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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 32 declined, 6 accepted (38 total, 15.79% accepted)


Submission + - Criteria for picking a good RBL

stry_cat writes: Here are a few points about picking a good RBL for your spam filter:

From the article:

        * Speed of reaction: The faster (the more real-time) a list is updated, the more easier it is to deal with false positives and with false negatives.
        * Selection criteria: How are the sources added to the blacklist, based on what criteria? How sure are the blacklist admins that the one they are listing is bad? How sure are you they will not add your partners, customers, suppliers and other business critical peers. Similarly how sure are you they will not list yourself (from experience: this is extremely painful)
        * Goal of the blacklist: Does the list have an agenda (hidden or not) that you might not share with them? Do they aim to have 0 false negatives without care for false positives?
        * Ease of getting unlisted: How easy is it to contact the list administration for those listed ? Is there 24x7 (remember the Internet is worldwide so thy need to cover all timezones) support on getting back out for those unjustly listed ?
        * Working Email contact to get unlisted: This is very tricky for e.g. spam blocking list that are using their own blacklist.
        * Try contacting them to get unlisted: if you cannot reach them, remember what your communicating partner that got listed by accident will feel like. And while it might reflect mostly on the blacklist provider, it will also reflect on you and your organization due to your choice and implicit support of their (failing) processes.
        * Is there somebody who feels responsible enough behind it to put up out of band contact details such as phone numbers, working snail-mail addresses etc. Of course this means they'll feel exposed to the scam artists they are blocking, but it also means those being blocking without reason have a way to complain.
        * Blocking for the right reasons: E.g. some anti-spam lists are blocking with as reason the IP addresses sent unwanted TCP/IP traffic (not just unwanted email). Some might have political reasons or other things you don't want to be associated with.
        * Duration of a block: many IP addresses that get infected by bots etc. are home users on a (somewhat) dynamic IP address. Blocking such an IP address for a long time won't help as the IP isn't fixed and the next one to come after it will get blocked unwarranted. Similarly, infected machines do eventually get cleaned up by the rightful owners. So short durations are better.
        * Automatic delisting: How automated is the unblocking? Based on what tests is it done? Some listed entities might not know what blacklist they are being listed on. Hence asking them to jump through hoops on their own might not be hard, they might not even know what hoops they need to seek out.
        * Granularity of the block: Unless there are clear signs of malice, most regular users will clean up intrusions and malware instead of hopping about the IP address in an address space to avoid blacklists. Hence only very bad neighborhoods should get blocked indiscriminately. Similarly "punishing" an ISP for having a single misbehaving customer will not work as the ISP is hardly punished at all, it's the other (innocent) customers of the ISP that get hit.
            While there are people who are going to say they only deal with a specific country/continent and don't need anything outside, think a bit longer: none of the employees of your partners, customers, ... will ever go out of the country/continent on business or holiday and get a phone call to do something or try to make a decision on the road?
        * Security of the blacklist provider: Who can submit data to the blacklist, and how is the data authenticated? The bad guys could poison lists by creating fake data and submitting it in order to block even more addresses. Don't forget Availability is part of security: what happens to your processes if the blacklist were to become unavailable or just slow?
        * One practice I found to be impossible to deal with from an business point of view: was a blacklist demanding money to get unlisted. Any self-respecting business will feel this is extortion and will not give in. No matter that they send it to their charity of choice, no matter the small amount it actually is, this remains a show stopper. For you this means you'll find contacts who get listed and have no way of getting out again.
        * Do the blacklist administrators actually warn those getting listed? Since many of the evil actions a machine does is more often than not done without the knowledge of the rightful owner, a word to the ISP connecting the machine or the business hosting the machine, can in fact be a big step towards detecting the rootkitted botnet and starting the clean-up.

Submission + - America doesn't have a broadband problem

stry_cat writes: According to this story, the new FCC Commissioner believes that "the country doesn't really have a broadband problem."

This statement contrasts sharply with what others are saying. For example a 2006 ars technica article stated "Looking at the statistics contained in the report, we discover that the US is 16th in the world in terms of broadband penetration and 15th in rate of growth. As of December 2005, the US had approximately 16 broadband subscribers for every 100 inhabitants. In contrast, Iceland had almost 27, while South Korea, the Netherlands, and Denmark were right around 25 per 100."

Has our broadband crisis been solved in just under a year, or is the new FCC Commissioner mistaken?

Submission + - More Evidence that Blacklists are bad (sans.org) 1

stry_cat writes: Here's a brief summary with good links detailing how the Austrian domain registry ended up on the Spamhaus Block List.

From the article:

"Altogether this seems to be a big mess, being driven by different goals, points of view, and also ego. Using blacklists is a two edged sword (which has also been stated on isc.sans.org numerous times), but this story only makes me wonder for the sanity of the whole system."

I'm sure /.ers will agree that it is a big mess. Take heed if you use a blacklist as spamhaus.org isn't the only one that suffers from delusions of grandeur.


Submission + - Thought RTFs were malware free? Think again!

stry_cat writes: Over at http://isc.sans.org/diary.html?storyid=2528&rss it says:

"...no doubt that you are aware of the huge number of exploits directed toward various Office applications, mainly Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. For quite some time a lot of administrators (us included) told people to convert documents to other (safer) formats, one of them being RTF (Rich Text Format). Although this format is proprietary, the specification is publicly available so a lot of word processors support this format."

However as the article continues, we find that one can still embed stuff. Embedding the right (or is it wrong) stuff can have the unsuspecting user downloading some seriously bad malware. Even worse it is likely your AV software will miss this malware!

The article concludes:

"This was another example of why complex file formats should be avoided. Even if you do scan all files on your e-mail gateway (or web filtering server), as you can see most AV programs would miss this as they would scan only the RTF document. One more time we see how important defense in depth is — in this case you would depend on user's awareness and ultimately on his desktop AV product. "

Submission + - Congress still wants to force bloggers to register

stry_cat writes: It has already been reported (here and here) that some in Congress want to force bloggers to be licensed before they can start blogging. Now there is yet another attempt.

Once again it is under the guise of stopping astroturfing. However as is explained by grassrootsfreedom.com , "The grassroots legislation, simply stated, is unconstitutional. It is nothing more than some with vested financial and political interests trying to violate the First Amendment rights of others."

Another group, DownsizeDC.org, is also working against this dangerous legislation. They have set up an e-mail your Congressman tool.

Submission + - MS DST Patch problems

stry_cat writes: http://isc.sans.org/diary.html?storyid=2435 From the article:

It appears that there is problem with MS DST patch... MS DST patch (931836) problem. Regarding this patch problem more information can find from here. There is another fix patch available for Windows-based applications that use the TZ environment variable may not work as expected because of changes to DST. More information available following link (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932590/en-us)
Makes you think this story asks a good question — Is DST really worth it?

Submission + - Software Development Tracking System

stry_cat writes: We've been using Bugzilla to track bugs in our software. It is really great. However we need something that is more. Something to track the tasks of the entire software development process, not just bugs. I was wondering what y'all use?

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