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[techbooks] REVIEW: "Removing the Spam", Geoff Mulligan

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    BKRMSPAM.RVW 990328 Removing the Spam , Geoff Mulligan, 1999, 0-201-37957-0, U$19.95/C$29.95 %A Geoff Mulligan %C P.O. Box 520, 26 Prince Andrew Place,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 17 11:57 AM
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      BKRMSPAM.RVW 990328

      "Removing the Spam", Geoff Mulligan, 1999, 0-201-37957-0,
      %A Geoff Mulligan
      %C P.O. Box 520, 26 Prince Andrew Place, Don Mills, Ontario M3C 2T8
      %D 1999
      %G 0-201-37957-0
      %I Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.
      %O U$19.95/C$29.95 416-447-5101 fax: 416-443-0948 bkexpress@...
      %P 190 p.
      %T "Removing the Spam: Email Processing and Filtering"

      This book is intended for the system manager, rather than the end
      user. More specifically, it is aimed at the mail administrator for an
      ISP (Internet Service Provider) or corporate network. Slightly
      unfortunate is the fact that it becomes more particular still, being
      of greatest use to those running UNIX, sendmail, ProcMail, and either
      Majordomo or SmartList. Regardless of system expression, anti-spam
      configuration is, as Mulligan points out, important for two reasons.
      The lesser of the two concerns is the most obvious: that of
      restricting the amount of spam reaching your own users. The more
      vital is that by failing to restrict the possible abuse of your system
      by spammers, and particularly by permitting unrestricted relays, you
      face the increasing possibility of becoming blacklisted, and therefore
      hampering the legitimate use of the net by your clients.

      Chapter one is an excellent overview of electronic mail. It is
      concise, complete, and accurate. Newcomers to the field will find not
      only a conceptual foundation for all the aspects of Internet email,
      but also pointers to other references. Professionals will find fast
      access to a number of details that need to be addressed on a fairly
      frequent basis. The main theme, of course, is how spam uses the
      functions of email systems, and how it can be impeded, with as little
      impact as possible on normal communications. A good framework is
      presented in this chapter, with a number of references to spam-
      fighting resources. If I were to make one suggestion, it would be to
      increase the number of examples of forged email headers, and how to
      dissect them.

      Chapter two describes sendmail, and goes into sufficient detail for
      interested people to obtain it and start using it. At that point, the
      text concentrates on barriers to spam, such as restriction of relaying
      and the access database. Administrators using sendmail will find this
      a quick guide to basic functions.

      ProcMail has a variety of functions, and most of chapter three looks
      at the number of uses it can have. The spam filtering section is
      relatively brief, but provides some recipes, and directions to other
      ProcMail based filters. Again, sysadmins can use this as a quick
      start for basic mail processing.

      Chapter four doesn't have a lot to say about spam, but it does review
      the proper setup of mailing lists, which can have a significant impact
      in reducing unwanted mail.

      This book should be required reading for all mail administrators. The
      usefulness is not restricted to spam, since admins will be able to
      find brief discussions of a variety of common mail problems. As
      Mulligan notes, the fewer improperly configured mail servers there are
      out there, the more constricted spam sites will become, until at last
      they can be eliminated altogether. While the details of managing
      other mail server programs may not match those given in the book, the
      functions should be available, and should be turned on. If the
      functions aren't available, perhaps it's time you got some new

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999 BKRMSPAM.RVW 990328

      ====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
      rslade@... rslade@... slade@... p1@...
      This is a very good sign, [that someone] is a humanist,
      a universal spirit, too interested in too many things to become
      a monomaniac. Only a monomaniac gets what we commonly refer to
      as `results'. - Albert Einstein
      http://victoria.tc.ca/techrev or http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~rslade


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