Spam

simple reasons as to why Windows Live sucks

I’ve started using my Microsoft Hotmail Windows Live account again, and it didn’t take a hard look to find 2 reasons why it is vastly inferior to Google Mail:

  1. Informations are passed on a transparent HTTP connection. Gmail uses encrypted HTTPS all session long.
  2. Windows Live allow me to search keywords in ONE message at a time. Gmail allows me to search keywords in the frickin’ thousands of email I have been getting since opening my account.

Way to go Microsoft, Bing! must be a big threat to Google if you’ve put the same attention to detail in developing it.

Update: last week, Microsoft reported that thousands of Hotmail accounts were exposed over a phishing attack. I know better than to click on an email link to log into my account, so it seems that many of those exposed accounts were used to corrupt the Hotmail network, including my own account. I got about 20 spam mail allegedly sent by contacts, and 10 mail sending failure notices to contacts from my Hotmail list. I proceeded to change my password, and it now seems that the Hotmail spam filter is temporarily disabled, letting all the junk mail reach my inbox. I’m sure this is prompting a lot of long time Hotmail users to move to a more serious provider like gMail or Yahoo.

Update: Turns out my vacation reply has somehow been activated, featured the same text I’ve seen on and on, and was set to reply to every incoming mail (which according to Microsoft makes me more vulnerable):

Dear friend,
how were you going? I would like to introduce you an really good space,there are mainly run various kinds of famous electornic products, it’s true charm pioneer.Now the company is under promotion, all of the products are sold nearly as the same as their cost.
Charmpioneer renders the best service to customers, and provides you with original products which are very cheap, but good-quality.
It is really a good opportunity for taking action, let’s go,just do it, and you will fall in love with it.

The web address: (www.)brcian.com

Update: Now I noticed that my contact list has completely dissapeared whenever I connect with an IM client.

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Bloatware
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Digital privacy
Economic sustainability
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Spam
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Botnet army back to spamming

Photo credit Egon Endrenyi © 2004 Revolution Studios Distribution Co., LLC.

Photo credit Egon Endrenyi © 2004 Revolution Studios Distribution Co., LLC.

In Guillermo del Toro’s big screen adaptation of Hellboy, The protagonists meet Sammael, a monster that reincarnates into two new creatures everytime it is killed. They quickly realize that getting rid of the beast turns out to be a rather tedious task since it multiplies exponentially. The characters eventually manage to destroy the offspring by burning down the very nest of which the eggs keep coming out.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about Internet providers succeeding in cutting down spam traffic by 2/3 after shutting off some identified ill-regulated Web hosts. Computer World reports how the Srizbi botnets were cut off from the chain of command, the latter being hosted at McColo. It appears however that botnets were programmed to try and reconnect to the chain of command by registering one fallback domain from a list generated by algorithms. In a round-the-clock race, security experts registered the domains guessed after a reverse engineering of the algorithm, but they were eventually overtaken as the first bots began to feed the rest of the 100,000 infected machines with the updated malware. As a result, spam traffic is now back to what it was like two weeks ago.

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How much are your digital details worth?

The Economist posted a chart of the estimated price at witch “cybercriminals” are selling stolen information. In case of bank account details, the stakes can be pretty high if that information falls into the wrong hands. The text doesn’t mention what are the sources of those figures, but it gives a good idea of the types of digital information cybercriminals do prize the most.

In a September 2008 article, I published simple precautions to follow to protect your digital privacy and those tips are more relevant than ever.

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online Googlemail now themeable

Initially launched as an invitation-only release on the 1st April 2004, GoogleMail offered one of the highest storage capacity of the time: 1GB, compared to the meager 2 to 4 MB of the competition. Gmail, which was and still is in the Beta status, features a search-oriented interface and does not allowed to send nor receive Windows executable files or archive files containing executables (an efficient remedy to virus spread on Microsoft Windows). It features spam filters that I consider amongst the most efficient.

Gmail opened registration to the public on the 7th of February 2007 and it recently became OpenID, which mean that the same account data can be used to log on a broad range of Web sites. On the other hand, more than 30 privacy and civil liberties organizations have always expressed concern about the lack of clarity in Gmail’s privacy policy and about Google scanning messages to display content-sensitive ads. Arguably however, no single email user has the guarantee that one’s correspondence will be eyesdropper-proof unless resorting to tedious encryption standards or setting up one’s very own email server.

Gmail’s user base has risen to tens of millions and as of last week, when accessing a Googlemail account from a Web browser, one can now choose amongst predefined graphical themes.

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Spam mail temporarily cut down by 2/3 following research report

HostExploit.com published a research report compiled by an group of mostly anonymous researchers. The report blames the proliferation of spam on loose regulating by Internet providers. Hurricane Electric Internet Services and Global Crossing Ltd., both mentionned in the report, took immediate measures to limit the activity of servers from McColo Corp, a company renting servers and reportedly allowing its customers to control vast arrays of hijacked computers, send spam and cash payments for fake anti-virus software.

As a consequence, a drop of 2/3 in Spam traffic has been observed. That is until spammers move to new ill-regulated rented servers.

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