Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

September, 2008

  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Security features only work if everyone plays along

    • 4 Comments
    Since Microsoft released Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista, they have clamped down on security a bit more.  The firewall is enabled by default.  Unlike previous versions, you could format and reinstall Windows but your system would still be wide...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Stopping bots from abusing webmail

    • 6 Comments
    One of the problems of bots is that they sign up for free webmail accounts (like Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail) and then use them to send out spam.  These services will throttle their outbound mail, that is, cut off the sender if they exceed a certain...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Wall Street could learn a thing or two from botnets

    • 3 Comments
    Well, the government is well on its way to bailing out Wall Street from its own incompetence, putting taxpayers on the hook for $700 billion.  The worst part is that as Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson puts it, "You're worried about taxpayers...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Can machines fight spam better than humans?

    • 3 Comments
    One of the ideas that floats around in my head from time to time is that of automation vs human analysis - which works better to fight spam?  In an ideal world, machines would be able to generate spam rules to fight spam and humans would be taken...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    The Empire Strikes Back!

    • 4 Comments
    If you haven't been paying attention, over the past couple of weeks Microsoft has been releasing a series of advertisements designed to boost their image and tell their story.  The first commercial featured Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld together...
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    Et tu, Fool?

    • 16 Comments
    I got the following email from the Motley Fool the other day, here are some excerpts: The two words Bill Gates doesn't want you to hear... They spooked the Microsoft founder into early retirement. Now they're going to bring down his empire and make a...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    I'm living in the Expanded Universe

    • 3 Comments
    I sometimes read Star Wars books based upon the Expanded Universe, that is, books written by authors about characters in the Star Wars movies but not officially sanctioned by LucasArts.  Being a Jedi, I like to read stories of my order's history...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Other aids in automation

    • 1 Comments
    I've lamented that automating analysis of something that requires a human to examine is exceedingly difficult.  Still, there a few rules of thumb when it comes to spam that I have picked up over the years. Use statistics in analysis, but make sure...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Using statistics to aid in analysis

    • 1 Comments
    One of the tools that I like to use when I want to automate human analysis of logs is to use statistics.  How do you detect anomalies using statistical theory? When pouring over logs, tables and stats, the one thing that we need to realize is that...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    The automation of analysis?

    • 1 Comments
    When we encountered the problem of outbound spam, one of the big problems is that of the automation of analysis. Let's say we sign up for feedback loops.  Many of these FBLs contain a lot of noise.  It often takes a human to take a look and...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Note to readers who send me email

    • 3 Comments
    Just a note to readers who send me email: I read all email that you guys send me.  If you send me a link with a suggestion to check it out and I don't respond, it's not that I don't think it's a good idea.  I'm simply lazy and sometimes I get...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Free spam hosting

    • 9 Comments
    Bulletproof spam hosting services (ie, internet service providers that will host your site and ignore spam complaints) are one of the techniques that spammers use to put up spam sites.  Knowing that their provider will never take them down, they...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Outbound spam mitigation - lessons learned

    • 1 Comments
    It's been around seven or eight months since I last blogged about how to mitigate the problem of outbound spam.  Hosted email filters like ourselves, MessageLabs and Postini are all kind of in the same boat - we're not ISPS, and we're not ESPs. ...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Protecting yourself from phishing, part 2

    • 2 Comments
    This is the second part of the article on the Day in the Life of a Phisher. You can protect yourself – here’s how: Never post any personal information in an Internet forum, chat room, or blog. Doing this allows programs like the one described...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    A day in the life of a phisher

    • 1 Comments
    This article originally appeared on the Windows Live Hotmail Tech Support blog.  I thought I'd repost part of it here and the rest of it tomorrow. Phish – (MSN Encarta - commit fraud to get financial information: to trick somebody into providing...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    5 tips for avoiding email scams

    • 1 Comments
    Windows Live Mail users (ie, Hotmail users) got a message today from the Windows Live Hotmail Team advising of tips to avoid email scams.  Since not everyone is a Hotmail user, I thought I'd reprint them here since I agree with all of them. 1) Be...
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    A tour of Microsoft

    • 4 Comments
    Have you ever wondered what the Microsoft campus looks like?  Or what the rest of the buildings in the Puget Sound region look like? Well, now you need wonder no longer!  I have personally visited every single Microsoft building here in the...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Snatching partial victory from the jaws of defeat... which was snatched from the jaws of victory

    • 1 Comments
    Back when I was processing spam and false positives, I quite regularly came across very interesting things.  The one thing I miss the most of the daily grind of spam analysis was that I came across so many cool things that I normally would not have...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Which platform to use?

    • 2 Comments
    If you're familiar with television, the Internet and computers, no doubt you are familiar with the Mac vs PC commercials.  They're humorous and they poke fun at some of the stereotypes of Windows/PCs. In spam filtering, I've said it before and I...
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