Ph.D. and Master Thesis

As of August the 30th I may call myself a Master of Science (MSc.). At that date I have successfully defended my thesis titled “Combating Snowshoe Spam with Fire”. People have often asked if ‘Fire’ is some kind of an acronym, it ain’t 😉

In the thesis we detail how DNS configurations may be used to track down snowshoe spam domains. Snowshoe spam spreads out the sending over a great number of hosts to reduce the volume per host, making the individual hosts harder to detect and blacklist.

During the time that I was working on my Master’s thesis I got the offer if I wanted to continue the work in a broader scope as a Ph.D. research. After talking with a few people and brewing about the idea, I accepted. Since September 15 I may call myself a Ph.D. student. The research project is titled TIDE, which stands for ‘Thread IDEntification Using Active DNS Data’. Last week I’ve created a website for the project, this can be found at

Olivier van der Toorn is a security researcher and Linux enthousiast.