Monthly Archives: December 2006

BLARS Blacklist Removed From MX Toolbox Blacklist Lookup Tool

MX Toolbox has removed the BLARS Blacklist from the free blacklist lookup tool. BLARS is notorious for false positives and high costs to get unlisted. Now, it seems that the list is defunct (we are not positive when it happened, but is currently a parked page with GoDaddy). We are going to keep a close eye on this, and we will put it back on the list if we see any compelling reason to do so. Please give us some feedback if you see any problems associated with this move.

Boeing Laptop With 382,000 Names and Social Security Numbers Stolen

Boeing reported this morning that a laptop containing the names and Social Security numbers of 382,000 workers and retirees was stolen. Boeing has had two previously reported incidences of stolen laptops with sensitive employee information. In 2005, a laptop containing the names and ss#’s of 160,000 current and former employees was stolen. And, in April 2006 another laptop containing the same info on 3,600 employees was stolen. Wow! Over half-a-million employees exposed to identity and credit fraud in just over 12 months. That’s just crazy. It is especially disturbing when you consider that Boeing is a military contractor with National Security contracts.

Boeing spokesman Tim Neale stated that the laptop was turned off when it was stolen and requires a password to access the data (uber-security, huh?). “It’s not necessarily an easy task to access the information there,” Neale said. Boeing has also stated that, in all three cases, company policy was violated, but has not described how.

All of this begs the simple question- why is any of this information on a laptop to begin with?

Consider this- Laptops and other mobile computing devices are the least secure IT tools employed by businesses today. They are infinitely more vulnerable to theft and hacking than PC’s or servers. A Gartner Group study found that 15% of business laptops are stolen annually. So, why do companies and government organizations keep such sensitive personal information on them? Maybe I am missing something, but I just don’t get it.  

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SPAM Rates Skyrocketing

For our first post to the MX News Blog, we thought it would be appropriate to talk dive into the hot story of the late fall/early winter- Spam rates have soared (sored) into the stratosphere. According to Postini, Spam volumes increased by 60% in September and October. Barracuda networks reported an increase of 67% during roughly the same time frame. What does this mean in terms of raw numbers? Well, Postini reports that it monitored 70 Billion Emails during September and October and 91% were Spam. That means that there were 60.4 Billion or SPAM messages filtered in September and October by Postini ALONE!

Estimates have placed the total number of Spam messages sent to be 55 Billion Per day…and that was in June, 2006, BEFORE the massive uptick we have seen this Fall/Winter. Not only are the Spammers busy flooding the entire system with gargantuan amounts of bandwidth chewing, productivity killing Spam, they are dictating the rules of the filtering game as well. For example, there has been a huge increase in Image Spam over the past several months. Why? Because many Spam filtering solutions are entirely text based. So, Spammers build messages with layers of images to slip past inadequate filters, hog more bandwidth than before and land in millions of inboxes daily. Here is an example:



Image Spam is just the latest “innovation” by the Web Thugs to bypass filters and continue with Web Thuggery as usual.