Terry Zink: Security Talk

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Not one of my better moments

    • 4 Comments
    Today was not a great day.  A little humbling, if you will. I was asked to participate in a conference call with a customer who was checking out our services because I knew our technology better than the account representative for this customer.  Fair...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    A quick introduction to Web 2.0

    • 2 Comments
    This post isn't all that spam-related, but I think it's an important topic because it represents a fundamental trend. I've always said (well, I say it sometimes), that if I wasn't involved in the anti-spam industry, other than the stock trading arena...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Good news for a change - even my mother gets it

    • 0 Comments
    I'm quite proud of my mother.  Yesterday, she was listening to somebody on the radio talk about spyware and how you should never click on popup advertisements.  My mom agreed with the host and explained to me that clicking on such links represents a major...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    June 1, 2007 - Spam breaks to the upside

    • 1 Comments
    It's been a long time since we had a really good spam attack but finally we are seeing a good-old fashioned spam outbreak. Ed Falk writes that a new breed of spam bots are relaying mail through ISPs. If so, they're doing an exceptionally good job....
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    How Hotmail fights spam

    • 0 Comments
    In case anyone is curious how Hotmail goes about fighting spam, there is a description of it here . I am not involved in Hotmail's spam fighting but I know many of the guys who work on it. We use some of the same technology in our own filters, including...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    One of the world's worst (alleged) spammers arrested

    • 1 Comments
    Forbes has an article on (alleged) spammer Robert Soloway, described as one of the top 10 spammers in the world. Other blogs including Ed Falk and Spamnation are also reporting on the story. I don't have much new to add other than my response to a...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    What happens on Facebook stays on Facebook

    • 7 Comments
    I have read some blog posts by other writers about the "questionable" email practises of tagged.com (wherein they login to your email address book and spams everyone in it, encouraging them to sign up for their own page).  I agree with the other writers...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Hotmail seeing a slowdown in traffic also

    • 5 Comments
    I have noted that in the past 5 months, the total amount of mail that we are seeing in the Exchange Hosted Services network is decreasing slowly but steadily. I wasn't sure if this was a common trend (since the antispam articles I read all say spam is...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    If you give stuff away for free, people will abuse it

    • 7 Comments
    In what is starting to sound like a broken record, one of my favorite companies, Google, is being abused by spammers - again. First we found spam blogs in Blogspot, then we found spam coming from Gmail users, and now I have found a third abuse - spammers...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    IETF approves DomainKeys as an official standard

    • 0 Comments
    The Internet Engineering Task Force, after years of wading through the process, has finally approved DomainKeys as an official standard. DomainKeys is essentially a sender authentication mechanism. It enables domains to insert an encrypted signature into...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    If spam increases one week, what happens the following week?

    • 5 Comments
    We sometimes hear on various forums that spam is always on the increase and that email servers are getting blasted with it. I decided to investigate the relationship between spam volume one week to the next. Specifically, I decided to determine what the...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    A new Human-Interactive-Proof from Microsoft Research

    • 4 Comments
    I came across an interesting page from Microsoft Research. In it, they talk about a new technique for a human interactive proof. To save you the trouble of looking this up if you don't know, a human interactive proof is a task that humans need to perform...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Chinks in Gmail's armour are still there

    • 4 Comments
    A couple of weeks ago I noted that some spammers were sending spam through Gmail. Well, I noticed it again. Whereas in those messages from two weeks ago they were stock spam, this latest batch is enlargement pill spam that contains an image, a link and...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    OCR and image spam

    • 0 Comments
    John Graham-Cumming writes on his blog today that perhaps OCRing image spam is having some effect. Why else would spammers start to obfuscate the text in their spam (ie, V1@GR@ vs VIAGRA)? He has a point. Logically, one would think that as soon as spammers...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Sender ID is pretty effective, but on the other hand, so am I

    • 5 Comments
    I read the following article that Microsoft's Sender ID hits new milestone for stopping spam . In the article, Microsoft has announced that their Sender ID spam filtering technology has blocked over 3.8 billion spam messages. It goes on to say that Microsoft...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Direct marketing and spam techniques

    • 1 Comments
    I was reading the following article entitled "Classic DM Tactics are Spam for Filters." It's by an account planner for a marketing company. In it, the author goes through the rationale of why spam filters will flag messages as spam - it's because the...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Safety first! Right?

    • 10 Comments
    I've been checking around some other anti-spam solutions and one of the selling points that they mention is that they do end-user whitelisting. This is supposedly a selling point of the product - that the users can do individual whitelisting. It's not...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Virus outbreak: April 30 - May 2

    • 1 Comments
    Just a note to all my readers out there, in the past three days (April 30 - May 2) we are seeing a virus outbreak on our networks. The average daily number of viruses caught in the past three days is twenty times the daily average for the past year. Make...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    EU Spam Symposium: Vienna

    • 0 Comments
    The European Spam Symposium is coming up this year in three weeks on the 24th and 25th of May, being held in Vienna, Austria. It looks like an interesting event, a place where anti-spammers can get together and discuss strategies of fighting spam. In...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Becoming the best: Measure everything

    • 9 Comments
    I was reading some of my other trading blogs and I came across a post over at TraderDNA that describes some of the metrics that professional traders use to improve their performance and gauge their success.  In my own trading portfolio, I have a few metrics...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    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: Security Talk

    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: Security Talk

    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: Security Talk

    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: Security Talk

    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...
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