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December 26 , 2010

Spam Kings

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


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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