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The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage Paperback – 1 Oct 2000


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The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage + Ghost In The Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; 1 Poc edition (1 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743411463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743411462
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.5 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 501,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

When, to the delight of the baffled FBI, CIA, and NSA, Cliff Stoll nailed his spy, he wound up on the front page of The New York Times. The story, broken in 1989, quickly gathered headlines across the nation and Stoll became a genuine, if somewhat unlikely, American hero.

An astronomer by training and a computer expert by accident, Cliff Stoll has become a leading authority on computer security, an issue recognized everywhere as among the most important security problems of our times. He has given talks for the FBI, CIA, and NSA, and has appeared before the U.S. Senate. Stoll is an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


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ME, A WIZARD? UNTIL A WEEK AGO, I WAS AN ASTRONomer, contentedly designing telescope optics. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Nov. 2000
Format: Paperback
Spy stories are great fun. James Bond, Tom Clancy... And Now Cliff Stoll, with only one minor difference.
This one's true.
In the Eighties, Clifford Stoll ran out of money for his research into Astronomy at the University of Berkeley and was 'recycled' into the lab's computer division. A couple of days into his new job, his boss brought an interesting problem to his attention, their accounting software - logging, and charging for, time on the mainframe - was missing 75 cents. Would he like to look into it?
A year later Clifford Stoll had tracked a hacker across half the planet, through dozens of supposedly secure military and civillian networks, he'd interfaced with a dozen or more three-letter agencies (CIA, FBI, NSA, CID and more) and become one of the world's most respected experts in computer security.
I wish I had half the brains this man has. I'd reccomend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in the internet, computer security, networks and other computer related hardware. The book'll leave you feeling like an idiot, but you'll love every second.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Taylor VINE VOICE on 27 April 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A friend lent me this book as we both work in the networking industry andhe was surpised I'd never read it. It took me a weekend to finish and Ifound it very interesting both for the story it told but also as a lookback to the origins of the internet and how its pitfuls have not reallychanged. Its the story of a university professor who becomes obsessedwith tracking down a hacker, even though he has limited knowledge ofhacking, or even computers. The hacking in this case is rather archaic asit involves dialing in via a modem connection to a unix box and thenexploiting weaknesses in unix to gain super user rights and create newaccounts to link to other computers. All this happens in the very earlydays of the internet and the connection of computers together. As thehacker is very interested in words like miltary, nuclear, secrets! theprofessor tries to alert the authorities none of whom seem clued up onhacking or on the implications of a global superhighway as we like to coinit now.
Although the OS etc.. are completely out of date the mindset of the hackerand the persuer, the dogged determination on both sides to obtain whatthey want out of a man made system was certainly a revelation to me andhighlights that in this domain although the systems have become moresophisticated the people have the same motivations. The sections onwanting to keep openess at the expense of security have unfortunatley beenlost on the interent as we all have to have firewalls and plough throughmountains of commerical websites generating annoying pop up menus.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. P. Sedgwick VINE VOICE on 11 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
Despite the age of this book, the basic concepts of hackers, viruses and worms are surprisingly similar now to what they were in the late 1980's, the period when The Cuckoo's Egg is set. The big difference between then and now is the incredible lack of interest in computer espionage from the various US intelligence agencies which the author encountered.
The story of this book is largely Clifford Stoll's battle to get the FBI, CIA and numerous other agencies to recognise what was going on and act upon it. This despite the fact that the target of the hackers were predominantly military computers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Blute on 27 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
I have just purchased this book s/hand on amazon uk, although I have read it several times. Stolle paints a wonderful picture of the laid back California lifestyle at berkley while gripping your interest with factual computer exploits and his attempts to get someone in authority to take notice of his discovery and help him catch the hackers.
This book is one you simply cant put down stolles easy way of writing makes you feel you are with him, wether he is cycling down the hill near the particle accelerators, camping out amongst the wires of the network waiting for the hacket to set off his pager or watching a free grateful dead concert. If you like computer hacking,security stories, computer history and the california lifestyle , get this book.
Also take a look at hackers by steven levy - the hackers refers not to the script kiddies of latter days, but the pioneers at MIT, messing aro0und with pdp,s or the california startups like apples jobs and wozniak and the software pioneers of the late 70s early 80s
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Louis-jean on 6 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
I bought this on a recommendation from a post on TechRepublic about top books every geek should own. This particular book caught my attention as it is a true story and was before the days of the internet as we currently know it.
The story is about Cliff, an Astronomer at Berkley who gets reassigned to the IT department instead of leaving after finishing a research project. A few days into his new role, he is tasked at investigating an accounting error of 75c on the mainframe billing system.
What should have been a straight forward task lead him to discover that the error was due to a hacker accessing the system remotely. Instead of closing the security hole, Cliff decides to watch what the hacker is doing and discovers that the hacker is not just some script kiddy have a bit of a poke about. What follows is a wild goose chase involving cross state line traces, the FBI, the CIA, the military defence network and KGB.
Although a book related to hackers and technology, it is about the journey and not about the technology involved and as such could be picked up by anyone.
I highly recommend this book.
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