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The Cuckoo's Egg Paperback – 12 Apr 1991

4.8 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Paperback, 12 Apr 1991
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Books; New edition edition (12 April 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330317423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330317429
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,053,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stoll, a surplus astronomer transformed into reluctant IT systems manager at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, starts with his hunt for the source of a tiny discrepancy in the accounts for computer usage at the laboratory. It leads him down little protected pathways into many theoretically high security US government and military organisations and contractors' computer systems, beginning in 1986, and consuming his life over months. He encountered disbelief and obstruction by organisations such as the FBI, CIA and NSA, before the story reached its climax. There is systems information for the enthusiast, especially of GMU-Emacs, but without distracting the non-IT reader from the exciting narrative and the background of life in Berkeley in the 1980s.
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Format: Paperback
This book was worth every moment of the 3 odd hours I spent reading it (or more or less depending on your reading speed) and worth every penny you may spend on it (Lucky me, I got it as a present from an old friend!).
In my view, it is not a spy saga, as another reviewer refers to it. Instead it is a fascinating celebration of human curiosity. It is a gripping account of the dogged persistence in problem-solving, that separates an ordinary techie from a brilliant one.
Written in a simple style, it does not seek to alienate the non-techie reader, adding to its appeal. More intriguing is the fact that it is a real story from an era when the web was not as evolved as we know it now. In that it also becomes an interesting historical narrative of some of major technological developments in that era. To enjoy this book would take only some curiosity, that will take you through to the end of the story and some desire to see a challenge carried through to its deserved conclusion. Highly recommended.
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