Planet Antispam

July 13, 2012

Terry Zink

Today is my 8-year anniversary of fighting spam

Today is my 8-year anniversary of fighting spam.  It was July 12, 2004, that I got the job at Frontbridge as a spam analyst and we headed down to Los Angeles for 4 weeks of training.  Here’s a recap of 8 general trends that have happened since then:

  1. Image spam - In 2006, there was a huge outbreak of image spam.  This was a different kind of spam in that the content had very little words and just an inline jpg or gif.  This type of spam far dwarfed any campaigns we had seen to that point.  Image spam is not nearly as popular now and most filters have adapted to it, but it was the first major spam campaign I had seen that did a good job at evading filters.

  2. The rise of botnets to spam – Also in the year 2006 and spilling into 2007, spam from botnets increased substantially.  While botnets had always been used, during that time their use exploded (at least in mail sent to our networks).  It was during this era, and through until 2009, that spam reports in industry would make the claim that spam was 95% of all email.  Since 2010, that percentage has declined.

  3. The diversification of botnets – As spam filters started getting better and better at blocking botnets, mostly by making use of IP blocklists, the botnets adapted.  The biggest shift is away from sending spam from bot’ted machines to using botnets to send spam from legitimate webmail accounts like Hotmail, Yahoo and AOL.  Spammers use these botnets to remotely login to accounts they have created to send spam from them, knowing full well that spam filters will not block these IPs.

    Botnets have diversified into other activities, too.  They host malware, compromise websites, perform fast fluxing, do black search engine optimization, and other criminal activity.

  4. The rise of using compromised accounts – Also related to the above, spammers have shifted away from using compromised machines to compromising legitimate accounts.  They will steal user credentials and use their botnets to login to users’ accounts and send tons of spam from them.  They do this because people will not trust mail from users they don’t recognize, but they might trust mail from people they regularly communicate with.

  5. The disappearance of spammers – There has been a lot of activity in the anti-abuse community infiltrating botnets and shutting them down (Rustock, Zeus, Spyeye, etc).  In response, spammers have gotten smaller.  Spam is now only 2/3 of all email, way down for its peaks.  This is because spammers are more narrowly targeting their attacks and trying to avoid attracting so much attention.

  6. The rise of bulk mail – I wrote a post recently that Hotmail is providing tools to block bulk mail.  When I first started, this type of spam was common but it was much less than malicious spam.  Nowadays, greymail (dark shades of gray) outnumbers malicious spam.  Spammers who used to send out malicious spam are still doing it, but they are not doing it via spam the way they were before.  This has created a niche market for the snowshoe spammer.

  7. The rise of malware – Viruses in the 1990’s were designed to disrupt user’s productivity; it was a bit of a fun thing.  During the past 8 years especially, malware has become more dangerous – they are designed  such that the user is unaware of their presence, but they are doing nasty things like steal money from your bank accounts, or turn your computer into a spam-spewing agent.  Malware has seen a rise in frequency similar to the way spam did in 2006 and 2007.

  8. The rise of state sponsored malware – With revelations earlier this year that the Stuxnet worm was the work of governments, it signals a shift in the way we view malware.  Who’s at risk?  Should ordinary users be concerned?  What are the rules of engagement?  Is Die Hard 4 going to come true? This is the least transparent trend out of all of them.

That’s the way I saw the world during the past 8 years.  What will happen in the next 8?  I didn’t foresee #5 and #8. I wasn’t too surprised at #3.

What do you think is the next big thing?

July 13, 2012 01:03 AM

My credit card information was leaked to the Internet and all I got was this interesting eBook

This past December, private geopolitical analyst firm Stratfor was hacked when hackers from the Anonymous group broke into their servers and posted users’ passwords and credit card information online.  My credit card information was among them and I wrote a bunch of blog posts about my experience:

After the hack occurred, I was really mad.  Not at Stratfor, but at Anonymous hacker who broke in and leaked the data.  But I confess, as time passed and nothing bad seemed to occur, it fell down a lot lower in priority at the bottom of my mind.

Yesterday, I got an email that apparently some subscribers (or maybe 1 subscriber) got together and sued Stratfor for negligence.  They argued that Stratfor didn’t do enough to protect their subscribers’ data and were looking for restitution.

