Terry Zink: Security Talk

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Cisco buys IronPort

    • 0 Comments
    I was going to write a post on the story that Cisco just bought IronPort, but Richi Jennings beat me to it. :) I was an employee of Frontbridge Technologies when Microsoft bought us in July 2005. A year earlier, Symantec bought Brightmail. CipherTrust...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    What happens if we blacklist a legitimate IP?

    • 0 Comments
    With the rise in botnets in the past year, some spam filters like to make use of blacklists in an attempt to cut down on the amount of mail they have to filter. This makes sense because an increase in mail can eventually cause delays so we'd like to use...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    December not so good for spamming

    • 1 Comments
    December has not been the most prolific month for spammers. After seeing a huge increase in September and October, November started to go flat. There was a an upswing in mid-December but this latest two weeks has dropped down over Christmas. Week...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Did our spam plummet with the earthquake in Asia?

    • 1 Comments
    Just checked out this article (hat tip to John R. Levine... I hope I'm using that term correctly otherwise I'll look quite the fool) about the earthquake in Asia knocking down spam volumes. As an anti-spam fighter at Microsoft I can confirm that the overall...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    What percentage of mail is spam?

    • 0 Comments
    In my other post , I documented my discoveries that the majority of the mail that we see on our networks is either mostly clean (ie, senders delivering 0% spam) or primarily spam (senders delivering us 90% spam or more). I have done the numbers for a...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Looking for some Mac blogging software

    • 6 Comments
    A couple of months ago I downloaded Windows Live Writer. As far as blog publishing tools go, this is the all the blogging software that I need. I can pick which blog I want, write a post, and then click upload. Other than editing posts later on (which...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Spam traffic analysis - by volume

    • 4 Comments
    A little over a week ago, I posted that most of our IPs are either very spammy or very clean (as predicted by my theory on the spam curve that I wrote several months ago). I have done some traffic analysis on the volume of mail sent versus how much spam...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Spammers jumping on the Vista bandwagon

    • 2 Comments
    I've seen cheap software spam pumped over our networks many thousands of times. Nice to see that spammers have kept themselves up-to-date with the times. Not only are they spamming for Windows Vista, they are using image spam to do it. Nice.
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    The nature of email traffic

    • 1 Comments
    A few months ago I posted something called the Spam Curve. The essence of the post was that most mail content was either very spammy or very clean. If this could be represented on a chart, the chart would look like a letter U. Most content would fall...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Spammers targetting their audience

    • 1 Comments
    I was reading the planet antispam RSS (thanks to my friend at IronPort for putting my blog on there) when I came across this article. In the article, the writer was mentioning that the image spam he was receiving contains some technical information in...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Is customer feedback useful in determining spam effectiveness?

    • 0 Comments
    This past summer when the image-spam run began, our overall spam volume started to rise. With the rise in spam volume came an increase in overall customer complaints and spam submissions to our spam abuse inbox (ie, when customers get a spam submission...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Uploaded a new avatar

    • 0 Comments
    I uploaded a new avatar to my user profile . It's an image of the most famous bounty hunter in the galaxy (but you'll have to click the link to find out). I think it's a fitting representation for a spam fighter.
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Be skeptical of advertised spam blocking rates

    • 1 Comments
    Whenever I see rival companies boast about their spam-blocking rates, I have to be a little skeptical. I have seen some claim that they catch 98% of all spam. My skepticism is fueled by my inability to comprehend how they generate those statistics. I...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    New spam rules of engagement finally starting to sink in

    • 6 Comments
    Having been a spam fighter for over two years, and having watched spam evolve very quickly over the previous six months, it is now sinking in to me that the methodology in which we used to use to fight spam is no longer valid. Whereas before we had a...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Holiday spam a potential problem?

    • 0 Comments
    During the past six months, starting in July, the amount of spam we have seen over our networks has doubled. There is the possibility that the increase has been due to signing up new customers but I tend to suspect that it probably has more to do with...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Trapped on a ledge

    • 0 Comments
    This post is not spam-related, instead, it is the story of the time I nearly died while on a hiking trip in Fiji. I have posted the story on my personal blog in Windows Live Spaces. It is an incredible story, and you can read it by clicking here . Let...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Return from the Southern Hemisphere

    • 0 Comments
    I have just recently returned from holidays, first in Australia and then in Fiji. I have some pictures available of my trip to Australia here . At the very least, check out the pictures of my new friends. I will upload my pictures from Fiji later, but...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Et tu, Gmail?

    • 0 Comments
    I have complained in the past that Yahoo's Spam Guard lets through a lot of spam. I used to say to my friends "Just send me personal email to my Gmail account because I never get spam there." Well, sadly, that has now come to an end. I have been getting...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    On the road again

    • 1 Comments
    You all may have noticed that I haven't written any blog posts for a couple of weeks now. That's because I'm currently on vacation overseas in Australia. My internet access has been very limited during this time and I haven't been able to find convenient...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Are some days of the week spammier than others?

    • 1 Comments
    Further to my other post below, I decided to investigate whether or not some days of the week are spammier than others. To calculate this, I took all the data that I had for volume of spam (N=43) and calculated the total weekly volume and the total weekly...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Want to make a difference? Try fighting spam

    • 1 Comments
    Microsoft is going through some revisions in its HR process. This is a story that has been reported in the press, you can also read a little bit about it on Mini Microsoft . I went to the internal blog and our head of HR, Lisa Brummel, is soliciting feedback...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Are some days of the week better predictors of spam than others?

    • 0 Comments
    I recently decided to investigate whether or not some days of the week are better predictors of spam outbreaks than others. If we get a big increase on Sunday, for example, does it mean that the rest of the week is going to to see a big increase? To calculate...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    More on spam analyst performance

    • 1 Comments
    In my last post, I mentioned that I was reading Dr. Steenbarger's blog on trader performance. Dr. Steenbarger has done a lot of research in studying what makes top performers the experts in their fields. One of the things that separates the experts from...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Spam analyst performance

    • 0 Comments
    I was recently reading Dr. Brett Steenbarger's blog and started reading some of the historical research he has between peak performers and traders. If you are a stock trader I would highly recommend you read his blog, it's one of the best I have come...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    If spam were a stock, I'd want to buy it

    • 0 Comments
    Since the beginning of the year, the amount of mail that we process has doubled. The ramp up in messages started this summer and has really increased since the middle of July. I'm sure they are not related but if you were to take a look at the SP-500...
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