Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Numbers don't lie, but they can confuse (part 1)

    • 1 Comments
    One of things I do here at Microsoft is look at numbers.  I have a table of statistics that I look at, not every day, but certainly a few times per week.  It's a table of the daily number of messages we block, how many are blocked by content...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Security risks in a powerful corporation

    • 1 Comments
    Last week, I was watching the season finale of the second season of Heroes.  It's not technically the season finale, but with the Hollywood writer's strike, they finished off the first part of the season until new episodes could be written. Anyhow...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    It's December! Time for the spam season, right?

    • 5 Comments
    Ah, the holidays are upon us.  And, as we all know, 'tis the season for piles of spam! Or is it?  Last year, we saw a very large run up of spam heading into December, but in the month of December itself I saw nothing out of the ordinary. ...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Behind the scenes (part 2) - Now I know how Homer felt

    • 5 Comments
    Following on from my previous post about who shot Mr. Burns, don't worry, I'm building to something.  Mr. Burns begins to do a lot of evil things, including blocking out the sun.  The Simpson family is in their house discussing this turn of...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Behind the scenes (part 1) - now I know how Homer felt

    • 1 Comments
    Here at Microsoft, I am a Program Manager.  One of the projects that we are currently working on is slipping behind schedule (and it has barely even gotten started).  There are various components that have to be re-engineered and it's forcing...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Futurama is great

    • 2 Comments
    I had to comment about this post from the Spam Wars blog.  It's called the Futurama of Spam.  The blogger is a lot like me - he enjoys Futurama and he blogs about spam stuff.  The post ties together an episode of Futurama and how it relates...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Security risks at a big box retailer

    • 6 Comments
    Even though things like phishing and spoofing and hacking are what we normally think of when we consider electronic security risks, sometimes the simple things are what cause the biggest problems. I was recently in a big box retailer picking up some stuff...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    A couple of types of spam analysts

    • 2 Comments
    Back in the early to late 1990's, when Winnipeg still had an NHL hockey team, I used to watch and listen to a lot of hockey.  I was a really avid sports fan.  After they left town and I started university I didn't follow the game as closely...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Review Part 2: Spam Kings

    • 6 Comments
    I'd like to continue on in my review of the book Spam Kings and make some more comments, particularly regarding the antispammers. One thing that I really liked about the book is learning the history of some of the spam tools.  I was never a participant...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Review: Spam Kings

    • 3 Comments
    A few months ago, I purchased the book Spam Kings , but only recently managed to get around to reading and finishing it.  In case you've never read it, it chronicles the stories of some spammers and the anti-spammers who fought them.  These...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Why change the FP metrics?

    • 6 Comments
    In the comments in my other post on the other side of accurate metrics, a fellow blogger writes the following: In my experience every vendor who quotes a FP figure bases it on the total number of inbound messages (including those that get 5xx-rejected...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Zune making up some ground in advertising

    • 1 Comments
    I'm currently watching a TV show when I saw an advertisement for a digital music player.  At first I thought it was an iPod commercial, and I was thinking "Hey, this is kind of a neat commercial... in terms of creativity in advertising." ...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    The other half of accurate metrics

    • 5 Comments
    Referring back to my previous post on accurate metrics referring to spam-in-the-inbox, spam is one side while false positives are the other. Whereas we measure spam as a proportion of what the user sees, we can measure false positives as a proportion...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Accurate metrics

    • 8 Comments
    This past week, I started coming up with some new metrics on how to measure our effectiveness, specifically, our spam effectiveness. The way Hotmail does it is use a metric called Spam-in-the-inbox, or SITI for short.  It is a measure of the proportion...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    The disadvantages of being a Program Manager

    • 1 Comments
    As a Program Manager in spam filtering in Exchange Hosted Services, there are plusses and minuses.  The advantages are described here .  But it's not all fun and games.  There are some drawbacks. Program managing means following up on the...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Watch your mistakes, limit their effects

    • 3 Comments
    As a stock trader, my trading style has evolved over time.  However, the one thing that I have always been good at is limiting my mistakes.  Book after book I read tells me that I should always cut my losses short and never let a small loss...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Missed my shot again!

    • 3 Comments
    In my other post, I mentioned that I missed my chance to see a famous American politician visit the Microsoft campus. Well, it turns out that it happened again! This morning, I came to work and was meeting some people in the hallway around 10 am and...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    The advantages of being a PM

    • 6 Comments
    Here at Microsoft, we quite regularly see people rotating in and out of various divisions.  A new person will join and another person will leave.  Recently we had another anti-spam manager join the group.  Since I've been in the antispam...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Guest blogging on Forefront

    • 23 Comments
    So I am now a guest blogger on Forefront's Security blog (link in my links section).  Forefront is another division within Microsoft that provides security solutions for Enterprise. This afternoon, they came around and took some video footage of...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Sender authentication part 32: TMA Explained

    • 4 Comments
    As I said earlier, I needed to come up with an authentication mechanism that protected the From: or Sender: address in the message headers. But, I did not want to replace SPF with SenderID. So, I came up with another solution which I call TMA. I would...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Sender authentication part 31: TMA

    • 0 Comments
    I'd now like to post something about the inspiration for this whole series on authentication.  I'm not done with DomainKeys, I still have to post a little bit on DKIM and one other authentication mechanism, and then this series will be done. ...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    And speaking of Facebook...

    • 1 Comments
    Today, Microsoft reported buying a small stake in Facebook worth $240 million, with the deal valuing Facebook at $15 billion.  That is an incredible amount of money for a website that wasn't making money. Of course, we could have argued that when...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Missed my shot

    • 3 Comments
    This morning at the main Microsoft Campus, I missed my chance to go and hear Hillary Clinton speak. As my American readers will know, and some of my international readers, Hillary Clinton is campaigning for the Democratic nomination to run for president...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Naughty Facebook... they just spoofed me!

    • 5 Comments
    The other day a friend of mine sent me a notice on Facebook about how Optimus Prime wanted to send me a message. I didn't bother opening up the email or listen to the message or do whatever it is that this application wanted me to do. However, yesterday...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Do spammers change their tactics based upon recipient verification? Yes, they do.

    • 3 Comments
    Or, to be more precise, it sure looks like they do. In my other post on the publicly available spam tool, I mentioned that I came across a page that allowed people to verify whether or not an email address is actually live.  The question naturally...
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