Stratfor settled the lawsuit out of court, and as a subscriber who was affected by the breach, I get the following:

  1. One month of free access to Stratfor, valued at $29.08, free-of-charge.  While this sounds like a pretty good deal, I usually subscribe to Stratfor by waiting until the last minute when they have their annual specials and it costs either $199 or $249 per year.  That works out to roughly 3 months free-of-charge access.  So this deal isn’t that great, although if they never run their discounts again I’ll be out of luck.

  2. I get some money from Stratfor’s Insurance company if they ever collect anything.

  3. I get an eBook called “The Blue Book.”  I don’t know what this book is, but I’ve read three or four of Stratfor’s books in the past and I really enjoy them. 

    I admit that I am easy to please.  I had to change my credit card and password, but I didn’t have any fraudulent charges nor did anyone login to any of my other accounts.  No harm done, so I’m happy with the book even though I don’t know what it is (and can’t find anything on it after doing a quick Internet search).

But what really sealed the deal for me was when I read in The Register that police had caught and charged a hacker with the Stratfor breach, and that was a result of the ringleader of the Anonymous group deciding to co-operate with the FBI last year:

Jeremy Hammond, 27, of Chicago, Illinois, was charged in March with access device fraud and hacking offences in relation to to the Stratfor hack. He is alleged to be the infamous Anonymous figure "Anarchaos".

Hammond's arrest took place with the assistance of LulzSec suspect turned FBI informant, Hector Xavier 'Sabu' Monsegur, officials said. Court documents reveal that Monsegur offered an FBI-supplied server as a repository for 20GB of data extracted from Stratfor, an offer that was accepted.

So from my perspective, the hacker who did the deed was caught and I get a free book.  Since that’s all there seems to be to the story (i.e., no other of my information was hacked), I’m happy.

But more importantly, it (probably) illustrates a shift going forward, and new opportunities for emerging businesses:

  1. Companies are going to start thinking about protecting data-theft insurance. Rather than take their chances with a breach and getting sued, they will buy insurance so that if (when?) it does happen, their risk is mitigated.

  2. This will create new business for insurance companies (if hackers hate big business, their plans have backfired because they just created more of it). They will evaluate the risk/reward ratio of providing these services and will see it as a new revenue stream.

  3. This will also create new business for companies doing risk assessments for large (or even small) corporations.  This could be consulting companies who go in and assess risk for insurance companies in order to set premiums, or companies who are buying this insurance to figure out where they are most at risk and fix (or mitigate, or take it as an accepted risk) those vulnerabilities.

That’s my update on the Stratfor hack.

July 13, 2012 12:34 AM

July 12, 2012

Terry Zink

Hotmail looking to combat gray mail

Wired yesterday reported about an initiative that Hotmail is working on that combats gray mail – mail that isn’t spam or legitimate mail, but is in-between, a shade of gray.  Gray mail is bulk mail and some people want it, while others do not. 

Hotmail has come up with the tools to help you get control back. They can help you un-clutter your inbox and give you your time back. Tools such as flagging important emails at the top and the sweep tool to blitz unwanted emails, will help you take control of your inbox. Spend 60 seconds slicing through the clutter with Hotmail's 'Sweep' tool and set rules to automatically schedule filing and deleting emails you don't want in your inbox.

Hotmail has a video of the feature available here: Hotmail Explains the Sweep feature.  As someone who has worked in email a long time, I can confirm that gray mail (or greymail) is one of the most difficult types of mail to classify because of its personal component – what is spam to one person is legitimate to another.  And while a large proportion of some users may think a message is spam, say 85%, the other 15% wants that mail.  Therefore, implementing rules to block the messages globally results in very high rates of false positives.  But not blocking them at all results in lots of users complaining about “spam” in the inbox.

This gets complicated as we scale the solution. Some spam filters try to predict or memorize classifications according to what it knows, or thinks, the users want to receive.  This works if a spam filter protects several hundred thousand, or even a couple of million, users. 

However, if a spam filter has to protect hundreds of millions of users, such as in a large web mail service, there are a lot of resources required to sync all that data and transmit it across data centers.  It’s not only a filtering problem, but also an Operations problem – transferring such large data sets strains bandwidth, and processing such huge settings (200 million x 150 custom settings) requires lots of processing power.  Just how much effort do you want to put behind a free email service?  The law of the rate of diminishing returns applies here.

