Terry Zink: Security Talk

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    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: Security Talk

    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: Security Talk

    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: Security Talk

    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: Security Talk

    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: 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

    The Jademaster

    • 1 Comments
    This is a story I adapted from The New Market Wizards , by Jack Schwager. One cold winter morning a young man walks five miles through the snow. He knocks on the Jademaster's door. The Jademaster answers with a broom in his hand. “Yes?” “I want...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    How long does the average spam outbreak last?

    • 1 Comments
    Ever since July, I have noticed that when spam outbreaks occur, they last for a couple of days and then subside. There is a period of inactivity, and then they go again. My question is this: how long does the average spam run last? To calculate this...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Anti-spam blogging slowly down as of late

    • 1 Comments
    It has not escaped my notice that my anti-spam blogging has slowed down over the past two weeks, as I alluded to in my other post. It's because I've been involved in a couple of other projects. The first project is collecting metrics on image spam. We...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Spammers flipping around types of images

    • 0 Comments
    During the past week, I haven't blogged very much.  The reason is that I have been busy doing a whole bunch of other things during the week. Specifically, I've been taking a look at image spam at a higher level.  I haven't worked on any image scanning...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Interview with the spampire

    • 4 Comments
    I had to modify the contents of this post. Move along, move along.
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    The Merits and Hazards of Two-Point Filtering

    • 11 Comments
    In my previous post , I defined Two-Point Filtering as the process of using an end-user feedback loop to train a spam filter without verification of the user classifications. I borrowed the Web 2.0 term to refer to the greater community of people contributing...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Two-Point Filtering

    • 0 Comments
    According to Wikipedia, Web 2.0 is a phrase coined by O'Reilly Media in 2004, and refers to a perceived or proposed second generation of Internet-based services—such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies—that emphasize...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    New Year's Resolution Update - Learning Unix better

    • 2 Comments
    Earlier this month I made a New Year's Resolution, that I'm going to learn to use unix a little bit better. Well, so far I've made some good progress as in the past week I have been starting to get used to the sed command. I find it quite handy; how did...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Sometimes you have to trust my Jedi instincts

    • 3 Comments
    One of the things that annoys me a little bit about the Microsoft revolution is the desire for proof-before-action.  For example, if I want to change a setting to (increase spam filtering | reduce false positives) I have to go back and get historical...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    New type of spam - Blogspot

    • 1 Comments
    This morning I ran across a new type of spam; spammers are creating blogspot accounts and when you go to them they redirect to the real payload site (in my case, pharmaspam). Google ought to be able to help out with this. They own Blogspot, so I would...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Spammers quick on the draw

    • 4 Comments
    One of the techniques that spammers use is to borrow a headline from the news and use it as a subject line in their message. This is designed to confuse filters and people alike because it looks like a legitimate message in your email client if you merely...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    IronPort's Virus Threat Level

    • 1 Comments
    I was just checking out IronPort's virus threat level available on their web page, and the three levels of outbreaks are Red, Orange and Green. Now, even though I live in Canada and we have no analogous system, shouldn't that threat level contain two...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Phishing and spam - similar correlations

    • 0 Comments
    I went to the anti-phishing working group web page and they have a nice bar chart on the number of new phishing sites by month, from November 2005 to November 2006. The patterns seem to follow the spam trends that I wrote about in another post . To summarize...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    What percentage of network traffic comes from botnets?

    • 4 Comments
    I was recently asked what percentage of our network traffic can be attributed to botnets and if 60% was a reasonable figure. This is not something that I have personally investigated (ie, I don't have the numbers to support my theories). According...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Are there any anti-spam conferences coming up?

    • 7 Comments
    I was reading an article by Neil Schwartzman, brought to my attention by John R. Levine on the Planet Antispam blog, entitled Trench Warfare in the Age of The Laser-guided Missile . In the article, Schwartzman brings up the point that spammers and virus...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    More on daily trends

    • 0 Comments
    In my previous post, I noted the number of times volume on a specific day of the week exceeded the weekly average. In this post, I construct the weekly average slightly differently. I am going to calculate the weekly average by once again excluding the...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Daily spam trends - is there a pattern?

    • 0 Comments
    A couple of months ago, I posted on daily historical spam trends wherein I examined whether or not some days of the week experience higher volumes of spam than others. I have supplemented that study with some more data. To begin with, are some days of...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Spam level hits 94%... but you heard it here first

    • 5 Comments
    I see on Spamroll that they came across an article on techweb that lets us know that spam hit 94% of all email traffic in December. I don't want to brag (oh, wait, yes I do), but I reported in this post the following on December 27: Approximately 6% of...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Top Ten Ways to Eliminate Spam from Your Inbox

    • 0 Comments
    I came across the article from ITsecurity , The Top Ten Ways to Eliminate Spam from Your Inbox . I think that this is a good article, it's quite comprehensive and the information is accurate (and it's not very long, another bonus). Check it out if you...
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