Thinking About Responding to Spam?

I stumbled upon this TED video about SPAM. SPAM is something my co-workers are always asking me about. This video explains so much so I wanted to share it with you, my dedicated readers.

Although this is a very funny tale I do not recommend you try this.

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Cyber Threat Shifts from Spam to Malware

There may finally be some good news in the war against spam. The overall percentage of spam among e-mail messages dropped an amazing 49.7 percent last month, the lowest level since 2003. This is the first time the figure has been below 50 percent in more than a decade, according to a new study by Symantec.

Symantec reported these figures in its “Symantec Intelligence Report” for the month of June. Enterprises in the mining sector had the highest spam rate, at 56.1 percent, according to the report. The manufacturing sector was a close second at 53.7 percent. The finance, real estate, and insurance sectors had the lowest of any industry, at 51.9 percent.

It is apparent that spammers treat all businesses the same with regard to size. On average, companies experienced a spam rate of between 52 percent and 53 percent no matter the number of employees. The only variance to this pattern was companies with 251-500 employees, which experienced a 53.2 percent spam rate.

Spam Appears on the Decrease While Malware Increases

Despite the good news with spam, there were several troubling observations I found in Symantec report. There was a grand total of 57.6 million new malware variants reported in June, up from 44.5 million created in May and 29.2 million in April. The increase in malware variants indicate, something that many of us already knew. Hackers are changing tactics and shift to the very dangerous cybercrime tool of malware, as opposed to spam and phishing,

In addition to the increase in malware variants, ransomware attacks were up in June, with over 477,000 detected during the month. While still below the levels seen at the end of 2014, June represented the second month in a row that ransomware attacks increased since reaching a 12-month low in April. Crypto-ransomware was also up in June, reaching the highest levels since December.

On social media, meanwhile, hackers continued to rely primarily on manual sharing attacks, which require victims to propagate the scam by sharing content themselves.

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Is Warp Drive Possible?

Just maybe all my 40+ years of indulging in all things Star Trek was actually time well spent. I always knew that there was so much to learn from Gene Roddenberry’s Trek universe. Among the life lessons I started learning at a very young age and have carried with me all of these years from Star Trek is how to treat others, how to work together for the betterment of the greater whole, how to embrace wonderment and exploration, how to accept everyone for who they are and of course infinite diversity in infinite combinations is to be celebrated. But hey what about all of the amazing technology in Star Trek? From transporters, to phasers, to universal translaters, tricorders and warp drive, amazing tech is everywhere.

The USS Enterprise uses Warp Drive to explore the universe in a very timely fashion.

 

It’s warp drive that has me writing this little post.

Star Trek of course introduced the world to the concept of warp drive. Warp drive for those of you who do not know is the propulsion system that allowed the Enterprise to travel faster than the speed of light. Warp speed is the holy grail that would let us to explore the universe safely surrounded and protected by a space-distorting warp field.

What is the Real Concept of Warp Drive?

emdrive-moteur-sans-combustible

An EmDrive prototype.

To get around the theory of relativity, physicist Miguel Alcubierre came up with the concept of a bubble of spacetime which travels faster than the speed of light while the ship inside of it is stationary. The bubble contracts spacetime in front of the ship and expands it behind it. The warp drive would look like a football inside a flat ring. The tremendous amount of energy it would need made this idea prohibitive until Harold “Sonny” White of NASA’s Johnson Space Center calculated that making the ring into a donut shape would significant reduce the energy needs.

At the same time NASA and other space agencies have been working on prototypes of the EmDrive or RF resonant cavity thruster invented by British aerospace engineer Roger J. Shawyer. This propulsion device uses a magnetron to produce microwaves for thrust, has no moving parts and needs no reaction mass for fuel. In 2014, Johnson Space Center claimed to have developed its own low-power EmDrive.

If Star Trek is any indication going from Warp 1 to 7 will be a snap.

 

So what now? To prove that the warp effect was not caused by atmospheric heating, the test will soon be replicated in a vacuum. If the same results are achieved (and we hope they are), it may mean that the EmDrive is producing an actual warp field, which could ultimately lead to the development of a warp drive.

Last week there was some very exciting news released about the theory of warp drive and I bet you missed it.

Posts on NASASpaceFlight.com, a website devoted to the engineering side of space news, reported that NASA now has a tool to measure variances in the path-time of light. When lasers were fired through the EmDrive’s resonance chamber, it measured significant variances and, more importantly, found that some of the beams appeared to travel faster than the speed of light. If that’s true, it would mean that the EmDrive is producing a warp field or bubble.

What’s Next?

To prove that the warp effect was not caused by atmospheric heating, the test will be replicated in a vacuum. If the same results are achieved, it seems to mean that the EmDrive is producing an actual warp field, which could ultimately lead to the development of a warp drive.

And if all of this plays out as many hope, it will prove that Star Trek had it right, that…

the human adventure has just begun.

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Spam 101

Ok tech bloggers here is a quick lesson regarding spam and how to best defend yourselves… and your data.

spam

What is Spam?

Spam includes unwanted messages sent over the Internet, typically to large numbers of users, for the purposes of advertising, phishing, spreading malware and more. Some spam is annoying but harmless. However, some spam is part of an identity theft scam or other kind of fraud. Identity theft spam is often called a phishing scam.

The Cost of Spam
  • Waste of time: People take a certain amount of time reading messages or taking action on them.
  • Storage overload: Spam consumes storage on the server until the recipient takes some action on it.
  • The loss of an important email that accidentally gets deleted along with the plethora of spam.
  • Communications overload: Spam blocks communication channels and creates traffic.
  • Malware carrier: Some spam carries email attachments that, if opened, can infect your computer with viruses or spyware.

Why Are There Spammers?

  • Marketing: Spammers are trying to sell a product or service but the messages they send are unsolicited bulk email.
  • Fraud: Spam sends to various email addresses to try to gain personal information and, once the personal information has been gained, fraudsters can use it to commit fraud, which could include financial institution fraud, credit card fraud, and identity fraud.

The Many Faces of Spam

  • Email spam
  • Instant messaging spam
  • Comment spam
  • Junk FAX
  • Internet telephony spam
  • Unsolicited text messages

The Engines of Spam

The major sources of email spam are:

  • Open relay—An open relay is a poorly configured SMTP server that allows anyone to relay messages through it to any other destination email address. Servers that are found to be open relays are often added to block lists.
  • Botnet—A group of compromised computers is referred to as a botnet, and is used by a spammer to send out millions of emails containing spam, phishing scams, and computer viruses.

 Spam Defense

“Anti-spam” refers to services and solutions that focus on blocking and mitigating the effects of junk emails.

There are a number of things you can do to stop spam email. Which ones suit you best will depend upon your needs, the type of email you generally receive, whether you have complete control over your email account, the number of legitimate correspondents you have, and how long you tend to keep your emails.

Users can also follow these procedures to help reduce the arrival of spam.

  • Address munging
  • No response to spam – Never ever respond to an email that you suspect to be spam.
  • Disabling HTML in e-mail – HTLM links in email messages can send you to spamming websites.
  • Disposable e-mail addresses: A disposable temporary address forwards email to a valid address.

Spam is a big problem for everyone from the individual user to the enterprises that depends on email communications to conduct business. With spam increasing, it is important to take a proactive stance and arm yourself with knowledge about the methods that spammers use so you can decide how best to implement strategies to block spam.

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