Remembering The Cuckoo's Egg

Posted by jun auza On 7/02/2008
While organizing some of my ancient stuff, I saw this book that I have read during the 90’s that I wanted to share to my young readers for they might never heard about it. This very fascinating book is entitled, “The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage”.

Written by Clifford Stoll, a U.S. astronomer and computer expert, The Cuckoo's Egg tells about the author's true to life hunt for a computer hacker who broke into a Unix computer at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL). Markus Hess, a computer prodigy and particularly effective hacker, is a German KGB spy that used LBL to gather sensitive data from hundreds of U.S. military computers.

The story began when the Stoll’s supervisor asked him to resolve a USD$.75 accounting error in the computer usage accounts. He traced the error to an unauthorized user, and in the long run realized that the unauthorized user was a hacker who had acquired root access to the LBL system by exploiting a vulnerability in the movemail function of Richard Stallman's GNU Emacs.

I don’t want to add anymore details about the story because I might spoil the fun to those who are now planning to read this book. I can only assure those who are interested in the early days of computer hacking and international espionage will surely treasure The Cuckoo's Egg.

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