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THE CUCKOO’S EGG - An Internet Spy Novel


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Contact:Howard Walker
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Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage

Local pick-up preferred, but will ship at the buyer’s expense

Kingston Books 3 – IMG_1115

Author: Cliff Stoll

Publisher: Pocket Books


How do you spread the word when a computer has a security hole?  Some say nothing, fearing that telling people how to mix explosives will encourage them to make bombs.  In this book I’ve explicitly described some of these security problems, realizing that people in black hats are already aware of them.

I’ve tried to reconstruct this incident as I experienced it.  My main sources are my logbooks and diaries, cross-checked by contacting others involved in this affair and comparing reports from others.  A few people appear under aliases, several phone numbers are changed, and some conversations have been recounted from memory, but there is no fictionalizing.

For supporting me throughout the investigation and writing, thanks to my friends, colleagues, and family.  Regina Wiggen has been my editorial mainstay; thanks also to Jochen Sperber, Jon Rochlis, Dean Chacon, Winona Smith, Stephen Stoll, Dan Sack, Donald Alvarez, Laurie McPherson, Rich Muller, Gene Spafford, Andy Goldstein, and guy Consolmagno.  Thanks also to Bill Stott, for Write to the Point, a book that changed my way of writing.

I posted a notice to several computer networks, asking for title suggestions.  Several hundred people from around the world replied with zany ideas. My thanks to Karen Anderson in San Francisco and Nigel Roberts in Munich for the title and subtitle

Doubleday’s editors, David Gernert, and Scott Ferguson, have helped me throughout.  It’s been fun to work with the kind people at Pocket Books, including bill Gross, Dudley Frasier, and Gertie the Kangaroo, whose pictured on the cover of this book.  To them, as well as my agent, John Brockman, thanks for your continued encouragement and wise advice.

To each of these people, I’m indebted; I owe most of them boxes of cookies as well.

Lawrence Berkley Laboratory supported me throughout this quest; The people of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory – especially Joe Schwartz and Steve Murray – have been most gracious and supportive while I’ve been writing this book.  My deep thanks go to my friends at both institutes and my hopes that I’ll now be able to return to astronomy.

I was 10 years old when Ernest Both of the Buffalo Museum of Science invited me to look through a telescope opening up a universe of astronomy.  I wonder if I’ll ever be able to than him properly.

Before the internet became widely known as a global tool for terrorists, one perceptive US citizen recognized its ominous potential. Armed with clear evidence of computer espionage, he began a highly personal quest to expose a hidden network of spies that threatened national security. But would the authorities back him up? Cliff Stoll's dramatic firsthand account is "a computer-age detective story, instantly fascinating [and] astonishingly gripping" - Smithsonian.

Cliff Stoll was an astronomer turned systems manager at Lawrence Berkeley Lab when a 75 cent accounting error alerted him to the presence of an unauthorized user on his system. The hacker's code name was "Hunter" - a mysterious invader who managed to break into US computer systems and steal sensitive military and security information. Stoll began a one-man hunt of his own: spying on the spy. It was a dangerous game of deception, broken codes, satellites, and missile bases - a one-man sting operation that finally gained the attention of the CIA...and ultimately trapped an international spy ring fueled by cash, cocaine, and the KGB.

Paperback  402 pages  ISBN:  0-7434-1146-3


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