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Inside the Spam Cartel: Trade Secrets from the Dark Side [Paperback]

By Stu Sjouwerman (Foreward By) & Jeffrey Posluns (Editor)
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Item description for Inside the Spam Cartel: Trade Secrets from the Dark Side by Stu Sjouwerman & Jeffrey Posluns...

Presents an inside look at spam, covering such topics as creating and sending a spam message, spam filters, the CAN-SPAM law, tracking spam, the effect of spam on mail servers, and the future of spam.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   413
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 7" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2004
Publisher   Syngress
ISBN  1932266860  
ISBN13  9781932266863  

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > General
2Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Networking > Networks, Protocols & API's > Network Security
3Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Software > Groupware & Communications > E-mail
4Books > Subjects > Law > General
5Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Law > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Inside the Spam Cartel: Trade Secrets from the Dark Side?

Great story! Lot of tricks for IT guys  Mar 28, 2008
I learn a lot reading this book about how SPAM got to my mailbox.

But that's really a book for tech guys. Common people will be easily lost in technical details.
The Editors Should Be Fired  Aug 1, 2007
Although Syngress apparently employed a Technical Editor (Jeffrey Posluns) and a Copy Editor (Judy Eby) in preparing this book, it's riddled with both technical and grammatical errors. For experienced email server administrators, Inside the Spam Cartel is an almost complete waste of time. Novices would learn a great deal from this book, but much of what they learned would be wrong. (For example, on p. 183 the author claims that a public key allows one to decrypt a message encrypted using PGP. Or take this discussion of BGP, from p. 64: "Each BGP router is given an Autonomous System (AS) number and each AS is unique and directly identifies the router by name.")
GET Rich Quick ....NOT... SAVE your MONEY FO0L  Jul 19, 2007
The title sells the book. It has will not help you LEARN to do this. Think he will help you HACK to get e-mail lists ? NO? Think HE will tell you HOW TO STAY OUT of Jail ? NO. Think he will tell you how to make easy $$. NO


make him RICH please buy the book FOOLS !
Childish. Why reward a crook?  Jan 4, 2006
Well, the author is clearly a Chickenboner - the book is full of grammatical errors, especially toward the end. It also has major factual errors, as other reviewers have pointed out. (I skimmed it at the local library.) Also, he's clearly a criminal, since spamming is illegal in most jurisdictions, so I give it 1 star.
If Only He Did Not Play So Fast and Loose With facts  Jul 12, 2005
The Vikings from Monty Python's Flying Circus love SPAM so much, that the mere mention of the word has them break out in song, singing "Spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam!". For e-mail users, there are not many who would give the same response. We get it. We despise it. We wonder how many times we will get the same messages over and over again. But do we truly understand the machinations behind the scenes of the SPAM industry? It is this fundamental question that drives "Inside the SPAM Cartel: Trade Secrets From The Dark Side" (Spammer X, Jeffrey Posluns, Technical Editor, Syngress Press, 2004, 413 Pages). Written by an insider, the book provides detailed information and background but at times falters because of some very strongly stated opinions and facts that are just plain incorrect, as well as a very significant omission.

The book starts out strongly, as the author profiles the typical Spammer he is associated with and moves on to show that their is inherent trust among spammers. This trust, it seems, is based on necessity so that they can help each other make money. Money is part of a larger theme in this book because it is money that drives spammers and the content they deliver. Did you ever wonder why you see less and less pornography spam and increased amounts of messages for home mortgages? Because that is where the money is to be made.

The author makes a strong presentation throughout the book on how SPAM came to be from a simple but fatal flaw in SendMail, taking advantage of an Internet Architecture that was based on trust and not security, to the big money it is today. Consider that even if SPAM filters catch 99% of SPAM, the Spammers are still making money. Why? Because people are buying. The author not only gives an education on the many different types of SPAM, but shows you the tricks of the trade to bypass SPAM filters and get SPAM Messages read. You will also learn how to create a digital forensic trail to create a profile of a Spammer. You will also learn how they create profiles of you and your behaviours. You will also learn how the CAN-SPAM Act works, what is covered under the law, how to comply with the law and the huge legal loopholes that exist in the law that has Spammers scoffing at the law.

Yes the book is comprehensive, but suffers from what this reader considers to be some fatal flaws which take some of the sheen off of the credibility of the author and of the editorial vetting process of the publisher (note that this is not referring to the technical editing, but the editing to validate content. First, it is safe to assume that "Spammer X" is a citizen of a country in the British Commonwealth. How is this known? When you read in his book that the CAN-SPAM Act was passed by "Parliament", it is clear of the author's origin and his lack of knowledge of "big picture" issues. This is further compounded by the author's statement that CAN-SPAM will eventually become international law. This statement misses the point that there is no such thing as International Law that is binding on any country that chooses to ignore it.

The most egregious number that sticks out in this reader's mind comes from this quote in Chapter 10:

"With an estimated 273,706,064 Americans on the Internet...".

When this reader saw that number, some checking had to be done. Keep in mind that this book was written in 1994. According to the 2005 CIA World Factbook, last updated on June 30, 2005, the 2005 U.S. Population is estimated to be 295,734,134. That would mean the author is stating that 92.5% of Americans are on the Internet. This is very amazing when you consider that only 235,404,000 (and change) Americans are over the age of 14, and that only 260,000,000 live above the poverty line.

The reason that this concerns this reader is that if the author has played this fast and loose with these facts, and it was not caught in the editorial process, how can any of the other numbers in the book be trusted? It pains me to say this given my distrust of IT analyst firms, but how can an author who has played so fast and loose with numbers and facts be in a position to criticize anyone else's number?

Finally, I am disappointed that the author devotes a 29 page appendix and numerous references in the book on the anti-SPAM features of Microsoft Exchange, while totally ignoring the built in anti-SPAM features of Lotus Domino 6, which has over 100,000,000 users worldwide. Before writing this review, I asked the technical editor about this. He indicated that it was more than likely a reflection of the experience of the author(s), and that on at least two occasions he had made recommendations to include other products and service types as well. The author and Syngress did not do so, and it leaves this reader feeling a little empty.

Who Should Read This Book?

This book should be read by people interested in SPAM as a topic, information security managers, e-mail administrators, and educators.

The Scorecard

Because of the opinionated presentation, in some cases based on suspect facts and information, I am giving this book two ratings.

For readability, technical education and content: Birdie on short Par 4

For errors, mistakes of fact and opinions: Bogey on a Par 5 Reachable in 2 and playing downwind. The author should not have duck-hooked his drive into the trees.

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