Terry Zink: Security Talk

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

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  • Blog Post: We have a mural painted on our wall

    If you haven’t noticed the various posts on my Facebook feed, we now have a mural on our wall next to the dining room. It’s a picture of the Charles St Bridge in Prague in the Czech Republic. I really liked the city of Prague – I was intrigued by its multiple types of architecture: Renaissance, Gothic...
  • Blog Post: I got locked out of my house this past week. This reminds me a bit of the NSA.

    This post probably contains more information than you wanted to know. My wife last week was out of town, and during the week we had our windows replaced from single-pane to double-pane. Single-pane windows are very cold in the winter, the heat just gets sucked right out of them. The window guys came...
  • Blog Post: A very weird story about the founder of McAfee

    Yesterday I discovered this story on Gizmodo after a friend in my Facebook feed posted it, or commented it, or read it (I forget which, I can’t be expected to remember these things).  It was about the original founder of McAfee, John McAfee (who left the company many years ago).  The story...
  • Blog Post: How much expertise do you need, anyhow?

    Today, I returned to work after some time off (trip to New Zealand, plus some medical recovery time).  It’s good to be back sometimes, other than the place being nearly like a tomb, what with this being the interim period between Christmas and New Year’s and 50% of the people taking holidays. Anyhow...
  • Blog Post: Taking a timeout from security–the passing of an antispam community member

    This isn’t something that I normally might write about, but one of the members of the Antispam community – J.D. Falk – recently died of cancer. If you don’t know who he is, J.D. worked on email, anti-spam systems and policies for more than fifteen years including collaboration with influential companies...
  • Blog Post: My experiences with Apple products

    With the passing of Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs, I thought I would take a time out from security and reminisce about my own experiences with Apple products over the years. I am deeply saddened by the loss of Jobs for some reason.  I am not sure why… I just am. I haven’t had as many Apple products as...
  • Blog Post: I was challenged in my response

    Like many other people, I am not a fan of challenge/response filters.  If I ever get an email that I send to someone and receive back a challenge to take some action (click a link, hit reply with the subject) to add myself to their whitelist to communicate with them, I never do.  Ever. ...
  • Blog Post: Five years of blogging!

    Five years ago today, I started this blog (and ~seven years ago I started fighting spam).  I’ve seen a lot of trends in the past five years and have written over 850 posts (which doesn’t sound like that much).  When I first started, spam was the biggest abuse issue that I was aware of, and...
  • Blog Post: Alright, American Express, you win this round…

    A few months ago, I wrote about how I received an offer from American Express that if I subscribed to two magazines, I would get a voucher for a plane ticket anywhere in the continental United States.  Suspicious, but intrigued, I signed up for it.  Lure me with plane tickets and my greed takes...
  • Blog Post: How did we all get to be where we are today? The story of guns, germs and steel – Part 3

    This is my third post that has nothing to do with cyber security or antimalware.  I enjoy anthropology and want to write about it, and this is one of my only outlets.  I’ll be back to the normal stuff after I finish this series. In my previous posts, I explained that the reason that Europeans...
  • Blog Post: How did we all get to be where we are today? The story of guns, germs and steel – Part 2

    In my previous post, I explained that the reason that Europeans conquered the rest of the world, and not vice versa, is because they were able to generate food surpluses. With this food surplus, they could support classes of people not dedicated to the production of food. They could do this because...
  • Blog Post: How did we all get to be where we are today? The story of guns, germs and steel.

    This post has nothing to do with cyber security or antispam.  But one of the advantages of having a blog is that I get to write about topics that I find interesting, and I find this particular topic very interesting.  Thus, I am writing about it. Recently, I finished a book by a biologist by...
  • Blog Post: “Spam” from American Express – I found the catch

    A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how I got a free offer from American Express wherein if I subscribed to a magazine, they would provide me with a buy-one-get-one free airline ticket.  I thought that this sounded too good to be true so I wondered what the catch was.  I checked the Terms...
  • Blog Post: Video vignettes

    Some of the folks associated with the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report were recently interviewed and filmed.  They are sharing their thoughts around the recent SIR as well as providing some discussions around botnets.  I thought that I would repost them here: Frank Simorjay, Senior Product...
  • Blog Post: The importance of white space

    This post isn’t spam, malware or security related.  It’s a story about nice, visual formatting. If you look at the way I write my blog posts, or if you worked with me saw the way I do my slide decks in PowerPoint, I try to make judicious use of white space.  White space, as we all know, is...
  • Blog Post: Today is my six year mark

    Today, July 12, 2010, marks the six year anniversary of the day I started to fight spam professionally.  It’s also close enough to the four year anniversary of this blog.  It’s well over 500 posts later and I am still going strong. Looking back over the past six years, if I had to summarize...
  • Blog Post: Origins of the word spam

    I have Yahoo set as my home page, and from time to time they have a decent article on cyber-security.  I’d say that I get between 5-10% of my ideas from Yahoo. Recently, someone asked the question what the origins of the term “spam” was.  Here is the response: According to The Internet Society...
  • Blog Post: Last week’s performance

    If you’ve been following and noticing my lack of posting lately, it’s because of two reasons: I’m doing a lot of tracking little stuff projects at work that is sucking up my time. I was out of town last week at a conference, TechEd in New Orleans. I had a presentation which I entitle “Behind the Spam...
  • Blog Post: Security starts with not doing stupid things

    Or rather, with me not doing stupid things. I’m currently at a conference in New Orleans (TechEd, a Microsoft conference) and I just about had a very serious security gaffe yesterday.  I left Seattle and it was around 60 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s a decent June, summer day in Seattle).  I got...
  • Blog Post: An ominous warning

    Those of you who have been following my blog for a few months know that this past November while I was in Peru, a spammer tried to kill me .  This was the same guy who tried to take me out when I went to China a year earlier.  In this latest encounter, I managed to toss him off a cliff and...
  • Blog Post: Abusive users

    I have a YouTube account with a bunch of my videos on it, and about two months ago I was contacted by another magician.  He was commenting on my version of Any Card , wherein any named card appears at any named number in the deck.  It’s an incredible effect, it took me several months to learn...
  • Blog Post: An adventure in Peru, part 7 – Finale

    This story is (mostly) fiction.  But it’s quite entertaining if you use your imagination.  And who knows?  It could have been true. If you’ve been following my story for the past few posts, you’ll know that I was in dire straits.  Somehow, a spammer who I tangled with a year ago had...
  • Blog Post: An adventure in Peru, part 6 – The Showdown

    This story is (mostly) fiction.  But it’s quite entertaining if you use your imagination.  And who knows?  It could have been true. Continuing on from my previous post (which I last wrote two weeks ago… where have I been?), I was facing a showdown at Machu Picchu in Peru with a spammer...
  • Blog Post: An adventure in Peru, part 5

    This story is (mostly) fiction.  But it’s quite entertaining if you use your imagination.  And who knows?  It could have been true. Continuing on from my previous post, I was in a pretty tight spot.  There I was, hanging over a ledge by my fingers, gripping on for dear life. ...
  • Blog Post: Has my family learned nothing?

    Regular readers of this blog will know that I have sometimes referred to myself as Jack Bauer.  I do this for a couple of reasons: Some days I am so busy that I am doing something every hour of the day with no rest in between, a lot like an episode of 24.  I call these my Jack Bauer days. Sometimes...
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