Book Review: "The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a spy through the maze of computer espionage" by Clifford Stoll

Jun 24, 2017 19:34 · 260 words · 2 minutes read reviews

I first came across this book when a friend casually mentioned it in one of Urban Perspective’s book club meet ups. What drew me towards this book was that it chronicled a systems administrator’s journey in catching a hacker who’d penetrated his system. I was curious to find out how a system admin’s world was back in the 80’s. Needless to say, it was very interesting.

Well, this was an entertaining read for me. I got to learn some really cool old holes in GNU/ Emacs and the Vim editor that have been since patched. I also got a glimpse on how Clifford, the main character, got to conduct some serious forensics when tracking the hacker(s). Owing to his vast astronomer background, he was very scientific and methodological about it. In the midst of trying to resolve the hacker menace, an interesting question raised was: Who’s responsible for dealing with cyber attacks? When dealing with cyber attacks at that time, in the US, alot of bureacracy was present. Sadly, I see the same bureacracy here in my country, Kenya. I digress …

I found it interesting how Clifford was so persistent in catching the hacker and how well he documented the process. How well his wife, Martha, coped with his work-related escapades was desirable(well, at least to me). I did not understand some things in the book though: like using dial-up modems to connect to a network. All in all, I found this book enjoyable.

I’d recommend this to anyone who’d like some practical insight into forensic cybersecurity analyst stuff.