4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
10 years old but still relevant for the internet of today,
This review is from: Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy through the Maze of Computer Espionage (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 are completely out of date the mindset of the hackerand the persuer, the dogged determination on both sides to obtain whatthey want out of a man made system was certainly a revelation to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. Ithought the most poignant moment in the book was when the author statesthat what saves networking in his time from being totally exposed tohacking is the fact that there are a diversity of operating systems, unix,vax, dos, apple and that if at any moment this changed the hackers wouldbe in paradise. Someone please send this book to Bill Gates. All in allalthough the technology is out of date, its a must and simple read ifyou're in networking and have never read it or just want to understandwhat hacking is all about.