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The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage Hardcover – September 26, 1989
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A sentimental favorite, The Cuckoo's Egg seems to have inspired a whole category of books exploring the quest to capture computer criminals. Still, even several years after its initial publication and after much imitation, the book remains a good read with an engaging story line and a critical outlook, as Clifford Stoll becomes, almost unwillingly, a one-man security force trying to track down faceless criminals who've invaded the university computer lab he stewards. What first appears as a 75-cent accounting error in a computer log is eventually revealed to be a ring of industrial espionage, primarily thanks to Stoll's persistence and intellectual tenacity. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
A 75-cent discrepancy in billing for computer time led Stoll, an astrophysicist working as a systems manager at a California laboratory, on a quest that reads with the tension and excitement of a fictional thriller. Painstakingly he tracked down a hacker who was attempting to access American computer networks, in particular those involved with national security, and actually reached into an estimated 30 of the 450 systems he attacked. Initially Stroll waged a lone battle, his employers begrudging him the time spent on his search and several government agencies refused to cooperate. But his diligence paid off and in due course it was learned that the hacker, 25-year-old Markus Hess of Hanover, Germany, was involved with a spy ring. Eight members were arrested by the West German authorities but all but one were eventually released. Although the book will be best appreciated by the computer literate, even illiterates should be able to follow the technical complexities with little difficulty. Literary Guild selection.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyway, this is a highly interesting read and I'm just sorry it took me so long to stumble upon it...technology outdated now, but story still works.
Anyway, a lot of sysadmins learn their trade because they are thrown into the fire without any prior experience, as happened to the author of this book, and it's entertaining to see him, a computer novice, teach himself what he needed to know to track down a hacker and to educate the U.S. military people in the process. I also found it interesting that, despite the fact that the author was basically a liberal, "anti-establishment", ex-hippie, he nonetheless felt such a sense of pride in his computer network that he was offended that a hacker should be in there mucking around, and this feeling of "ownership" and "responsibility" for his network spurred him on to try to catch the guy.
If you don't know anything about computers, you'll enjoy the book because, not only does the author explain concepts in layman terms, but as others have pointed out the book itself reads like a spy novel of sorts, and there's also quite a bit of humor thrown in, so it's quite entertaining overall.
pretty interesting if you're curious about the mechanics of hacking networks and the
earliest days of the internet... back when it was the hobby of a handful of geeks
and not the omnipresent household fixture of today.
The author is a programmer and astronomer who is tasked with writing the occasional
useful app for his department and otherwise helping maintain the network. Having a curious
and dogged nature, he invests some hours looking into a minor accounting error
that eventually reveals the presence of a hacker on his system. He decides that simply
plugging the security hole won't be sufficient, as there are bound to be others and the hacker
will be a threat unless he's caught.
What follows is a detailed account of the months Mr. Stoll invested tracking this hacker as he
quietly jumps from one system to the next, probing for weaknesses and downloading
whatever sensitive or interesting info he can find.
The recurring theme of the story is our hero's frustration at the lack of cooperation
he gets from the government. Nobody wants to take responsibility for it.
Nobody seems to understand the magnitude of the threat.
The CIA, FBI, and military all take turns stonewalling him and refuse to keep him in the loop
when they finally decide to take action. But he methodically continues tracking
the hacker at some cost to his job and personal life.
Being a true story makes this very engaging, but those are not into computers and hacking
may find it a bit dry. There really isn't any James bond stuff, despite the promises of international
espionage, drugs and missile bases in the blurb. Everything away from the keyboard is domestic
scenery, not gunfights. But the meat of the book is spent at the computer and any enthusiast
will have no problem burning through the pages.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If uyou are still employed or married ...do not buy this book.
I found it to be a good read.
I would recommend this to anyone even "Non Techies"