Terry Zink: Security Talk

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Microsoft offers to buy Yahoo

    • 9 Comments
    Last Friday, Microsoft made an unsolicited offer to buy Yahoo for $31 per share, representing over a 50% premium from Yahoo's then-share price. Leaving aside the question of whether or not this is a good deal, and what Microsoft's true motivations are...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    July 12 - My third year anniversary!

    • 9 Comments
    Today is a special day at Microsoft, it is the three-year anniversary of the day I joined Frontbridge (now Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services) as a spam analyst. Ah, what a memorable three years it has been. On our first day on the job, me and three...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    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: Security Talk

    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: Security Talk

    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...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Does the computer security industry give good or realistic advice?

    • 9 Comments
    As a guy who works in the computer security industry, I am well aware of all the advice that we give.  Use different passwords at multiple sites that you login to.  Always install the latest software updates.  Run antivirus programs. ...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Publicly available spam tool

    • 9 Comments
    A colleague alerted me to a spamming tool available on the web at the following web URL: http://verify-email. org It's a page that allows someone to enter in an email address and it will tell you whether or not that email address is live. In essence...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    The most dangerous celebrities

    • 9 Comments
    Reuters has an article up today on the most dangerous celebrities on the web.  Topping this year’s list is Cameron Diaz: NEW YORK (Reuters) - She may be known for her playful giggles and killer looks, but now movie star Cameron Diaz has become the...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Strengths and weaknesses

    • 9 Comments
    From time to time, I like to reflect upon my own personal strengths and weaknesses.  I may be a spam fighter, but I'm also a professional working within Microsoft and I want grow my entire asset base of skills, not just in spam analysis. You know...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    When 99% isn't good enough

    • 9 Comments
    The other day, I was taking a look at some of our traffic statistics.  One of the challenges that I have is determining what our catch rate is.  We know how much traffic we see (more or less), we know how much we catch with blocklists and we...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Why does spam and phishing get through Office 365? And what can be done about it?

    • 9 Comments
    Introduction As a filtering service, Office 365 (Exchange Online Protection, or EOP) is dedicated to providing the best antispam filtering possible, and we take this task seriously: We are working hard to keep spam out of your inbox We are...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    ZDNet: 1.5m spam emails sent from compromised University accounts

    • 9 Comments
    Box of Meat antispam blog has a link to an article on ZDNet: 1.5m spam emails sent from compromised University accounts .  Some excerpts: “Hackers gained access to the University of Otago staff email server recently and used it to send out...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    What’s worse than paid for antivirus? Free antivirus

    • 8 Comments
    Recently, Microsoft started packaging its free antivirus software Microsoft Security Essentials with its Windows Update service.  This is a smart move, right?  Users who don’t have any A/V protection would now have something and therefore they...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Trouble at SORBS

    • 8 Comments
    The Register reports today that a glitch on the SORBS blocklist over the past 24 hours ended up causing many thousands of legitimate emails to be blocked: The problems at SORBS — short for the Spam and Open Relay Blocking System — began on Wednesday and...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    State AGs: Craiglist should drop adult services

    • 8 Comments
    I found this story today on the Associated Press: HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- State attorneys general nationwide are demanding that Craigslist remove its adult services section because they say the website cannot adequately block potentially illegal ads....
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Strange legal requirements

    • 8 Comments
    Some of this stuff I couldn't make up if I tried... With all the hoopla about the David Ritz case (which I will blog about in a future post), I thought I'd remark about a very strange legal requirement about filtering mail.  As usual, this unreasonable...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Can a computer fight spam better than a human?

    • 8 Comments
    In this blog, I sometimes try to point out the similarities between stock trading and spam fighting.  I happen to trade stocks (but never take tips I receive by email, not even in The Motley Fool) and I find that the two activities have things in common...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Accurate metrics

    • 8 Comments
    This past week, I started coming up with some new metrics on how to measure our effectiveness, specifically, our spam effectiveness. The way Hotmail does it is use a metric called Spam-in-the-inbox, or SITI for short.  It is a measure of the proportion...
  • 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

    ATMs now recognize handwriting

    • 7 Comments
    One of my favorite Apple references on the Simpsons comes from the following clip.  During a school assembly, Kearney tells his buddy, "...take a memo on your Newton: Beat up Martin." He scribbles away only to see the Newton's handwriting...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    EU fines Microsoft record $1.3 billion

    • 7 Comments
    Originally from Yahoo Finance : BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union fined Microsoft Corp. a record $1.3 billion Wednesday for the amount it charges rivals for software information. EU regulators said the company charged "unreasonable prices"...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    If you give stuff away for free, people will abuse it

    • 7 Comments
    In what is starting to sound like a broken record, one of my favorite companies, Google, is being abused by spammers - again. First we found spam blogs in Blogspot, then we found spam coming from Gmail users, and now I have found a third abuse - spammers...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Improving Backscatter detection with Boomerang

    • 7 Comments
    One of the features we have been working on in Office 365/Exchange Online Protection (EOP) is called Boomerang which is a mechanism to better detect backscatter spam. Image taken from here . What is Backscatter? Backscatter spam occurs...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Google maps vs Live maps

    • 7 Comments
    This post is not spam related, but I'd still like to talk about it. For the longest time, I always used Google maps as my map-interface of choice whenever I wanted to search for a location.  I thought that it had the best user interface. I think...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Gmail has an interesting idea to thwart spammers

    • 7 Comments
    A reader sent me a link to a list of points that make Gmail really great.  I'm not sure whether or not these points are enough to convince me that Gmail is fantastic, but I admit that it does do some things well (Hotmail does a few things well, also...
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