Finally, greymail is difficult to filter in general because different senders of mail have different reputation classes.  There are:


Because of the variations in greymail, it confuses spam filters.  Some error on the side of catching more spam (and thus alienating people who want the mail) and some error on the side of allowing more mail (and thus alienating people who don’t want it).  The solution is to provide the users tools to quickly and easily deal with their own mail streams.

Kudos to Hotmail for providing tools to allow users to do just that.

July 12, 2012 11:52 PM

Richi Jennings

Excuse me little girl, but did you misplace your soul? #redheadsrock   #gingerthursday   Josh...

Excuse me little girl, but did you misplace your soul?

#redheadsrock   #gingerthursday  

Josh Dros originally shared this post:

Here is my contribution to #GingerThursday . This one is probably going to give me nightmares. 


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July 12, 2012 05:42 PM

The Internet Patrol

How to Report Text Message Spam to T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and ATT

Isn't it frustrating when you receive an SMS text message and it turns out to be SMS spam? Don't you wish that you could report those spammers to your wireless carrier? Well, you can! Whether you want to report text spam to ATT, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint - or any other North American carrier, it's as simple as forwarding it right from your phone. Here's how to do it.

July 12, 2012 05:13 PM

Richi Jennings

Thank you! I just love the level of interaction here. I just wanted to recognize all you wonderfu...

Thank you!
I just love the level of interaction here.
I just wanted to recognize all you wonderful people who comment, share, and +1 my posts. You make it all worthwhile; thanks!

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July 12, 2012 02:16 PM

All Spammed Up

UK Spam Complaints Up by Whopping 43%

The London Olympic Games are almost upon us, and it’s no great surprise that there’s been an uptick in spam activity related to the games. Spammers love to latch onto any topic that will lower a person’s guard long enough to click on a malicious link or open an attachment. The psychology is simple: pick a subject that’s in everyone’s mind and the battle is half-won. And in a year that’s seen conflicting reports and dramatic changes in the nature of e-mail spam, it seems that the battlefield has changed, or perhaps more appropriately, grown, to include multiple scam methods.

It’s the simple premise of economies of scale. Why just implement a spam e-mail and SMS campaign – a ‘push’ mechanism that requires the scammer to broadcast a message in the hopes that a user will read the e-mail and choose to click the link? It makes a lot of sense to target e-mail, SMS, as well as other methods like Twitter and Facebook – methods in which the user ‘pulls’ the message, in a sense, by actively participating when they log into the site and click links that appear to be valid messages from compromised friends, or scammers masquerading as site staff.

It’s long been a malady – a growing pain, really – of the Internet that users have had little control over what got delivered to their inboxes. Most users feel hopeless to do anything about it, and God forbid that they get scammed….what then? We don’t really know how successful the scammers have been over the past twenty or so years that e-mail scams have been around.  In the early days of the Internet, people who succumbed to a scam probably reacted in much the same way you would today – call the police. But without laws, or even a general understanding of what the technology was all about, most people probably heard what you’d expect the police to say at a time when Windows 95 wasn’t yet available and Steve Jobs was still in exile from Apple: “there’s nothing we can do.”

Jump to 2012 and the story hasn’t changed much. Your local po-po ain’t going to be able to do much about a Nigerian ‘prince’ who just scammed your nana out of her life savings, unless that prince happens to show up in your neighborhood and gets nabbed for driving his Ferrari too fast. Fortunately, Microsoft and several international law enforcement organizations have been working hard for you, shuttering botnets, redirecting your DNS so you can continue to friend people and fling angry birds at things, and putting bad little spammers behind bars. Laws have been put in place, but remain fairly toothless. So what’s an honest, taxpaying citizen to do? Well, in the UK, you can give the Information Commissioner’s Office the ability to fine those individuals and organizations who have a love affair with bugging people.

Earlier this year, the ICO was given the ability to levy fines up to £500,000, although they haven’t had much success in finding someone to fine. They are, however, getting people riled up enough to do something about the glut of spam oozing out of inboxes. According to the BBC, the ICO reports that consumer complaints over spam and e-mail have risen this year by a whopping 43%. The greatest complaints are over automated phone calls (35%), unwanted text messages (29%), live phone calls (19%) and email (14%).

Unfortunately, like any public complaint forum, not every complaint is valid. According to the BBC, the ICO’s annual report revealed that:

“of the complaints made only 11% were considered for investigation. The majority – 60% – were classed as “ineligible” or “made too early”.”

