Spam Kings: The Real Story Behind the High-Rolling Hucksters Pushing Porn, Pills, and %*@)# Enlargements

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Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Ever wonder where all those Spam emails come from? Who are those, umm, enlargement folks? How much money do they really make? Do they like being hated? Spam Kings takes you inside the Spam underground to meet the assorted ex-Nazis, fetishists, would-be time travelers, and other interesting folks who fill your email inbox.

Brian McWilliams chronicles these individuals -- and their equally indefatigable adversaries -- across five full years of spammer vs. antispammer wars. Here are the technical tactics, the lawsuits, the mug shots -- and, of course, the emails themselves. (Including some classics you’re likely to remember.) Spam Kings is a tour de force of reportage -- and a powerful reminder to just hit Delete. Bill Camarda, from the January 2005 Read Only

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. Agent, Martha Jewett at Business Books of Distinction. (Oct.) Forecast: McWilliams-who garnered some press after a 2002 piece on the contents of Saddam Hussein's inbox-writes authoritatively and will be touring, giving this book the makings of a sleeper. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
McWilliams, an investigative reporter famous for hacking into Saddam Hussein's email, follows several spammers and antispammers from 1999 to 2004, profiling two in particular: Davis Wolfgang Hawke, a former Jewish-born neo-Nazi who quickly realized the moneymaking potential of spam, and Susan Gunn, a middle-aged office worker who became a vigilant spam fighter after receiving spam in her AOL account. As their stories unfold, the reader gains some understanding of the grass-roots efforts to fight spam and the people and technology behind it. The book does not explain the technology employed by spammers and antispammers, nor does it offer solutions to the spam problem. However, it does provide a history of spam and raises some interesting moral and ethical questions while offering insight into the communities of spammers and antispammers by discussing their jargon and practices. Recommended for large public libraries.-Colleen Cuddy, NYU Sch. of Medicine Lib. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596007324
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/10/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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Table of Contents

Dedication;
Acknowledgment;
Introduction;
Chapter 1: ;
1.1 Birth of a Spam King;
1.2 The Education of an Anti-Spammer;
1.3 Ho, Ho, Ho, the Nazis Didn't Show;
1.4 Spamford Meets Hacker-X;
Chapter 2: ;
2.1 Hawke Mails the Web Manual;
2.2 Shiksaa, the Spammer Tracker;
2.3 Shiksaa Plays Peacemaker;
2.4 Hawke's Publishing Company in a Box;
Chapter 3: ;
3.1 Shiksaa Meets the Cyanide Idiot;
3.2 Hawke Concedes to an Anti;
3.3 A Date with a Spam Queen;
3.4 Bubba Catts and the Crank Callers;
Chapter 4: ;
4.1 Spamhaus Takes on Sue You Net;
4.2 Shiksaa and the Pink Contracts;
4.3 Mad Pierre's Homage to Shiksaa;
Chapter 5: ;
5.1 Tracking Empire Towers;
5.2 Terri Tickle Terri Tickle Descends on Nanae;
5.3 Hawke Rips Off Dr. Fatburn;
5.4 David D'Amato, the Titanic Spammer;
Chapter 6: ;
6.1 Nanae Battles over Block Lists;
6.2 Hawke Takes on an Apprentice;
6.3 9/11;
6.4 Hawke Tutors Bournival;
Chapter 7: ;
7.1 Shiksaa Meets Scott Richter;
7.2 Hawke Goes Home to Rhode Island;
7.3 Hoffman Catches Tom Cowles;
Chapter 8: ;
8.1 Amazing Internet Products;
8.2 Fighting Dr. Fatburn;
Chapter 9: ;
9.1 The Shiksaa Shakedown;
9.2 Patricia's Graveyard Gambit;
9.3 Creampie Productions;
Chapter 10: ;
10.1 The Pinacle Partnership Program;
10.2 Rise of the Spam Zombies;
10.3 Jason Vale Held in Contempt;
10.4 The Time-Travel Spammer;
10.5 Karen Hoffmann, Sock Puppet;
10.6 Richter Unravels;
Chapter 11: ;
11.1 CAN-SPAM;
11.2 Shiksaa Hangs Up Her LART;
11.3 The Phoenix Company;
11.4 AOL v. Davis Hawke et al. AOL v. Davis Hawke et al.;
11.5 The Gingerbread Man;
Epilogue;
Glossary;

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2012

    Ballstar

    *Walks in not noticing anything trips over a cat if there in here*needs more light

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2012

    Firtree

    Firtree flattened his ears, "Sorry, I just came to a call of help from Nightstar" he growled, padding out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2012

    Paww Pawillow

    Med cat is here

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2004

    Excellent story about the 'Spam War'

    And that's truly what the book is about, the stories of some notorious spammers and the battles by some well-known anti spammers to try to put a stop to them. Each side appears to use its share of nasty tactics to attempt to 'defeat' the other side. Along the way, the reader is treated to a fascinating and intriguing turn of events. The book starts off with the story of Davis Hawke, ex-'neo Nazi' who then discovers spamming as a way to make money. There's also chapters about other notorious spammers like 'Terri Tickle,' a woman looking for videos of men being tickled, who later turns out to be a man from New York state, or Scott Richter, another well-known spammer who ran afoul of the law. There are also those on the other side, the 'good guys' like Shiksaa, Steve Linford, and Karen Hoffmann (who later 'joined' the 'other side'). This book by investigative journalist Brian McWilliams reveals not only the seamy underside of the spam world and provides an informal 'history' of events by both sides. There are no happy endings in this book, and it proves that the 'spam wars' are a never ending battle. It's going to be interesting to see how this 'battle' eventually turns out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2004

    happy ending

    The book gives a fascinating glimpse at some of the spammers who are clogging your mailbox. In the general press, there have been occasional interviews with a few public spammers. Like an article in the New York Times in 2003 that described two such spammers in Los Angeles. But for the most part, spammers wisely avoid the limelight. McWilliams delves into the background of several. The book shows good old fashioned investigative journalism. The machinations of the wretched filth are amazing. He also gives us insight into various antispammers that have arisen to combat this miserable scourge. Most notably, of Steve Linford, who runs Spamhaus, which is a global blacklist of the more egregrious spammers. There is no happy ending to this book, unlike a work of fiction. The methods described to fight spam have limited efficacy. Spam is clearly shown to be a chronic problem. An open sore on the rear end of the Internet.

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