Terry Zink: Security Talk

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

  • 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over the previous six months, it is now sinking in to me that the methodology in which we used to use to fight spam is no longer valid.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...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Maintaining a wiki

    • 0 Comments
    Those of us in the spam team have decided to create an internal wiki designed to house all of our knowledge. Personally, I think this is a good idea as there is a lot of information buried somewhere in all of our email, and the wiki is a good place to...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Happy Halloween (tomorrow)

    • 1 Comments
    I came across this Halloween Hangman flash animation game today. Have fun.
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Spamhaus woes linked to rise in spam?

    • 0 Comments
    I was browsing the web, looking to see how others were dealing with the problem when I came across this post on a discussion board. The writer mentions that the sudden rise in spam corresponds to the start Spamhaus' legal troubles. If this is true (and...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Lest it be thought we aren't doing enough...

    • 0 Comments
    During this latest spam glut, I would just like to mention that we, on the spam team, are working very hard to combat this latest threat. In the past, we used to get spam outbreaks every few months. Then it was every couple of months, then once a month...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    We're not crying uncle yet

    • 0 Comments
    The month of October has been the highest ever in terms of overall volume. We set a record on on October 18, and we broke it on October 24. To put this in perspective, our volume yesterday was 47% higher than the average daily volume for all of September...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Stock spammers playing around with payload

    • 1 Comments
    This is a trend I have noticed in the past week. Over the weekend I saw that stock spam had been piling up but spammers were not just sending it as images - they were sending it as text. Normally ("normal" being a relative term), spammers compose image...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Funny line in a message

    • 5 Comments
    A friend of mine sent me a message the other day that was commenting on the Google buyout of YouTube. It was the title of an article in a newsletter: All your video are belong to us .
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Gracie, gracie... that's a nice donut.

    • 1 Comments
    One of the benefits of being a spam analyst is that you get to sharpen your foreign language recognition skills. Now, normally this isn't an issue for me, as I am fluent in over six million forms of communication. Today was such an occasion when I got...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    You know you've been processing spam a long time when...

    • 0 Comments
    As my faithful readers will know, I have long held an interest in stock trading and am constantly looking for similarities between trading and fighting spam. They don't always overlap but once in a while we find similarities. The classic example is testing...
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