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Het koekoeksei over krakers en computerspionage (1989)
door Clifford Stoll
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Obviously dated, but in a delightful and informative way. Some parts were a bit cringe worthy just because the ideas and stereotypes around computer activity have changed significantly in 30 years. Overall, an incredible snapshot of early personal computing and internet life.
Stoll’s writing does an exceptional job of retelling a story of hacking, espionage, and an international spy hunt. All the while, the author’s humor and internal reflections breath life and personality throughout.
This book isn’t technically focused (thankfully the author has a separately published article going over such specifics), which makes this an accessible read for most anyone.
I enjoyed that the author took time to be open about their criticisms so federal agencies. It would have been much easier to have gone the safe route of painting them as holistic entities to be trusted by the public.
Written in 1989, a bit of history from a time when breaking into computers, even military computers wasn't a crime the authorities were concerned about.
I read this back in the 1990s, I believe. I remember enjoying it a lot more than I expected, but I was a computer programmer and there weren't many books like this back then.
The author is a true Berkeleyite, smart and a little crazy. He was an astronomer doing something like making lenses for the well known Lawrence Labs, a high-tech haven. Now, he makes bottles that don't hold anything and are of interest mainly to mathematical nerds, etc. He pretty much lived in his own world, but for a while, he was pulled out into a stint of international intrigue involving all the 3-letter agencies around then - the FBI, CIA, NSA, etc.
Michael Perkins posted a link to an article about the author that was interesting and tells a bit about the book and his life: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/899323627
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Wikipedia in het Engels (4)
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 mystery invader hiding inside a twisting electronic labyrinth, breaking into U.S. computer systems and stealing sensitive military and security information. Stoll began a one-man hunt of his own, spying on the spy -- and plunged into an incredible international probe that finally gained the attention of top U.S. counterintelligence agents. The Cuckoo's Egg is his wild and suspenseful true story -- a year of deception, broken codes, satellites, missile bases, and the ultimate sting operation -- and how one ingenious American trapped a spy ring paid in cash and cocaine, and reporting to the KGB.
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Dewey Decimale Classificatie (DDC)364.1680973 — Social sciences Social problems and services; associations Criminology Crimes and Offenses Crimes of property
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But that's a minor complaint, overall this was a really cracking story. I'm really impressed by how well Stoll explained topics in computer science, networking, and security to readers who may very well have never been on a network before, and who may be hearing about hacking for the first time. He did a good job choosing what to simplify, and how, to let readers understand what was going on, while not overwhelming them or talking down to them. Even more impressive given that these intrusion detection techniques were things he invented, so he had no examples to draw from, and not many people around to give him advice.
This book was all the rage in the BBS scene in the 90s, and I didn't read it then. I'm glad I finally got around to it. Maybe the longest time between putting a book on my "to read" pile and then actually reading it: about 30 years. ( )