Now, the 43% isn’t quite so impressive when you consider that the total number of complaints only amounted to 7,095 in the last year. But it’s still significant if you consider that people are taking matters into their own hands. Twenty years ago, people had little or no recourse when being electronically harassed, and twenty years later, at least we can vent a bit. And the ICO recognizes that it’s faced with a mighty task.

“It has proved difficult in the past,” an ICO spokesman stated to the BBC, “for the ICO to get the information needed from telecommunications providers to allow us to sufficiently investigate spam.”

The ICO chooses to remain optimistic, and maybe some of those consumer complaints will result in a few hurtful fines. If nothing else, we are not nearly as helpless as we were twenty years ago.

Liked this post? Get more anti-spam related news from AllSpammedUp.com!

UK Spam Complaints Up by Whopping 43%

July 12, 2012 02:00 PM

Sophos Blog (Spam Category)

Watch Sophos's James Lyne audition for TED2013

Sophos's James Lyne recently auditioned to present at next year's main TED conference in Long Beach California: "The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered." Take a look and see what you think. Watch his audition, and let TED know what you think.

July 12, 2012 12:31 PM

Richi Jennings

Pirating is bad but reselling digital work is OK, says EU ruling . #HPIO UK for + HPUK  by +...

Pirating is bad but reselling digital work is OK, says EU ruling.
#HPIO UK for +HPUK by +David Amerland... 

Pirating is bad but reselling digital work is OK, ... - Input Output

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July 12, 2012 11:40 AM

Today I Learned that medical practice is "tyrannical, hierarchical, controlled, intolerant,...

Today I Learned that medical practice is "tyrannical, hierarchical, controlled, intolerant, dogmatic"

Spence D. What happened to the doctor-patient relationship? BMJ 2012;344:e4349

TIL medical practice is "tyrannical, hierarchical, controlled, intolerant, dogmatic" : Health

July 12, 2012 11:22 AM

Yahoo! Voices hack reveals 453,492 passwords, claims D33Ds Company . Today's #ITBW  for +...

Yahoo! Voices hack reveals 453,492 passwords, claims D33Ds Company.
Today's #ITBW  for +Computerworld by +Richi Jennings...

$YHOO

Yahoo! Voices hack reveals 453,492 passwords, claims D33Ds Company

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July 12, 2012 10:08 AM

July 11, 2012

Enemieslist

new patterns posted - 20120712 (maintenance patterns release)

100536 patterns in 35746 domains, 12350 right anchor strings, 382954 test IPs

New patterns and updates from the various contributing feeds.

PLEASE NOTE that this release contains a NEW CLASS: 'dedhost'. It
replaces 'static/colo' and allows for distinction between shared and
dedicated web hosting and colocated servers. It is now reflected in
the rbldnsd files and returns 127.0.2.3.

July 11, 2012 11:53 PM

new patterns posted - 20120711 (maintenance patterns release)

100478 patterns in 35724 domains, 12350 right anchor strings, 382575 test IPs

New patterns and updates from the various contributing feeds.

PLEASE NOTE that this release contains a NEW CLASS: 'dedhost'. It
replaces 'static/colo' and allows for distinction between shared and
dedicated web hosting and colocated servers. It is now reflected in
the rbldnsd files and returns 127.0.2.3.

July 11, 2012 03:51 PM

Richi Jennings

Drop Everything and Disable Gadgets! #HPIO UK Editor's blog for + HPUK  by + Richi Jennings...

Drop Everything and Disable Gadgets!
#HPIO UK Editor's blog for +HPUK by +Richi Jennings...

Drop Everything and Disable Gadgets! - Input Output

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July 11, 2012 02:56 PM

All Spammed Up

GMail’s Spam Filter is Faltering

Google has long been lauded for its superior spam filtering. GMail users rarely see spam in their inboxes and hardly ever have to think about their spam folder, in fact Gmail keeps it hidden by default. That was just fine with most users because the spam filter was so good, the chances of legit emails being flagged as spam were slim to none.

Not anymore.

Google recently updated GMail and, since then, users have been reporting a high incidence of legit emails not making it to them. Upon digging up the spam folder and looking through it, those legit emails were found. I can verify this. I’ve been a GMail user for years and today for the first time found two legit emails in my spam folder. Why is this happening? It appears Google tweaked their algorithm and made it more aggressive – perhaps a bit too much so.

