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