Stuff 'n' nonsense about email, spam, travel, and life in the UK.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Bastardcast Oct 28 - Uptight Maggie

GHP - Uptight Maggie

Sorry it's been a while since I posted a mashup. Nothing really caught my ear. But here's another one from Go Home Productions (aka Mark Vidler):
Stevie Wonder / Rod Stewart 2.28
Taken from the GHP XFM Remix Superchunk (Oct '05)
Had this particular pairing sitting on the hardrive for a dogs age before finally polishing it up for the superchunk.
Pretty simple in all honesty. A couple of loops from 'Maggie May' fleshed out with some breakbeats and percussion.
Stevie sounds about 9 years of age...

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Governments should offer ISPs incentives to clean up zombies

Most spam is sent by zombies -- PCs infected with viruses, which allow spammers to remotely control them. It's a big problem, but one that most ISPs are doing nothing about, with one or two notable exceptions, such as AOL.

ISPs are in a great position to slash the number of zombies operating today, so why the lack of action? Basically, ISPs have little incentive to identify zombies and help their users clean up their PCs. It requires an investment in time and technology for which there's little payback in their business model. Margins are razor-thin in a competitive, commoditiy marketplace. Few consumers will choose an ISP based on how good they are at cutting off infected PCs.

What if governments encouraged ISPs to actively help in this area? Perhaps via tax breaks. ISPs could be encouraged to instrument all outgoing email traffic so that they can spot patterns. If a subscriber appears to be sending spam, the ISP should cut off their ability to send mail until the subscriber can be contacted and remedial action taken. This could be triggered if a PC sends more than, say, 50 messages per day.

With thanks to the participants in the Message'05 spam roundtable and to Ovum's Graham Titterington for chairing the meeting.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Kate Bush - King Of The Mountain video

Not a bootleg. Kate is back! The video is now online.

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Book review: "Ending Spam" by Jonathan A. Zdziarski

Ending Spam
Bayesian Content Filtering and the Art of Statistical Language Classification
by Jonathan A. Zdziarski
July 2005, 312 pp. ISBN 1-593270-52-6
No Starch Press -

Zdziarski is the creator of the open source spam filter, DSPAM. As such, he is a vocal proponent of the school of statistical filtering, as popularized by Bayesian filtering. No surprise then that his book focuses on statistical filtering, painting it in its most positive light.

The book's structure is well-thought-out. If a chapter becomes too heavy-going -- and some chapters do go into some hair-raising mathematical detail -- the reader can simply skip forward without much trouble.

However, Zdziarski makes little or no effort to tackle the issue of false positives. Generally he glosses over the problems caused by legitimate mail being filtered as spam without acknowledging that such "errors" are much more expensive than the error of unfiltered spam. There were also several places in the book where I'd have preferred the editors and proofreader to have done a better job. It was as if they sometimes misunderstood the point that Zdziarski was making and thus obscured it.

Overall, this book is an excellent primer on spam, spammers, and spam fighting, but the casual reader might get indimidated. It shouldn't be relied on to give a complete and balanced look at spam fighting techniques.

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Bloglines burps. My blogroll disappears.

Uh-oh, it happened again. All my feeds have disappeared from Bloglines. Good job I export the feeds to OPML from time to time.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

How do spammers spam?


A typical spam run sends millions of messages -- all identical (or very similar). How do they do it?

Of course, our spammers aren't sitting in a basement room, feeding Outlook Express with millions of names. So how do they manage to send so many messages so quickly?

As far as sending goes, there are two types of spammer... [read more].

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