Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

If only she knew who she was talking to

If only she knew who she was talking to

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This is another vignette that I am posting while I am out traveling.

The other day, I popped into Half Price Books to pick up a couple of novels by Michael Crichton.  I don’t know if there’s a Half Price Books in your area, but the one in mine is awesome.  I can get all sorts of used books in good condition for less than $5 a piece.  Seriously, that’s fantastic!  It’s completely worth it to me to spend a few dollars on a book I will only ever read once.

Anyhow, I picked up a bunch of books and went to the checkout counter.  As I was paying, the clerk asked me “Would you like to sign up for our mailing list?  We’ll be sending out an offer in a little while and <something, something, something, all of which I forget>.”  I was hesitant.  I don’t like giving out my information and signing up for stuff; I never even sign up for store credit cards even if it gets me 20% off that day.  But this one had an offer that seemed pretty good to me.  Obviously, it couldn’t be that good since I can’t remember what it was.

As I was debating it in my head, the clerk said “We won’t spam you, we’re not evil!”  I looked up at that and tried to conceal a smile.  Oh, if only she knew that I was a program manager of antispam, with over five years experience, in charge of protecting millions of inboxes which blocks a couple of billion spam messages daily.  Stopping spam is my specialty.

“Oh, I believe you,” I said.  I smirked to myself, thinking to myself “what would I do if I do get spammed?” Heh, I can think of a couple of things.  And I bet you can, too.

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  • Awesome.  Yeah, that's why I used to run my own email server until just recently -- I could block anyone who abused the privledges.  But now I trust you guys with my mail and just use the mailbox-level block/allow to add more control.

    Believe it or not, I had to block my dentist the other day -- a helpful appointment notice had turned into a tool to sell me stuff I don't want.

    Curious what your thoughts are about sign-up addresses?  Do they help much?

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