Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    A couple of more chinks in Gmail's armour?

    • 6 Comments
    In the last few weeks, I've noticed that my Gmail account is getting more spam than it used to. Granted, it's maybe 1 or 2 per week but that's still more than the zero that everybody says it is. In the past couple of days, I've noticed some spam getting...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Pre-emptive filtering

    • 2 Comments
    An idea that has been floating around in my head for several months is the idea of using probability to pre-emptively mark messages as spam from IPs that we have never seen before. Spammers are getting clever; because they know that a lot of companies...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Note to MessageLabs... a little help?

    • 10 Comments
    This post is for any of my MessageLabs readers. I tried to send an email to my travel company today using my Gmail account (which I pop through Thunderbird). I got an NDR saying the following: This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    A trip to Spamatopia - part 5

    • 2 Comments
    Returning back to the tales of my trip to Spamatopia, recall that I left the land of Fauxpharm where I couldn't understand a word that anybody there said. I had already visited Pumpenstach and Virus Valley. I only had time to visit one more place in detail...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    What constitutes a good sender?

    • 1 Comments
    Lately, I have tasked myself with the enormous challenge of the automation (or partially automation) of processing all of our false positive submissions. For years I have always thought that false positive processing would require hand processing. Because...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Strange new spam

    • 1 Comments
    There's a new spam going round that we started seeing last Friday. The subject line consists of a (seemingly) random string of characters composed of uppercase letters and numbers, and the body text contains two words: Hillo<number> followed by...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Buy stuff from Apple

    • 30 Comments
    Before being bought out by Microsoft, a lot of my co-workers bought stuff from Apple (mostly mac laptops, but also iMacs).  I recently bought an iBook second hand, but in my team of 8 people, 4 have bought new Macbooks in the past 4 months.  A few people...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Can a computer fight spam better than a human, part II

    • 1 Comments
    Leaving aside the question of email authentication for the time being, is it possible for a computer to recognize spam the way a human does? Even when it comes to human verification of the contents of spam, even we use heuristics to make quick judgements...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Can a computer fight spam better than a human?

    • 8 Comments
    In this blog, I sometimes try to point out the similarities between stock trading and spam fighting.  I happen to trade stocks (but never take tips I receive by email, not even in The Motley Fool) and I find that the two activities have things in common...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Can spam be used as a leading stock market indicator?

    • 1 Comments
    I was going over some of my stock charts last night when I thought to myself "Could the amount of spam hitting my inbox be used as an indicator of which way the market is going to move?" In stock speculation, there are two types of indicators - confirmation...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    The top anti-spam blogs

    • 4 Comments
    I read a few other anti-spam blogs. There really are some good ones out there so I thought I'd share my top three. Al Iverson's Spam Resource - This is perhaps my favourite blog because the author, Al Iverson, so frequently has interesting information...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Using my Mac to write posts on this blog

    • 1 Comments
    I was unable to find compatible blogging software for my Mac to post on my MSDN blog (ie, this one).  So, when I'm working on my Mac I have to log in to the site and write the post.  That's not such a big deal, except that Mac software and this MSDN blog...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    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...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    A trip to Spamatopia, Part 4

    • 1 Comments
    Getting back to my story about my adventure in Spamatopia (it's taking longer to tell the story than it ever did to experience it), I had just left the city of Burstenrise in the district (state? province?) of Pumpenstach. I headed east again to the land...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    The cost of in-house vs hosted services

    • 1 Comments
    I was reading in another blog post about the cost of doing a messaging service in-house vs farming it out to a hosted services company. Basically, for a 250-employee company, the cost of doing it in-house was around $300k, while the hosted-services company...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Spammers going to sleep?

    • 0 Comments
    I'm taking a timeout from recollecting my memoirs of my trip to Spamatopia to examine the current state of the Spam World. Traffic statistics indicate that the level of spammer volume has subsided substantially in the month of March (and even in February...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    A trip to Spamatopia - Part 3

    • 1 Comments
    As I was saying in my previous post, after my sojourn in Virus Valley during my stopover in Spamatopia, I rented a car and headed east to Spamzahkstan. Along the way, I noticed a lot of abandoned cars on the highway. I couldn't figure it out -- why would...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    A trip to Spamatopia - part 2

    • 1 Comments
    As I said in my last post, I travelled to Spamatopia last week and landed in Michelangelo, the capital city of Virus Valley. Virus Valley didn't seem like too bad a place, but it was very dreary overhead. It seemed like it was always going to rain but...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    A trip to Spamatopia

    • 2 Comments
    In my previous post I mentioned that the spam world is colloquially referred to as Spamatopia (actually, the only one who refers to it that way is me). Well, this past weekend I had the chance to visit Spamatopia so I thought I'd tell the tale of what...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Bordering on the ridiculous, but it's still kind of fun

    • 0 Comments
    One of the things I do here at work is write a bi-weekly (ahem) newsletter summarizing what is going on in the world of spam. For some reason, I have decided to name the spam world Spamatopia . It is populated with a lot of undesirable types, most of...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Thursday, March 1 - is anyone out there?

    • 2 Comments
    This past Thursday (March 1, 2007) seems to be a bit of an anomaly. I say this because overall message volume is the lowest it has been since New Year's day. Ignoring that holiday, it's the lowest it has been since early October. Compared to February...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Upcoming webcast on Hosted Services

    • 0 Comments
    In case anyone is interested, on Thursday, March 8 there is going to be a webcast entitled Messaging Security and Disaster Recovery with Hosted Services. You can find out more information about it here . From the link: The pure volume of spam continues...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Cool Pepsi commercial

    • 0 Comments
    A reader sent me this link, it's a video of a new Pepsi commercial where they turn the city of San Francisco into a pinball machine. As the subject line says, it's pretty cool.
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Small time anti-spam company to a big time one

    • 0 Comments
    One of the challenges of going from a small anti-spam company (like Frontbridge) to a big one (like Microsoft) is finding ways to automate what we do. We can write spam rules manually, and that works for a while but as soon as we start getting more and...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    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...
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