Interesting phobias

I recently stumbled across a list of phobias in a message.  Some of these are very interesting, like alektorophobia, which is the fear of chickens, or chorophobia, the fear of dancing. Some phobias would be really bad to have, like chrometophobia which is the fear of money, or frigophobia, the fear of the cold or cold things (which…

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Frequency of spam – distribution by category

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 spam remains significant but is not the top spam topic.” We don’t keep an exact breakdown of…

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Examining images – an interesting wrinkle

Recently, in and around the internet, people have been getting hit with an onslaught of image-only spam.  These spam messages are almost always stock spam pumping a penny stock, usually traded on the pink sheets (ie, ending in .pk).  Lots of our customers have been complaining about them recently. Since I started working here I…

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You have to know your audience

A few weeks ago I was out at a lake (actually, at a camp on a lake) when somebody mentioned “You know what?  We should go fishing.” I said “Capital idea, old bean!”  I then proceeded to get out my laptop and started typing: Dear So-and-So, As part of our regular security screenings, we are…


Cute-sie comments in messages aren’t that cute

From a spam analyst’s point-of-view, little “cute-sie wootsie” comments in emails are not really all that amusing.  What do I mean by “cute-sie wootsie?”  I mean things that are not real words but are meant to convey a certain meaning by avoiding all proper rules of grammar. Examples are including things like “mmmmmmmmmmmm” in the…

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Internet spam cops threaten anti-spam vendor

Internet spam cops threaten anti-spam vendor     By Stan Beer    Thursday, 20 July 2006 Australian anti-spam vendor TotalBlock Pty Ltd has been threatened with a service shutdown by its Internet Service Provider (ISP) after being wrongly accused of sending spam. “People Telecom emailed us to say they had received numerous reports of spam activity…


No such thing as generic Viagra

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 deal with the actual drug Viagra in a legitimate context, I remember about…

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The inaugural post

After running a blog for around two and a half months internally, I have decided to make this blog available to the outside world. In the coming weeks I will probably repost some of my other posts from my internal blog onto this one because I thought that some of them were really good.