Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage
By: Clifford Stoll
Rated 5 Stars
This was a real page turner for me and unbelievably kept me up until midnight to finish it. Even though all the technology was probably out dated I am computer illiterate enough for the technology bits to go flying over my head. It was the chase that I found so fascinating.
A poster on Bookflurries said that she had seen the author at a book reading and that he was the most entertaining author she had ever seen. She said that he was so hyper-energetic that she jokingly compared it to someone mainlining caffeine. I googled and found a 2007 interview on youtube and I concur with the poster completely. But it is easy to see how someone with that kind of personality would hang on so tenaciously in order to catch the person who was invading "his" computer system so brazenly and, getting away with it. By the end of the book I felt like I too had a personal stake in finding the hacker.
A 75-cent discrepancy in billing for computer time led Stoll, an astrophysicist working as a systems manager at a California laboratory, on a quest that reads with the tension and excitement of a fictional thriller. Painstakingly he tracked down a hacker who was attempting to access American computer networks, in particular those involved with national security, and actually reached into an estimated 30 of the 450 systems he attacked. Initially Stroll waged a lone battle, his employers begrudging him the time spent on his search and several government agencies refused to cooperate.