More than sixty percent of today's email traffic is spam, according to email filtering firm Brightmail. This year alone, five trillion spam messages will clog Internet users in-boxes, costing society an estimated $10-billion in lost productivity, filtering software, and other expenses.
Spam Kings: The Real Story behind the High-Rolling Hucksters Pushing Porn, Pills, and %*@)# Enlargements is the first book to expose the shadowy world of the people responsible for the junk email problem. Author and veteran investigative journalist Brian S. McWilliams delivers a compelling account of the cat-and-mouse game played by spam entrepreneurs in search of easy fortunes and those who are trying to stop them.
Spam Kings chronicles the evolution of Davis Wolfgang Hawke, a notorious neo-Nazi leader (Jewish-born) who got into junk email in 1999. Using Hawke as a case study, Spam Kings traces the twenty-year-old neophyte's rise in the spam trade to his emergence as a major player in the lucrative penis pill market--a business that would eventually make him a millionaire and the target of lawsuits from AOL and others.
Spam Kings also tells the parallel story of Susan Gunn, a computer novice in California who is reluctantly drawn into the spam wars and eventually joins a group of anti-spam activists. Her volunteer sleuth work puts her on a collision course with Hawke and other spammers, who try to wreak revenge on the antis. You'll also meet other cyber-vigilantes who have taken up the fight against spammers as well as the cast of quirky characters who comprise Hawke's business associates.
The book sheds light on the technical sleight-of-hand--forged headers, open relays, harvesting tools, and bulletproof hosting--and other sleazy business practices that spammers use; the work of top anti-spam attorneys; the surprising new partnership developing between spammers and computer hackers; and the rise of a new breed of computer viruses designed to turn the PCs of innocent bystanders into secret spam factories.
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Brian McWilliams has been reporting on business and technology issues for over twenty years. His articles have appeared in online publications such as Wired.com and Salon.com as well as in magazines including PC World, Computerworld, InformationWeek, CFO, Across the Board, and Inc. McWilliams gained international attention in 2002 when he wrote about the contents of Saddam Hussein's email inbox.From Publishers Weekly:
With monikers like Shiksaa, Dr. Fatburn, Mad Pierre and Terri Tickle, the subjects of McWilliams's debut often sound cut straight from pulp or comic-book noir farce— despite being real. A brisk narrative sets immediately on the trail of one of them: Davis Hawke, a chess-geek neo-Nazi turned spam lord. We also meet Shiksaa, a frustrated AOL user turned antispam vigilante who, along with a posse of like-minded netizens, fights running battles with spammers like Hawke, the man behind countless herbal Viagra offers and get-rich-quick schemes. McWilliams, an experienced business and technology reporter, manages, at his best, to make stories of people glued to their computers read like a thriller. His true (if virtual) crime tale's quick pacing and use of online exchanges provide relief from details of how, technically, spam kings operate (not always gripping moments: "Hawke purchased and downloaded a copy of Extractor Pro from the company's Web site"). This helps McWilliams pull a lively tale from the messy web of computer-geek criminality and righteous antispammer reprisal—and one from which spam-beleaguered computer users may take heart.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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