Hotmail and Gmail are tied in antispam effectiveness

A couple of days ago, the New York Times reported on a study by Cascade Insights that measured the effectiveness of the spam filters in Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail.  The results?  Hotmail and Gmail are about equal in terms of how good they are, with Yahoo lagging by a good margin. Previously, Hotmail suffered…

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

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 and the beloved bankers who are starving the world for their own selfish needs out of sheer…

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How frequently do botnets reuse IP addresses?

I wonder how much botnets reuse IP addresses.  Do they infect a system and spam, get blocked, discard the IP and move onto the next (new) one?  This means that they have a nearly unlimited supply of IP addresses.  Or do they infect a system and spam, get blocked, and then let it go dormant…


Top bots in 2012 so far

Sometimes I read articles about the size of botnets.  For example, this article on Krebs on Security is called “Who’s Behind the World’s Largest Spam Botnet?”  Krebs names grum as the biggest botnet. How is the size of the botnet measured?  There are multiple ways, here are three: Which botnet contains the most distinct sending…


Real or fake?

The other day, security writer/worker (what doesn’t that guy work on these days?) developed a handy-dandy little game called “Phish or Fake.”  He wrote about it in his blog post here. In the game, he shows you a domain like BANCOFAMERICAN.COM and asks you whether or not the domain really belongs to Bank of America? …

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What do ordinary people think of the Gmail man?

A couple of days ago, I posted a link to a video by Microsoft parodying Gmail – the Gmail man.  In it, the video pokes fun at Google’s habit of making advertisements more relevant to its user base by extracting keywords from emails and using them to serve ads that match those keywords. I decided…

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The Stratfor hack is not over yet

Thanks to Anonymous and their Christmas hacking of Stratfor, I have not only had to change my credit card number and sign up for identity theft protection, I am also the target of spear phishing attacks. This past weekend, I got the following message in my personal email account: From: Stratfor To: Me Date: Sunday,…

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The Gmail man!

I have to admit that this advertisement by Microsoft, poking fun at Google and Gmail – with an advert for its Office 365 service – is pretty funny. In it, they take shots at Google’s habit of scanning your email messages and extracting keywords and tokens in order to better target advertisements that cross your…


New email authentication protocol – DMARC

Today, a consortium of companies including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Paypal announced that they were collaborating and coming up with a new protocol known as DMARC – the Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance. What is DMARC? This is very much a summary of DMARC in a nutshell (I will probably write an article about…

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Spam campaign morphs again

I earlier wrote about an eTrade spam campaign that morphed into a Bank of America spam campaign.  Subsequent mutations saw this spammer use the same tactic over and over again, but slightly modify it.  We saw LinkedIn spam and “You have a transaction” spam. Now, the spammer has morphed again, no doubt because filters updated…


MegaUpload disrupted; Anonymous retaliates

In case you haven’t been following the news, the US Department of Justice seized the file-sharing site MegaUpload, taking its domain names, $50 million in assets, and coordinated with law enforcement officials in other countries to arrest key employees, as described by ars technica. MegaUpload, as the name suggests, is (was) a file-sharing site that…

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Hotmail rolls out features to help deal with gray mail

In a story announced last week, Hotmail has released a new version of itself to help users deal with the problem of gray mail.  Gray mail is marketing mail that straddles the line between spam and ham; to some it’s spam, but to others it is legitimate.  This makes it difficult for filters to make…

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My views on SOPA

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 and compare it to what’s going on today…

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What is SOPA? And is it as bad as everyone says it is? Part 4

Continuing on in my series on SOPA, here are some more arguments that people make against the legislation. 3. Other countries will get mad at the United States if they pass this legislation and retaliate Does anyone really think that if we start blocking offshore sites arbitrarily, other countries won’t follow suit? The United States…

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What is SOPA? And is it as bad as everyone says it is? Part 3

Critics have numerous complaints about SOPA. Here’s one that is designed to scare the daylights out of you: Holy Festivus! The United States is the next China, Iran and Syria! Here are a few of the complaints: 1. It will require deep packet inspection The exact requirements will depend on what the removal order says….

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