The Cuckoos Egg

Let me start by saying this is a mystery book not a murder mystery. The Cuckoos’ Egg is a book about tracking a spy through the maze of computer espionage. Written by Clifford Stoll  when the internet was in its infancy, it still packs a punch all this time later.


Cliff Stoll was an astronomer turned systems manager at Lawrence Berkeley Lab when a 75-cent accounting error. A small amount that most people would have ignored. And, indded, most people tried to ignore. But the error had alerted Cliff to the presence of an unauthorized user on his system…..and he was determined to find out who and why! 

The hacker’s code name was “Hunter” — a mysterious invader who managed to break into U.S. 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. 

The computing may have changed but the story remains extremely relevant to present day.

As a non-IT reader I found the book hard to put down. It has an exciting narrative, laced with snippets of life in Berkeley in the 1980s. And its a true story.

Go Read It……then change all your passwords!


Before the Internet became widely known as a global tool for terrorists, one perceptive U.S. 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). 

This account of the first ever ad hoc network monitoring, using printers connected to incoming modem lines, shows how far we have come. 

THE book to read on network defence.

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