Terry Zink: Security Talk

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

  • 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...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    The case for outsourced message management

    • 3 Comments
    I was recently asked to review this whitepaper that argues that building your messaging system costs more in the long run than paying a hosting company to do it for you. I originally made this post on the issue where I argued that anti-spam companies...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    A New Year's resolution worth keeping

    • 3 Comments
    I rarely, if ever, make New Year's resolutions. Even more rare is a resolution that I keep (except for one I made last year to make $1000 in the stock market - which I did, several times over). This next resolution is actually practical, I am going to...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Jim Cramer likes iPod over Zune

    • 0 Comments
    This post isn't spam-related, but Microsoft-related. I was watching Mad Money today and Cramer was giving his top 3 growth stock picks for 2007. I very rarely buy stock picks after Cramer recommends them but I do listen to his reasoning because he does...
  • 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...
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