A blog about defending the social web against abuse. Brought to you by Impermium.
Social Spam Implications of the Twitter IPO

Social Spam Implications of the Twitter IPO

On Thursday, October 3rd, Twitter released its S-1 filing prior to its initial public offering. Interestingly, the filing included thirty two pages of risk factors, almost 50% more than Facebook, Groupon, and Google. Among those risk factors, “spam” is mentioned 27 times, and considerable attention is also paid to fraudulent...
Impermium at Privacy Identity Innovation 2013

Impermium at Privacy Identity Innovation 2013

Yesterday, I took the stage along with Philip Dunkelberger—CEO of Nok Nok Labs—and Stina Ehrensvärd—CEO of Yubico—for a panel moderated by Steven Wildstrom at the Privacy Identity Innovation Conference in Seattle. The talk—entitled “Proving Yourself: Authentication Technologies and Trends”—began with a discussion of how the new iPhone fingerprint scanner will bring strong authentication techniques...
Anatomy of a Hack: How the NY Times Was Hit

Anatomy of a Hack: How the NY Times Was Hit

Impermium CEO Mark Risher appeared on Bloomberg West today discussing how a group alleging itself to be the Syrian Electronic Army was able to take down the New York Times web site yesterday. When users type a web site name—such as “http://nytimes.com”—into their web browsers, these names are mapped to...
How Do You Protect Users Who Hesitate To Protect Themselves?

How Do You Protect Users Who Hesitate To Protect Themselves?

Three years ago, we started Impermium because we saw a gap in the protection provided to users of online services. As more and more people rely increasingly on the web for communication and commerce, this gap has only grown. The bad guys are getting smarter and, as recent incidents have...
CEO Mark Risher Explains Impermium in Three Minutes

CEO Mark Risher Explains Impermium in Three Minutes

In February, Impermium was named one of 10 finalists for the Most Innovative Company at RSA® Conference 2012. At the event, CEO Mark Risher presented on the rapidly-growing problem of social spam and discussed how a lack of commercial products that provide adequate protection against abuse in social channels, has driven many...
Social Spam Watch:  Mainstream Media Warns Consumers

Social Spam Watch: Mainstream Media Warns Consumers

Social spam is becoming a significant consumer problem, as signaled by an early January article  by the Wall Street Journal and several other recent stories in mainstream media.  The latest is a PC World article which provides consumers a comprehensive summary of various forms of new digital spam and how...
What could a cybercriminal do with one million Facebook friends?

What could a cybercriminal do with one million Facebook friends?

If you had any last doubts about the Milky Way sized security hole in social networks, then a recent study by the University of British Columbia (UBC) should put them to rest. A quick summary of the study is this:  a team built a social botnet with 102 accounts to...
Latest entries
Crime Fighters Wanted: A Peek Inside Impermium

Crime Fighters Wanted: A Peek Inside Impermium

Who would guess that tucked away on the second floor of what appears to be an ordinary office building near downtown Redwood City is a dedicated team of web lovin’, crime fightin’ defenders of the internet? Each morning they make their way by freeway, train or bike to fulfill their mission of battling the rising...
Built to Scale: How does Impermium process data?

Built to Scale: How does Impermium process data?

In 2010, Impermium launched with a vision to handle abuse across the internet in a smart and scalable way.  The architecture was designed from the ground up to ingest and analyze large amounts of data from many different social networks on an ongoing basis.  Cofounders Naveen and Vish designed the data warehouse to utilize Pig,...
Stemming the Account Takeover Tide

Stemming the Account Takeover Tide

This week’s Associated Press Twitter hacking event highlighted the fact that bad guys are successfully targeting diverse websites. The AP is far from alone–Burger King, Jeep, HMV, National Public Radio, and other large companies have had their sites or social media feeds hijacked in recent months. Beyond damaging an individual or brand’s reputation, these hacks...
Fighting 'Mobile Malware'

Fighting ‘Mobile Malware’

Recent months, and recent security industry gatherings, have brought numerous stories raising the specter of “mobile malware,” pernicious botnets running on our smartphones and mobile devices, inflicting damage and burning through our precious data plans in the process. While the technology is certainly possible, and proofs-of-concept have been constructed, at this stage the threat of...
Internationalization in Python 2

Internationalization in Python 2

Why does a security company like Impermium care so much about internationalization? We care about User Generated Content (UGC). A lot. At Impermium, we employ patented machine learning algorithms to stop the bad guys from spreading spam, taking over accounts and exploiting the vulnerable. When discussing adversarial machine learning, the temptation is to focus on...
The Four Types of Spam Attacks

The Four Types of Spam Attacks

“Whoa, I just logged into my admin panel and found 10,000 new comments!”  Typically, high numbers of page views and user interaction is a good thing. However, when you experience an explosion of comments in a short period of time, typically they turn out to be spam.  Has this ever happened to you? Did you...
My First 30 Days at Impermium: Insights from Candace

My First 30 Days at Impermium: Insights from Candace

Just over a month ago, I joined the Impermium team as the Business Operations Manager. Coming from Washington DC, it is a big change, and many people have asked about my new role and what it’s like to work at a fast-paced tech startup in Silicon Valley. It’s engaging and fun, and every day I...
The Spell Caster – A Case Study in Adversarial Machine Learning

The Spell Caster – A Case Study in Adversarial Machine Learning

In a recent talk at the 2013 Strata Conference, I presented a few insights into adversarial machine learning and how it challenges traditional machine learning. I received a lot of positive feedback from attendees, and was subsequently flooded with requests for my slides and additional materials. Here, I will present an abridged version of my...
RSA Panel - The Loophole: Federal Crimes Not Being Addressed

RSA Panel – The Loophole: Federal Crimes Not Being Addressed

On Thursday, February 28, day four of RSA Conference, people congregated at the panel The Loophole: Federal Crimes Not Being Addressed. The panel featured business professionals and academics with expertise in technology, copyright issues, and censorship law. Moderated by Impermium CEO, Mark Risher, the panel used several real-life examples to illustrate the grey area faced by...