Terry Zink: Security Talk

Discussing Internet security in (mostly) plain English

  • 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

    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...
  • 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

    How much do botnets re-use their IPs?

    • 7 Comments
    One of the assumptions that I have long held about botnets is that they grab a compromised computer, spam it like crazy and then abandon it once it lands on an RBL.  Eventually, this RBL delists it due to dormant activity, and later on the botnet...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    How much do spammers actually make?

    • 7 Comments
    Spammer X is an ex-spammer who has written book called "Inside the Spam Cartel: Trade Secrets from the Dark Side."  He's a former spammer who retired in 2004 who has shared many of his tricks of the trade. He presented at the Spam Symposium...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    I am now helping out a little bit with Hotmail and outlook.com

    • 6 Comments
    One of the projects I will be working on going forward is helping out with some of the filtering with outlook.com. In case you haven’t heard, over the past few months Microsoft has merged together the spam filtering units responsible for protecting...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Gmail disappointing me... a lot like Walmart

    • 6 Comments
    In the past week or so, I have been getting quite a bit of spam in my Gmail account. It's not image spam, it's stock spam. I blogged a few months ago that Gmail was allowing lots of spam through (no pun intended) but that may have been because an email...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Interview with Yahoo spam chief

    • 6 Comments
    A few days ago, Yahoo antispam chief Mark Risher hosted a Q&A session with various users and answered their questions, both pre-submitted and live questions.  I thought I'd chime in and take some selected quotes from the session and add my own...
  • 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

    Just how many IPs are spamming, anyhow?

    • 6 Comments
    Yesterday, one of our architects popped into my office and we had a brief discussion about blocklists.  The topic shifted to how many IPs we have banned over the years. The total number of available IPv4 IP addresses is 2 32 , or 4,294,967,296 different...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    My Hotmail account was hacked again!

    • 6 Comments
    A few weeks ago, I remarked that my Hotmail username and password had been compromised.  I had some theories about how it happened but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Well, it happened again and once again, I am not sure how it happened. I was...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Final post on interview with the spam chief

    • 6 Comments
    Following on from my previous post on my comments on Mark Risher of Yahoo, with whom there was a user interview, I'd like to respond to a couple more of his responses to users. Mindy: What are you recommendations for handling blocks due to complaint volume...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Anonymous plans to go after DNS root servers. What will be the US’s response?

    • 6 Comments
    The other day on pastebin , snippets of an email conversation were posted with members of the hacking group Anonymous discussing plans to conduct DOS attacks against the Internet’s root name servers: To protest SOPA, Wallstreet, our irresponsible leaders...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    No such thing as generic Viagra

    • 6 Comments
    We've all seen the ads in our spam filters at one time or another, some spammer advertising for generic Viagra, perhaps advertised as “Viakra” or something similar. Having worked with spam for a long time and having dealt with false positives that...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    29% of Internet users have bought something from their spam

    • 6 Comments
    An article on Directmag reports the following: Twenty nine percent of Internet users have purchased goods from spam emails, according to recent research by online security company Marshal. The most commonly purchased items include sexual enhancement pills...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    A couple of more chinks in Gmail's armour?

    • 6 Comments
    In the last few weeks, I've noticed that my Gmail account is getting more spam than it used to. Granted, it's maybe 1 or 2 per week but that's still more than the zero that everybody says it is. In the past couple of days, I've noticed some spam getting...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Review Part 2: Spam Kings

    • 6 Comments
    I'd like to continue on in my review of the book Spam Kings and make some more comments, particularly regarding the antispammers. One thing that I really liked about the book is learning the history of some of the spam tools.  I was never a participant...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Save the inbox, save the world

    • 6 Comments
    One of the differences that webmail services like Hotmail has is the ability that it does not deliver mail to the end-client, users have to login to their accounts and view their mail on the web (unless, of course, they POP their mail). Exchange Hosted...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Security risks at a big box retailer

    • 6 Comments
    Even though things like phishing and spoofing and hacking are what we normally think of when we consider electronic security risks, sometimes the simple things are what cause the biggest problems. I was recently in a big box retailer picking up some stuff...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Sender Authentication part 1: The basics of sending email

    • 6 Comments
    This is my first post in my series on email authentication. In order to understand how to authenticate the sender of an email, we need to understand how email works. I remember back in my 4th year of university when we learned how to send "fake" email...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Personal dilemma

    • 6 Comments
    My girlfriend works a later shift and often times, she and her co-workers bring in food or order it in.  Potlucks, or Thai food, that sort of thing.  Well, today, they had spam and eggs. You read that right – not ham and eggs but spam and eggs...
  • Terry Zink: Security Talk

    Nanobots and fighting spam

    • 6 Comments
    One of my favorite fiction writers is Michael Crichton.  His books often center around technology and how when humans try to control or influence the physical environment, things go awry.  In Jurassic Park, humans recreated dinosaurs and attempted...
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