It’s important to note that much of the false positives are legitimate bulk emails such as newsletters the recipients have opted into, order confirmations and update notifications. What does this mean if your company sends out these kinds of emails? Set up test accounts on GMail if you haven’t already and send your emails to them. If they get flagged as spam, contact your ISP or email provider and have them contact Google with a complaint.

Users, at least for now, had better get used to checking their spam folders everyday. A hassle? Yes, but a much more tolerable one than having an inbox full of spam. Still, let’s hope Google tweaks their filters again and finds some middle ground.

Liked this post? Get more anti-spam related news from AllSpammedUp.com!

GMail’s Spam Filter is Faltering

July 11, 2012 02:00 PM

Richi Jennings

iPhone 5 design pictured: Confirms rumors, confounds bloggers . Today's #ITBW  for + Computer...

iPhone 5 design pictured: Confirms rumors, confounds bloggers.
Today's #ITBW  for +Computerworld by +Richi Jennings...

$AAPL

iPhone 5 design pictured: Confirms rumors, confounds bloggers

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July 11, 2012 10:14 AM

Spamresource.com

Guest Post: Canada's New Anti-Spam Bill - Is Anyone Listening?

Today's guest post comes to us courtesy of Kevin Huxham, Director of Deliverability at CakeMail, creators of an email marketing application for small and medium-sized businesses, based in Montreal, Canada. Kevin has more than twelve years working in various email-related roles on both the sending and receiving sides of the industry. He has been around since the early days at CakeMail and helps

July 11, 2012 09:59 AM

July 10, 2012

Enemieslist

new patterns posted - 20120710 (maintenance patterns release)

100441 patterns in 35709 domains, 12356 right anchor strings, 382469 test IPs

New patterns and updates from the various contributing feeds.

PLEASE NOTE that this release contains a NEW CLASS: 'dedhost'. It
replaces 'static/colo' and allows for distinction between shared and
dedicated web hosting and colocated servers. It is now reflected in
the rbldnsd files and returns 127.0.2.3.

July 10, 2012 04:16 PM

Richi Jennings

Protect Your Data from a new Rogues' Gallery of Vulnerabilities .  #HPIO UK for + HPUK  by...

Protect Your Data from a new Rogues' Gallery of Vulnerabilities
#HPIO UK for +HPUK by Oliver Rist...

Protect Your Data from a new Rogues' Gallery of Vu... - Input Output

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July 10, 2012 04:10 PM

All Spammed Up

Let’s Talk About Spam – Wrapping It All Up

Welcome to the last in our series on talking about spam to end users. We’ve spent the past several weeks talking about spam, phishing, and malware; how to recognize it; how to protect ourselves from it; and we’ve done so using what I hope was a minimum of technical jargon or geek speak. The ideal behind this series was to either provide our technical readers with a blueprint they could use to speak to their non-technical friends, family, and coworkers about spam, or to give them something they could point these people to so they could read it on their own. Let’s review what we have covered in the past several weeks.

Here’s a run down on the posts that make up our series on talking about spam.

Let’s Talk About Spam - Our introduction to this series set the stage for admin and end user alike.

Let’s Talk About Spam – Spam, Phishing and Malware - Here we go over each of the big bad three-how they are similar, how they differ, and just what they can do to you.

Let’s Talk About Spam – Why Should I Care? - Far too many home users think malware and phishing are just attacks against businesses. Here we set the record straight so they understand just why everyone needs to care.

Let’s Talk About Spam – How to Identify Spam - Seasoned professionals can spot spam by the third word in the subject. With what we cover in this post, end users will have a better idea of what stands out in spam.

Let’s Talk About Spam – The Worst Offenders - Playing off the previous article, we provide some examples here of actual spam, phishing, and malware to help drive home the previous lesson.

Let’s Talk About Spam – FUD - In this article we discuss fear, uncertainty, and doubt and how spammers and scammers play upon human nature to try to scare you into reading their emails, opening their attachments, and visiting their websites.

Let’s Talk About Spam – Identifying Suspicious Links - Once again playing off the previous, here we look at links in emails to help you recognize dangerous links for what they really are.

Let’s Talk About Spam – Personal Information - Personal information is exactly that, and in this post we discuss why you should think twice before giving it out.

Let’s Talk About Spam – To Unsubscribe or To Ignore? - We try to answer the age old question here, and help you determine when to click the unsubscribe link or just the delete key.

Let’s Talk About Spam – Reporting Spam - While there is no spam fighting army on the Internet, in this post we discuss what some of the major services do when you report spam to them.

