Finn Brunton: Spam: Shadow History of the Internet (2013)

14 May 2013, dusan

The vast majority of all email sent every day is spam, a variety of idiosyncratically spelled requests to provide account information, invitations to spend money on dubious products, and pleas to send cash overseas. Most of it is caught by filters before ever reaching an in-box. Where does it come from? As Finn Brunton explains in Spam, it is produced and shaped by many different populations around the world: programmers, con artists, bots and their botmasters, pharmaceutical merchants, marketers, identity thieves, crooked bankers and their victims, cops, lawyers, network security professionals, vigilantes, and hackers. Every time we go online, we participate in the system of spam, with choices, refusals, and purchases the consequences of which we may not understand.

This is a book about what spam is, how it works, and what it means. Brunton provides a cultural history that stretches from pranks on early computer networks to the construction of a global criminal infrastructure. The history of spam, Brunton shows us, is a shadow history of the Internet itself, with spam emerging as the mirror image of the online communities it targets. Brunton traces spam through three epochs: the 1970s to 1995, and the early, noncommercial computer networks that became the Internet; 1995 to 2003, with the dot-com boom, the rise of spam’s entrepreneurs, and the first efforts at regulating spam; and 2003 to the present, with the war of algorithms—spam versus anti-spam. Spam shows us how technologies, from email to search engines, are transformed by unintended consequences and adaptations, and how online communities develop and invent governance for themselves.

Publisher MIT Press, 2013
Infrastructures Series
ISBN 026201887X, 9780262018876
270 pages

review (Evgeny Morozov, The Wall Street Journal)
interview with author (NPR)

publisher
google books

Download (removed on 2013-5-20 upon request of the publisher)

Jeffrey Carr: Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld (2009)

23 August 2011, dusan

You may have heard about “cyber warfare” in the news, but do you really know what it is? This book provides fascinating and disturbing details on how nations, groups, and individuals throughout the world are using the Internet as an attack platform to gain military, political, and economic advantages over their adversaries. You’ll learn how sophisticated hackers working on behalf of states or organized crime patiently play a high-stakes game that could target anyone, regardless of affiliation or nationality.

Inside Cyber Warfare goes beyond the headlines of attention-grabbing DDoS attacks and takes a deep look inside multiple cyber-conflicts that occurred from 2002 through summer 2009.

– Learn how cyber attacks are waged in open conflicts, including recent hostilities between Russia and Georgia, and Israel and Palestine
– Discover why Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal, Vkontakte, and other sites on the social web are mined by the intelligence services of many nations
– Read about China’s commitment to penetrate the networks of its technologically superior adversaries as a matter of national survival
– Find out why many attacks originate from servers in the United States, and who’s responsible
– Learn how hackers are “weaponizing” malware to attack vulnerabilities at the application level

Foreword by Lewis Shepherd
Publisher O’Reilly Media, Inc., 2009
O’Reilly Series
ISBN 0596802153, 9780596802158
212 pages

publisher
google books

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