References, “The Cuckoo’s Egg”

This is the first in a series of posts about things that I reference in my Cybercrime novels and shorts. In the yet unreleased novel, Kill Dash Nine, I have Dancia talking to a young hacker woman named Jo about Joshua’s obsession with this book.

I first read it in the mid-90’s and now my son has read and enjoyed it. The story is true, so it’s not fiction. The events depicted actually happened and the author, an Astronomer by trade, taught himself how to track a computer thief through the phone lines to repay a missing .75 cents worth of computer time.

If you’re a programmer, network security person or a cyber security expert, you need to read this book. It’s a breezy, tender and ruthless story of finding someone half a world away through his tracks across the internet.

I remember when the author, Cliff Stoll used to have a segment on Tech TV, the first network devoted to computers and nerds. He used to plead with the viewers to get out and experience the real world and not to get too lost in all the virtual nonsense. He came off as a bit of a Luddite to most viewers, but if you read his book, you knew he was one of the best hackers around.

I had forgotten just how animated Cliff was until I watched this TED Talk he did in 2008. But his message then, is still relevant today. All of life is the call to learn. If you’d like the story of The Cuckoo’s Egg played out like a drama, you can watch this NPR NOVA program.

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