Let’s Talk About Spam – Do You Really Want To Do That? - Back on the idea of personal information, and how readily some folks will give out their email address, we discuss the pros and cons of this, and offer some suggestions for alternatives.

Let’s Talk About Spam – Ways To Protect Yourself - With a better understanding of spam, phishing, and malware, and how to identify them all, reader should now have a better appreciation of just why they actually need good antivirus software, should user d/ls, not forward emails blindly, and why a throwaway account might be a good thing to have.

Let’s Talk About Spam – What to Do when You’ve Done the Unthinkable - Accidents happen, and even when you understand the threats, you can make a mistake. Here we talk about how to hand those oops moments.

And then finally, this post to wrap it all up. You might just want to book mark this one, since it contains links to all the rest, so the next time a friend, family member, coworker, or stranger on the street asks you about spam and what they can do about it, you can point them to this one site and send them on their merry way. By the time they read through the entire series, they should have all the information they need.

For those of you who have stuck with this series from beginning to end, thank you. I hope you found this useful. With this series done, I find myself needing to come up with the next round of articles. If you have any ideas for another series, or a set of topics you wish we would cover here at AllSpammedUp, please leave a comment and let me know what you would like to see. If I can cover it, and my editor approves, you might just spawn the next series. Thanks in advance for your suggestions or requests.

Liked this post? Get more anti-spam related news from AllSpammedUp.com!

Let’s Talk About Spam – Wrapping It All Up

July 10, 2012 02:00 PM

Richi Jennings

Mountain Lion release date & Apple system requirements puzzle devs. Today's #ITBW  for +...

Mountain Lion release date & Apple system requirements puzzle devs.
Today's #ITBW  for +Computerworld by +Richi Jennings...

$AAPL

Mountain Lion release date & Apple system requirements puzzle devs

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July 10, 2012 09:59 AM

July 09, 2012

Terry Zink

More pirated software leads to more malware infections, poorer countries at more risk

I decided to take a look at the relationship between the rate of software piracy and the rate of malware infections.  If you pirate your software, are you more at risk of getting infected with malware?  It sounds plausible so I decided to investigate.

First, I downloaded a copy of the 2011 BSA Global Software Piracy Study.  Then I went to Microsoft’s latest Security Intelligence Report (SIR), volume 12, and looked at the Worldwide Threat Assessment.  In the SIR, Microsoft has a measurement that it calls CCM, or Computers Cleaned per Thousand executions of the Malicious Software Removal Tool.  They also include some telemetry from the Microsoft Security Essentials software.  One execution/removal of the MSRT corresponds to a malware infection.

I took the data from the piracy study and checked it against Microsoft’s malware data from the 4th quarter of 2011 and then plotted them in a scatter plot.  I tossed out the countries for which I had no data for one or both data points, and also excluded one outlier (China – Microsoft’s data on China is too low to be credible).  Below is the result:

image

There is a positive correlation (and statistically significant) of 0.498 between the rate of software piracy in a country and the detected rate of malware infection/cleanups.  I classify this relationship as medium strength*.

Conclusion: Pirated software increases your chances of malware infection.

Okay, so using pirated software is risky. But who buys pirated software?  Is it people in the developed world?  Or people in the developing world?  Do wealthier countries buy their software more often?

To determine this, I used GDP per capita that is published in the World Economic Outlook database, maintained by the International Monetary Fund.  I adjusted for the outliers, again discarding China (malware infections far too low), and Qatar and Luxembourg (GDP per capita too high).  I then plotted rate of piracy vs. GDP per capita, below is the result:

image

In the above, the regression line is statistically significant (a strong correlation) and it slopes downward, indicating an inverse relationship GDP per capital and the rate of software piracy.  Or, to put it another way:

Users in poorer countries have higher rates of piracy than users in wealthier countries.


Finally, I decided to check the rate of malware infection against GDP per capita.  We know that users in poor countries pirate software more often, and pirated software is more at risk than legitimate software.  To calculate this, I combined the three datasets above to come up with the following chart, once again adjusting for China, Qatar and Luxembourg:

image

The trend line in this chart is the same as the trend line in the previous chart, but the correlation is only medium strength. But the result is the same:

Users in poorer countries have higher rates of malware infection than users in wealthier countries.


