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Publisher's Summary

Before the internet became widely known as a global tool for terrorists, one perceptive US 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.

Cliff Stoll was an astronomer turned systems manager at Lawrence Berkeley Lab when a 75 cent accounting error alerted him to the presence of an unauthorized user on his system. The hacker's code name was "Hunter" - a mysterious invader who managed to break into US 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.

©1989 Clifford Stoll (P)2020 Tantor

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What listeners say about The Cuckoo's Egg

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  • Overall
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hacking in a world of unix

Bit lengthy if you are not patient. Pumps theory of persistence over brilliance. Talks about open data sharing in the world of today's money hungry iNC

1 person found this helpful

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  • Todd
  • 11-08-20

A story that stands the test of time

This book was written 30 years ago, but doesn't come across as dated or otherwise irrelevant. While the technology has changed, the story is still impactful today. My only criticism of the book was that it was sprinkled with a bit of TMI with regard to the author's personal life and politics that didn't really need to be in the book.

The narration was terrific, with one annoying exception. The narrator tried to use a British accent for the UK based person but it was horribly inconsistent and even seemed to become a German accent when the British person was talking ABOUT Germany. Weird.

Overall, a great listen.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Philip Lowe
  • 28-08-20

My favorite non-fiction book!

Love this book! Gripping story about the glory days of computing, and cold war spies. I have a physical copy of it which is warn to shreds. Very glad to have the audio version now.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-02-20

Hacking History Lesson

The Cuckoo's Egg has long been acknowledged as mandatory reading for anyone interested in cybersecurity, especially those on the technical side of the field. It is shocking how relevant this book is still today, 30+ years after the event. Spoiler alert - the core weaknesses in computer security that were discussed and/or exposed in 1986/87 and documented in this book largely still exist.

Having read the book and enjoyed it so much, I was excited to see it released as an audiobook. The audiobook version is better than I had hoped. Even though I know what is about to happen, I find myself riveted and planning my time to listen to the next chapter. If you are familiar with Unix and have been involved in IT and computer security for a while, especially if you have ever worked in the US government, you will find yourself involuntary nodding and remembering that time when something similar happened to you.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Mark Faraco-Hadlock
  • 29-11-20

A Fascinating (Niche) Story

This book is a fascinating story if you're interested in computer security. The narration is very well done and I think conveys the book well. I really enjoyed the writing and all the anecdotes from Stoll's life as well. I doubt the book would be much interest to the layman however. It is very technical. A huge plus for me, but fair warning to others.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Don A. Payne
  • 07-03-20

Cannot put this thing down!

So glad this finally came out in audiobook format. It is one of the best books written on computer hacking out there.

3 people found this helpful

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  • KathrynVB
  • 30-11-20

A classic!

Thank you Will Damron for narrating this classic book on computer security. I was alive during this era of the mid-1980s, and I can clearly track the story of how vulnerable our computers were to this kind of interference. Great story, well told.

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  • Cody
  • 22-10-20

Very Interesting

This story was really well documented which provides a very well written book with a lot of details.
Coming myself from a background in astronomy and infosec this book checked all the boxes for me.

Highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-10-20

An older book but still worth a read.

An older book, but still worth the read. Gives great insight on how vulnerable networks can become if not properly protected.

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  • Greg
  • 21-10-20

fantastic story

Love the book, especially the second time through listening to the audio version. Definitely recommended if you work in IT.

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  • Person
  • 07-10-20

A story 35 years old but...

A story 35 years old, but events just like it take place even today! Very interesting story on the early days of cyber security. A simpler time. I am glad Cliff got this book made in an audio book format.

1 person found this helpful

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  • B A CRANCH
  • 16-07-20

Great story but iffy presentation at times.

Firstly I really enjoyed this account. The fact that it happened decades ago in no way minimises its impact. It is let down a bit by the author's somewhat confusing stance on his own political leanings. He is basically a left-wing student type having difficulties with his ongoing discoveries that most FBI, NSA and CIA personnel with whom he deals are basically decent people with no personal axes to grind. Another annoying feature is that the narrator adopts a dreadful cod-Russian accent to reflect the childish "Russian" personae (Boris and Natasha) adopted by the writer and his girlfriend. Along with the writer's clear wish to be seen as an innocent abroad in a big bad world, it is irritating. These things apart, I found it a very good listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • User 000
  • 01-09-21

As geeky as it gets - wonderful!

A wonderfully written a new narrated tale of early hacking. The interlaced love story of Cliff and Martha works great, the true life characters are easy to like and the chapters leave you wanting to hear the next.

Listening to it now in 2021 it’s hard to believe that the 3 letter agencies did little to assist. A different world!

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  • Stephen F.
  • 09-03-21

Great storey

Very interesting to hear the details of how the hacker was detected and tracked. The story could have been edited down, for example the listing of arbitrary file names was completely unnecessary. The whole story could have been distilled down into 5 hrs or less.

Very well narrated.

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  • N. M. Atkinson
  • 15-01-21

Brilliant listen

Very interesting, well read and well performed. Despite being factual it gripped me like a novel. There is a warmth in the writing and the character of Cliff and that comes through the words. A fascinating topic and a book that has inspired me to read more about this field.

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  • Cliente de Amazon
  • 27-10-20

A digital spies story

The story it's captivating, entertaining and full of geek quotes, it all starts with 75 cents and ends over unexpected strawberry milkshakes! nice to get your head away from the routine

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  • Richy Gatenby
  • 04-10-20

Totally Absorbing!

This story got me hooked from the very beginning. Well read and I found myself wanting to keep listening to find out who/what was the villian of the hacking.

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  • Paul
  • 18-09-20

Great book. Also great history of IT

Great book and well read. Also great insight into a time of IT and security

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-07-20

I loved it

This was an excellent story that was told beautifully, the author and narrator put you right there, highly recommend.

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  • M. WILLIAMS
  • 04-07-20

A trip down memory lane, and then suddenly not.

I was at Digital DEC (the writers of VAX VMS) at about the time this story is set. As a very junior engineer I missed most of the fun, though even I could tell there was something up.

Most of this book is now very old fashioned, even historic in nature. Then suddenly the whole thing is amazingly relevant. For example, users are still choosing awful passwords, administrators are still forgetting to disable old accounts and admins are still closing the wrong doors against the wrong attacks.

It is still mostly of historic interest, rather than lessons from the trenches of Cyber Security. Please remember to make passwords, long, complex and unique. You don't have to keep changing it though.

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  • Don Whelan
  • 18-05-20

Fantastic Listen

Really really really enjoyed this. Very interesting getting first hand information and insight as to what c compromised system looks like from a sysadmin point of view. Great listen

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  • Joanne
  • 14-07-21

Very Interesting

I enjoyed this book and thought the narrator did a good job. Interesting just how much work goes into trying to deal with a problem like this and how vulnerable today's computers still are.

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  • Tom Saleeba
  • 04-05-20

Great story

It's a story that draws you in so you struggle to stop listening. Well written and appropriateness paced, and with excellent performance.

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  • Nick
  • 27-02-20

Just a great story

It may be old, but the characters are lovable and the author tells a great story. It still has relevance today as most of the agencies have not changed.