Terry Zink: Security Talk

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    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: Security Talk

    Designing my app with more anti-tampering in mind

    • 4 Comments
    As I have been writing on my blog before, I’m designing an app for the iPad and I am trying to design it with security in mind and then writing about it here. While a lot of my readers will already be well aware of these principles, many are not. ...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Sender authentication part 28: DomainKey headers in the message

    • 0 Comments
    This post will again be a paraphrase of that which is found in RFC 4870 . Now that we have seen how public keys are stored in DNS, we will next look at how a signing server generates the message signature. The signature of the email is stored in the ...
  • 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

    Different Levels of Bulk Mail filtering in Office 365

    • 3 Comments
    In the Office 365 service, we have made a change to the way the service detects bulk email. In the past, we lumped all Bulk email together. For example, suppose you had four messages with the following Subject lines and other characteristics: Subject...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    My behavior has changed when answering my phone due to my suspicious nature of unsolicited email

    • 1 Comments
    Nowadays, whenever I get email from someone I don’t recognize, I am instantly suspicious of it. To be sure, there are people I’ve never heard from that I want to hear from, but I am always wary whenever I see an email address that is unfamiliar to me...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    A comparison of antispam vendors

    • 3 Comments
    InfoWorld recently released a report where they compared the effectiveness of various spam filters.  It's mostly about on-premise anti-spam appliances.  They do touch on hosted solutions but don't go into much detail.  At the end, they...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Sender authentication part 23: Secret key encryption and one-way functions

    • 2 Comments
    We saw in my previous post that substitution ciphers are a method of encoding a message such that its contents are unintelligible (much like the ramblings of many of the presidential candidates), and they are fairly easy to break with computers that can...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Think China is the top spamming country? Think again.

    • 4 Comments
    I've been doing some research internally to prepare for Microsoft's next Security and Intelligence report, but I thought I'd give my readers a sneak preview.  These numbers are quite surprising so I thought I'd share them. In my department, we block...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Sender Authentication

    • 2 Comments
    In my next few posts, I plan to write a series on Sender Authentication, specifically on SPF and a little bit on SenderID and possibly even DomainKeys. To my more technically oriented readers, I apologize if this is familiar territory for you as I...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Why silently dropping mail is a bad idea

    • 4 Comments
    As someone who is responsible for filtering mail, there are a number of options that we have when it comes to filtering spam.  We can do any of the following: Reject it in SMTP with an error message Quarantine the message to cloud storage Mark it...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Understanding identification of Bulk Email in Office 365

    • 2 Comments
    Bulk email, sometimes referred to as grey mail, or gray mail, is a type of email that is difficult to classify for all users at a global level. Bulk or gray email is email that some users want but others consider spam. For example, some users want their...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    The antispam accuracy of sender verification

    • 2 Comments
    Three simple techniques that are used as inputs for filtering spam are the following: Check to see if the sending domain in the SMTP MAIL FROM has an MX record Check to see if the sending domain in the SMTP MAIL FROM has an A-record Check to see if the...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Sender authentication part 19: How spammers evade SPF

    • 6 Comments
    How would a spammer get around SPF? One way is the method used by Spammer-X in his book Inside the Spam Cartel . Spammer-X is a retired spammer (so he says) and goes into a lot of the details in his book. I'll give a review when I'm done this series on...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Oil and Gas Cyber Security Forum

    • 2 Comments
    A reader recently brought to my attention an upcoming conference in London in the UK – The Oil and Gas Cyber Security Forum .  Here’s a little blurb: Despite investments into state of the art technology, a majority of the oil and gas industry remain...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Submitting spam back to Office 365

    • 0 Comments
    Office 365 (Exchange Online Protection) regularly asks customers to submit spam samples back so that we can improve the service. This information is also available here: Submitting spam and non-spam messages to Microsoft for analysis http://technet.microsoft...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    The Backscatterer.org IP list

    • 3 Comments
    Office 365 (Exchange Online Protection, or EOP) frequently receives questions about the Backscatterer.org IP blocklist. Customers call in and say “Your outbound IPs for the service are on Backscatterer! What are you doing about it?” This often...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    How to use Safe Senders in EOP and FOPE

    • 0 Comments
    In the EOP (Exchange Online Protection, our newer service) and FOPE (Forefront Online Protection for Exchange, our older service), there are some nuances that end users should be aware of when using the safe senders and blocked senders feature. Customers...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Classic Viagra spam

    • 0 Comments
    It's been a while since I processed the spam abuse inbox, but I came across the following spam message today. Usee \/ i a g r /\ Proo and all wmoen wiill be yorus. Etxend the qualtiy of yoour sxeual perfromance with Ge |\| eerik \/ i a g r /\. ...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Sender authentication part 9: SPF Syntax

    • 3 Comments
    This is essentially going to be a summary of the information that appears on the OpenSPF documentation web page. Really, what else can I say that isn't said there? But, if you're like me and rarely bother clicking on links inside of blog posts and would...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Closing in on the Google hackers

    • 9 Comments
    Joseph Menn has an article on CNN.com wherein the crux of the story is that US experts are closing in on the hackers that broke into Google last month.  It is believed by some that the Chinese government sponsored these hackers.  China, naturally...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Support for anonymous inbound email over IPv6 in Office 365

    • 7 Comments
    Office 365 now supports anonymous inbound email over IPv6. In this case, “anonymous” means: The sending IPv6 address originates outside the service and is not in any customer’s settings (that is, not in any customer-specified connector...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    10,000 different versions of Viagra

    • 0 Comments
    Viagra spam continues to be the most uniquely spammed product. By unique, what I mean is if you take a specific product, be it a Rolex, mortgage refinance or university degree, Viagra occurs more often than any other product. I never realized how much...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Gmail disappointing me... a lot like Walmart

    • 6 Comments
    In the past week or so, I have been getting quite a bit of spam in my Gmail account. It's not image spam, it's stock spam. I blogged a few months ago that Gmail was allowing lots of spam through (no pun intended) but that may have been because an email...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    How to hack weak passwords

    • 5 Comments
    I was doing my daily stock market research when I happened to come across this article on the strength of passwords and how a hacker would go about trying to steal your password. It's an interesting read. The writer basically goes into a brute-force...
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