The above analysis confirms what I suspected – acquiring software illegitimately increases your risk of malware infection, and users in the developing world (as defined by International Monetary Fund) are more at risk.


* In this analysis, I use the following categories:

correlation < 0.10 = No statistically significant relationship
0.10 ≤ correlation < 0.30 = Weak correlation
0.30 ≤ correlation < 0.60 = Medium strength correlation
0.60 ≤ correlation ≤ 1.00 = Strong correlation

July 09, 2012 08:27 PM

Enemieslist

new patterns posted - 20120709 (maintenance patterns release)

100434 patterns in 35704 domains, 12355 right anchor strings, 382462 test IPs

New patterns and updates from the various contributing feeds. There
was a minor release on 20120707.

PLEASE NOTE that this release contains a NEW CLASS: 'dedhost'. It
replaces 'static/colo' and allows for distinction between shared and
dedicated web hosting and colocated servers. It is now reflected in
the rbldnsd files and returns 127.0.2.3.

July 09, 2012 05:41 PM

Richi Jennings

Mozilla Thunderbird: Goodbye and Good Riddance . This week's #HPIO  Mobility Matters by +...

Mozilla Thunderbird: Goodbye and Good Riddance.
This week's #HPIO  Mobility Matters by +Richi Jennings...

Mozilla Thunderbird: Goodbye and Good Riddance - Input Output

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July 09, 2012 05:31 PM

Wow! A V-22 Osprey just flew low over my home office... www.hightech-edge.com/wp-content/uploads/...

Wow! A V-22 Osprey just flew low over my home office...

www.hightech-edge.com/wp-content/uploads/boeing-bell-v22-osprey-550x402.jpg

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July 09, 2012 04:14 PM

All Spammed Up

Android Botnet or Spoof?

 

A new spam campaign whose messages have the tagline “Sent from Yahoo Email on
Android” has led some security researchers to believe there is a new Android-based botnet out there. Others disagree, saying the spam is a result of users downloading malware-ridden apps from the Google Play store. Still others say it’s simply traditional spammers exploiting Yahoo’s buggy Android email app. Who’s right? That remains to be seen.

Another theory is that a traditional botnet is adding the tag line to fool people into thinking it’s coming from an Android device. While some may ask why a spammer would want to do so, it does make sense in a way. What if the goal of the campaign isn’t spamming, but sabotage? It’s no secret that Apple is viciously apposed to all things Android and has been fighting tooth and nail to annihilate it. Just recently they forced both the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus off the market through a nasty court battle (the court promptly lifted the injunction on the Nexus a few days later) but lost similar lawsuits against HTC and Motorola.

Could it be even remotely possible that Apple is behind this odd spam campaign in an effort to make Android users believe the OS is dangerously insecure? Apple of course has long prided itself on being the only virus free OS. Something to think about, yes? Leave a comment and let us know what you think about this odd new spam campaign.

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Android Botnet or Spoof?

July 09, 2012 02:00 PM

Richi Jennings

How to Escape Death (by PowerPoint): Part 2 .  #HPIO UK for + HPUK  by Chris Barton... How to...

How to Escape Death (by PowerPoint): Part 2
#HPIO UK for +HPUK by Chris Barton...

How to Escape Death (by PowerPoint): Part 2 - Input Output

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July 09, 2012 01:10 PM

IT spend up 3% in 2012, thanks to cloudy thinking . Today's #ITBW  for + Computerworld  by +...

IT spend up 3% in 2012, thanks to cloudy thinking.
Today's #ITBW  for +Computerworld by +Richi Jennings...

IT spend up 3% in 2012, thanks to cloudy thinking

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July 09, 2012 09:57 AM

July 07, 2012

Richi Jennings

DNS OK? dns-ok will say if DNSChanger at bay . Today's #ITBW  for + Computerworld  by + Richi...

DNS OK? dns-ok will say if DNSChanger at bay.
Today's #ITBW  for +Computerworld by +Richi Jennings...

DNS OK? will say if DNSChanger at bay

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July 07, 2012 02:00 PM

BT Bandwidth: Lower Leased-Line Prices Proposed . #HPIO UK for + HPUK  by + Richi Jennings ...  ...

BT Bandwidth: Lower Leased-Line Prices Proposed.
#HPIO UK for +HPUK by +Richi Jennings...
 
$BT $BT.A

BT Bandwidth: Lower Leased-Line Prices Proposed - Input Output

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July 07, 2012 10:51 AM