Terry Zink: Security Talk

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Holiday spam a potential problem?

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    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

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    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

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    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?

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    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?

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    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

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    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

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    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?

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    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...

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    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

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    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...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    More on image spam

    • 2 Comments
    This past weekend I was browsing the internet for image spam, I wanted to read a little bit about what other people are saying about it. They basically confirmed what I already knew: Image spam is on the rise It is ubiquitous (everywhere) It's getting...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    What do you know? I was right (maybe)

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    I was browsing through my Oct 16 edition of Investor's Business Daily when I came across this article entitled Google Goes Into Mobile Search, But Wireless Carriers Resisting . The article is a brief snippet about how Google is planning on bringing search...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    The future of spam filtering (?)

    • 2 Comments
    One of the interesting things about working for Microsoft is that it is a big company that has got its fingers in many different pies. It's main products are Windows and Office, but now it has minor players that could eventually become big players. These...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Caught in another spam run

    • 1 Comments
    As I write this (October 5, 2006) we are currently experiencing another spam storm. Unlike previous spam storms, this seems to be a multi-pronged attack. I don't know if the same spammers are flooding us with spam but the format of the spam is common...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Speak of the devil...

    • 2 Comments
    The other day, I wrote a blog post about the possibility of instant message spam filtering. I wondered whether or not there was even a need for instant message spam filtering. Well, just yesterday, I logged into Yahoo Messenger and I got spammed on...
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