THE MAGAZINE

Slamming Spam: A Guide for System Administrators

By Ben Rothke

*****Slamming Spam: A Guide for System Administrators By Robert Haskins and Dale Nielsen; published by Addison-Wesley, www.awprofessional.com (Web); 432 pages; $44.99.

Be it inane e-mails with topics such as “retention bobble cicada emanuel,” attempts to pitch 21st century snake oil, or incessant pleas to refinance your mortgage or find a date online, we’ve all received our share of spam. And as antispam software develops, mass marketers get ever more crafty in defeating these programs. Spam is truly overwhelming today’s workplaces, and systems administrators are in dire need of effective solutions.

One place to turn is Slamming Spam, a systems administrator’s and messaging administrator’s guide to reducing spam. With its hands-on, high-level approach for detecting, managing, and eliminating spam, the book is not for beginners. Readers are expected to be comfortable with UNIX and Windows system administration and be familiar with core concepts of messaging and messaging protocols.

Thankfully, the authors don’t delay in providing helpful information. By chapter two, the book is already in the solutions phase of how to harden a system against spam. Besides covering SpamAssassin, a popular open-source antispam tool, the book shows how to protect messaging systems, such as Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino, and messaging clients including Outlook Express and Mozilla Messenger.

Alternative solutions to junk e-mail are provided as well, including Sender Policy Framework (which identifies spoofed mail) and DSPAM (an open-source statistics-based spam filter), as well as commercial solutions. Whitelists and blacklists, DNS black-hole services, header checking, and other antispam niceties are explained as well. The result is a book that will help any organization substantially reduce its spam intake.


Reviewer: Ben Rothke,CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), is a New York City-based senior security consultant with ThruPoint, Inc. He is a member of ASIS International

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