REVIEW: "Fighting Spam for Dummies", John R. Levine/Margaret Levine Young/Ray Everett-Church

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor, Aug 23, 2004.

  1. BKFTSPDM.RVW 20040719

    "Fighting Spam for Dummies", John R. Levine/Margaret Levine Young/Ray
    Everett-Church, 2004, 0-7645-5965-6, U$14.99/C$21.99/UK#9.99
    %A John R. Levine
    %A Margaret Levine Young
    %A Ray Everett-Church
    %C 5353 Dundas Street West, 4th Floor, Etobicoke, ON M9B 6H8
    %D 2004
    %G 0-7645-5965-6
    %I John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
    %O U$14.99/C$21.99/UK#9.99 416-236-4433 fax: 416-236-4448
    %P 222 p.
    %T "Fighting Spam for Dummies"

    Part one introduces the world of spam. Chapter one tells us that spam
    is bad and that spammers like to do it, but there is little substance
    to the material and a lot of oddly spam-like verbiage. Even though
    the authors outline the "dictionary" process (that generates addresses
    on a semi-random basis) in chapter two, they insist on trotting out
    the usual recommendations to limit exposure and prevent address
    harvesting. A confusing look at US law, in chapter three, says that
    the situation is confused. Chapter four does provide information
    about obtaining and deciphering email headers, but the attempts to be
    funny make it hard to understand.

    Part two deals with filtering spam. Chapter five has a generic
    description of filtering, but there is little useful content.
    Chapters six to ten describe menu items related to filtering in the
    Outlook, Netscape, Eudora, AOL, Hotmail, and Yahoo programs.

    Part three looks at filtering programs and services. Chapter eleven
    has a terse review list of major filtering programs (with some odd
    exceptions: SpamAssassin is not mentioned), a few spam filter review
    sites, and fairly detailed descriptions of POPfile and Spam Bully. A
    reasonable, if brief, outline of filtering services is given in
    chapter twelve. Chapter thirteen touches on a few items not
    previously detailed, but it is far from being a useful guide to the
    network and email administrators that it supposedly addresses.

    Part four is the usual "Part of Tens." Chapter fourteen lists the
    most common spam scams. The list of annoyances in chapter fifteen is
    mostly unrelated to spam. (For the one that is, dealing with popups,
    some fairly complex solutions are listed, and a simple one is missed--
    turning off JavaScript and ActiveX works great. The cost to the user
    will vary with patterns of activity.)

    This book does provide some pointers to software based assistance with
    spam filtering and removal. However, even in relation to the
    minuscule size of the book the content is very thin. Repetition,
    editorializing, and attempted humour take the place of substantive

    "Stopping Spam" (cf. BKSTPSPM.RVW) and "Removing the Spam" (cf.
    BKRMSPAM.RVW) are from an older era, and address the issue from a
    perspective of users who were more used to manual email controls, as
    well as a time when spam was not the overwhelming majority of email.
    Even so, they dealt with the issue realistically and informatively,
    which this book does not. The current work is better than nothing,
    but only just.

    copyright Robert M. Slade, 2004 BKFTSPDM.RVW 20040719


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    Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor, Aug 23, 2004
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