotel fares away, for me, so I won't be going to that one ;)

    BTW, I didn't answer the original question!  I'd recommend:

    - CEAS: for spam filtering

    - MAAWG: for ISPs

    Unfortunately, there's little crossover between the two, as far as I can see.

    The MIT spam conf is good, if you're keen on Bayes-style post-delivery probabilistic-classification filtering.  I hear they plan to broaden that focus, though, for the next one.

    APWG, London Action Plan, Virus Bulletin: never been to any of these meetings, so I can't comment.

  • I'd recommend MIT SpamConference simply for the research-based speakers they tend to have. It's true that they also have a fair smattering of Bayes evangelists and also some quite, quite nutty kooks, but the research stuff outweighs this.

    It's free, so spend any extra budget on booking in at Hotel At MIT nearby which has a truly whopping broadband-to-your-room service, plus hotel receptionists that answer the question "do you have a spare cat5 cable" with "cross-over or straight-through?".

    - aoakley@messagelabs com (all mail may be treated as test data)

  • u can try APRICOT. Good for spam researchers

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