This is a book about spam -- unwanted email messages and inappropriate news articles -- and what you can do to prevent it, stop it, and even outlaw it. It's a book for people who have seen their mailboxes fill up with useless messages and unsolicited advertisements, and who are tired of footing the bill for them in their Internet service charges. It's a book for people who are upset that they can't find the on-topic postings in their once-helpful newsgroups, and fear that the community of newsgroup readers will dissolve in disgust.
Stopping Spam looks at the problem of spam and explains ways you can eliminate unwanted messages and news postings. It provides information of use to individual users (who don't want to be bothered by spam) and to system administrators (also news administrators, mail administrators, and network administrators, who are responsible for minimizing spam problems within their organizations or service providers). It covers:
Introduction to spam: what is it, why is it a problem, who are the spammers and why do they do it, what are the types of spam (spam that sells things, spam that contains political messages, spam that hurts people's reputations), what is its history, what is its impact on the Internet now and in the future?
Internet messaging: a brief look at the technical underpinnings of Internet messaging to explain how email and spam work.
User's guides to email and news spam: how to protect your email address, filter email and news articles, and respond to spam.
Administrator's guide: how to trace spam, make policy choices for your site, block both incoming and outgoing spam, and select the right technical tools.
Community responses: how to join forces to defeat spam. There are many possible responses to spam: simply delete it, complain to spammers and/or their service providers, share information, trap spammers, litigate, campaign for legislative solutions, use the media.
Other resources: offline and online documents, tools, mailing lists, and more.
Simson Garfinkel, CISSP, is a journalist, entrepreneur, and international authority on computer security. Garfinkel is chief technology officer at Sandstorm Enterprises, a Boston-based firm that develops state-of-the-art computer security tools. Garfinkel is also a columnist for Technology Review Magazine and has written for more than 50 publications, including Computerworld, Forbes, and The New York Times. He is also the author of Database Nation; Web Security, Privacy, and Commerce; PGP: Pretty Good Privacy; and seven other books. Garfinkel earned a master's degree in journalism at Columbia University in 1988 and holds three undergraduate degrees from MIT. He is currently working on his doctorate at MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science.
Alan Schwartz, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of clinical decision making in the Departments of Medical Education and Pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is also the author of Managing Mailing Lists and the coauthor of Stopping Spam (both from O'Reilly). He serves as a consultant on Unix system administration for several ISPs. In his spare time, he develops and maintains the PennMUSH MUD server and brews beer and mead with his wife, with whom he also develops and maintains their son. Turn-ons for Alan include sailing, programming in Perl, playing duplicate bridge, and drinking Anchor Porter. Turn-offs include spam and watery American lagers.
Our look is the result of reader comments, our own experimentation, and feedback from distribution channels. Distinctive covers complement our distinctive approach to technical topics, breathing personality and life into potentially dry subjects. The animal featured on the cover of Stopping Spam: Stamping Out Unwanted EMail and News Postings is a pig, a cloven-hoofed mammal of the family Suidae. There are nine living species of pig and hogs. The domesticated pig is believed to be descended from the European wild boar. From its Euarsian origins, the pig has been introduced all over the world by humans. Christopher Columbus introduced the first pigs to the New World. Pigs are not found in regions such as the Middle East, where Judaism and Islam are the predominant religions, because they are considered to be unclean animals in these religions.
Pigs have a keen sense of smell and excellent hearing, but poor vision. They have unusually versatile voices--they can grunt, squeak, squeal, and snort, as circumstances dictate. Their highly mobile snouts enable them to root in the ground for food. Their reputation for being dirty presumably comes from the fact that they wallow in mud. They do so in order to protect themselves from the sun and heat and from parasitic insects. Despite this reputations, pigs are very clean animals. That, combined with their intelligence, adaptability, and trainability, have led to their increasing popularity as household pets. The small Vietnamese potbellied pig is the current frontrunner in the race for most popular pet pig. Nancy Kotary was the production editor for Stopping Spam. Sheryl Avruch was the production manager; Debby English was the copy editor; Claire Cloutier LeBlanc provided quality control; Kimo Carter provided production assistance. Robert Romano created the illustrations. Lenny Muellner provided tools support. Ruth Rautenberg wrote the index.
Edie Freedman designed the cover of this book, (and Hanna Dyer designed the CD label) using a 19th-century engraving from the Dover Pictorial Archive.
The cover layout was produced with QuarkXPress 3.3 using the ITC Garamond font. Whenever possible, our books use RepKover, a durable and flexible lay-flat binding. If the page count exceeds RepKovers limit, perfect binding is used. The inside layout was designed by Nancy Priest and implemented in FrameMaker by Mike Sierra. The text and heading fonts are ITC Garamond Light and Garamond Book. The illustrations that appear in the book were created in Macromedia Freehand 7.0 and screen shots were created in Adobe Photoshop 4.0 by Robert Romano. This colophon was written by Clairemarie Fisher O'Leary.
Don't let the publication date scare you off. This book is timeless in its applicability. It covers all types of spam very nicely, and is acutely aware of the potential speech-related issues content-based filtering can bring about.
This book offers many options for combatting spam on the user and system levels, and makes sure to present the best way to stop spam: by teaching responsible system administration and shutting down open mail relays and public NNTP servers that allow posting.
I have had to admin mail and news servers for clients in the past, and I personally receive about 30 pieces of unwanted email daily. I've been particularly interested in the Procmail-based "friendly sender database", and the book presents the solution in a clear, concise fashion.
If you're tired of receiving more spam than real email, or having to really look hard for high quality, on topic postings in your newsgroups, then I strongly recommend this book.