Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Instant message filtering?

    • 128 Comments
    This is an idea that I have been thinking about for a while and that is the concept of instant message filtering. I don't get too much spam on my instant messenger (I use or have used ICQ, Yahoo IM, Windows/MSN/Live Messenger, AIM, gaim, and Office...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Spam from an Android botnet

    • 36 Comments
    I came across some interesting spam samples today. The messages all come from Yahoo Mail servers.  They are all from compromised Yahoo accounts.  They are sending all stock spam, the typical pump and dump variety that we’ve seen for years. But...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Buy stuff from Apple

    • 30 Comments
    Before being bought out by Microsoft, a lot of my co-workers bought stuff from Apple (mostly mac laptops, but also iMacs).  I recently bought an iBook second hand, but in my team of 8 people, 4 have bought new Macbooks in the past 4 months.  A few people...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    My Hotmail account has been compromised

    • 30 Comments
    Well, here’s something I didn’t expect to write about – my very own Hotmail account has had its username and password accosted by spammers! I have a very old one that I opened up years ago.  I use it to subscribe to bulk mail services and use it...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    CNN spam

    • 26 Comments
    I've been seeing some CNN spam the past few days, that is, spam in the form of breaking news stories from CNN.com.  Below is a sample: These all look like legitimate news stories, and indeed, they probably are taken straight from an actual CNN news...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Guest blogging on Forefront

    • 23 Comments
    So I am now a guest blogger on Forefront's Security blog (link in my links section).  Forefront is another division within Microsoft that provides security solutions for Enterprise. This afternoon, they came around and took some video footage of...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    My new Best Buy $1000 Gift Card

    • 19 Comments
    Yesterday, I was browsing through Facebook.  I never really look at the ads on the right hand side of the page.  Or rather, I should say that I never click on them.  However, yesterday, my curiosity was piqued.  There was an ad that...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    A bit more on that spam from an Android botnet

    • 19 Comments
    A quick follow up on my previous post about spam from an Android botnet , there are a few things I need to point out: Sophos discovered the same thing on their Naked Security blog : The messages appear to originate from compromised Google Android smartphones...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Et tu, Fool?

    • 16 Comments
    I got the following email from the Motley Fool the other day, here are some excerpts: The two words Bill Gates doesn't want you to hear... They spooked the Microsoft founder into early retirement. Now they're going to bring down his empire and make a...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Best looking phish I've seen in a long time

    • 12 Comments
    A month ago one of our spam analysts came across a Bank of America phishing spam.  The thing about this one is that it is one of the best I've seen in a long time: This is very legitimate-looking.  The logo is legitimate, it has correct grammar...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Another botnet taken down

    • 12 Comments
    A few weeks ago in the beginning of November, I posted a blog post about the highest number of spamming botnets that we see on our network.  In roughly the following order, the worst botnets were the following: Rustock Bagle-cb Cutwail Darkmailer...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Comment spam: Spammers vs morons

    • 11 Comments
    This post is a bit of a rant. On this particular blog, all of my commenters are quite intelligent.  You all provide good content and I try my best to respond to most of the comments.  The times I don't is because the connection screws up and...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    New spamming tactic?

    • 11 Comments
    Over the past couple of days, we've seen either the beginning of a new botnet tactic, or we changed something on our networks that is causing network problems. The shift in tactics is the amount of time that a bot will connect to our service, we issue...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Sender authentication part 2: Reading email headers

    • 11 Comments
    As we saw in our previous post, 5 basic commands are needed for SMTP. When the receiving mail transfer agent (MTA) receives the message, it inserts additional headers which allow us to trace the message to its source. In the example from the previous...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    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's Cyber Security Blog

    The problem of backscatter, part 11 - Check to see if you sent it in the first place

    • 11 Comments
    Other than content filtering and SPF, there's another way to combat backscatter - check to see if you sent the message in the first place.  We have already seen that NDR messages and backscatter contain a notice from the bouncing email server as...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Note to MessageLabs... a little help?

    • 10 Comments
    This post is for any of my MessageLabs readers. I tried to send an email to my travel company today using my Gmail account (which I pop through Thunderbird). I got an NDR saying the following: This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Safety first! Right?

    • 10 Comments
    I've been checking around some other anti-spam solutions and one of the selling points that they mention is that they do end-user whitelisting. This is supposedly a selling point of the product - that the users can do individual whitelisting. It's not...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Spam is solved, we can all go home now

    • 10 Comments
    The NewScientist has an article on an interesting new antispam technique.  Here’s an excerpt: SPAMMERS' own trickery has been used to develop an "effectively perfect" method for blocking the most common kind of spam, a team of computer...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Should we trust the libertarians?

    • 10 Comments
    One of the RSS feeds that I read is Reason magazine, which is a web site for libertarians.  In general, libertarians want less government intervention both in our personal lives and in the economy.  The idea behind libertarians is that today...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    My views on SOPA

    • 10 Comments
    During my 4-part series write up on SOPA, I approached it with a neutral tone.  I was hearing from everywhere that it was a horrible piece of legislation, but I wanted to find out for myself.  The goal was to look at it from the technical perspective...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Interesting phobias

    • 10 Comments
    I recently stumbled across a list of phobias in a message. Some of these are very interesting, like a lektorophobia , which is the fear of chickens, or c horophobia, the fear of dancing. Some phobias would be really bad to have, like chrometophobia...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Frequency of spam - distribution by category

    • 9 Comments
    On another news website that talks about image-only spam, Craig Sprosts, senior product manager at IronPort says that they are generally seeing the same spam topics. "Drugs remain number one," says Sprosts. "We're seeing an increase in stock spam. Adult...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Closing in on the Google hackers

    • 9 Comments
    Joseph Menn has an article on CNN.com wherein the crux of the story is that US experts are closing in on the hackers that broke into Google last month.  It is believed by some that the Chinese government sponsored these hackers.  China, naturally...
  • Terry Zink's Cyber Security Blog

    Becoming the best: Measure everything

    • 9 Comments
    I was reading some of my other trading blogs and I came across a post over at TraderDNA that describes some of the metrics that professional traders use to improve their performance and gauge their success.  In my own trading portfolio, I have a few metrics...
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