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Microsoft Medicine Spam

Repurposing Anti-Spam Tools For Detecting Mutations In HIV 67

chicksdaddy writes "Security researchers often use language and metaphors from the natural world to describe problems in the virtual world. (Consider 'virus,' and 'worm.') Now it turns out that the links may be more than just rhetoric. Microsoft Researchers say that tools they developed to detect spammers' efforts to avoid anti-spam filters were also great at spotting mutations in the HIV virus. A report from Microsoft Research in honor of World AIDS Day yesterday described how Microsoft Researchers David Heckerman and Jonathan Carlson were called upon to help AIDS researchers analyze data about how the human immune system attacks the HIV virus. To do so, they turned to tools and algorithms developed at Microsoft to detect and block spam e-mail in the company's Hotmail, Outlook and Exchange e-mail products."
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Repurposing Anti-Spam Tools For Detecting Mutations In HIV

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  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @03:40PM (#38251900)

    The really big news here is - Slashdot has finally ditched the Gates "Borg" icon!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Really for a joke that was 'kinda' funny back in 1992.... It needed to go a long time ago...

    • They ditched it weeks ago dude.
  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @03:40PM (#38251904) Homepage Journal

    is also a created simulation. If so, then of course viruses in both computers and nature will share common characteristics.

    BUDDHA: All is illusion
    NEO: There is no spoon

    • by cultiv8 ( 1660093 ) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @03:58PM (#38252030) Homepage
      MICROSOFT: We have an API for that
      • ... But it's undocumented.
        • It was undocumented 20 years ago.

          Nowadays it's documented but deprecated, and has been that was for the last 15 years. But everyone's still using it, anyway.

          That said, we're rolling out a new framework that'll have a brand new API to do the same exact thing. But don't worry, the old one is still supported. So are the three preceding new ones. ~

    • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @05:19PM (#38252568)
      If not a simulation, would you believe a hologram:
    • by Ihmhi ( 1206036 )

      Okay then. When are you open source cocksuckers gonna get a working version of Adblock for my goddamned brain? If I hear "4G Wonderland" one more time I'm going to start doing drive-bys on T-Mobile stores.

    • by mcrbids ( 148650 )

      Stephen Wolfram: is that you?

  • Insightful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 ) <> on Saturday December 03, 2011 @04:01PM (#38252046) Journal

    Come on gang, this is pretty cool.

    To re-adapt the tech that picks up Nigerian Scams and send it to pick up HIV strains is pretty neat. I sure as **** didn't see that app.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Once my university decided to switch to MS as their email provider, the span in my inbox has gone up. They don't even have to use the trick of changing spellings, I get lots of junk about penis enlargement, hot Russian girls, and Viagra every day. What I do NOT get are emails from the registrar, the university police, and the Dean. Those all go to the junk folder. I suggest they take whatever data they get from these MS researchers and do the opposite.

    • by armanox ( 826486 )

      I'd say your university didn't setup Exchange correctly then.

      • by JSG ( 82708 )

        Have you ever tried it (I can't speak for 2010)? The Intelligent Message Filter is dreadful.

        You pretty much only get two knobs to turn: 0-10 for either block or quarantine. On the switches front you get to use someone else's service ie DNSBLs or you can (naively) fill in blocked address lists.

        That's why have been doing a roaring trade (10 odd years) in tiny Gentoo (VMs nowadays) machines with Exim 'n' Spam Assassin + Clam AV doing the stuff that Exchange just can't.

        So yes his Uni probably did cock up the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It would have been nice if some sort of example of how these things (spam and virual mutations) are alike was actually presented. The full article is no more useful than the abstract posted here.

  • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @04:30PM (#38252252)

    Spam filters, viruses. Yeah, I can see the connection there. Now, if they were doing quality control on canned meat products....

    Assuming Microsoft uses some form of naive Bayesian classifier to do spam filtering like everyone else does, their spam filtering technology was in use by a lot of other people for a lot of other things before it came to be a spam filter anyway.

    • yes! The Bayesian filter (if I recall popularized by paul graham) is amazing for spam. And did not originate there... Bayesian tools have been here a long long time

  • ... of you guys have made a lame "Blue screen of death" joke?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    But they should call google about the spam detecting algorithm...

    If hotmail's spam filter is what they have to show for, thanks but I'll keep using condoms.

  • So the war on spam and computer viruses has become as or more complex than figuring out how HIV mutates? How soon before it reaches cancer-level? lol

  • Maybe they should look at viruses and the immune system when designing spam filters.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain