Clifford Stoll and "Stalking the wily hacker"

I start by admitting that I didn't know this story, a story that has more than 20 years, and that I found it a little while ago. To be accurate, I found it half an hour ago. Actually, it's because it's so old that I didn't know of it ; )

But let's go by parts because surfing from link to link I found several other interesting things.

The first, the one that made me open this notebook, was the discovery of a paper by this gentleman, dated May 1988, about stalking a German hacker (allegedly a spy) that entered a system at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.

The text was originally published in the Communications of the ACM, it can be found on the net in several forms, and it's titled Stalking the wily hacker. This was what made me write this note and, naturally, I recommend it (!)

But I'm not stopping here; I found other cool things:

  1. Clifford Stoll wrote a whole book following this paper: The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a spy through the maze of computer espionage (it's old and I should've read it but I didn't – it's already on my wish list on Amazon ; )... );
  2. A television series was made, based on this book: The KGB, the Computer and Me, and some clips are available on the tube (it wasn't Copolla that directed the movie, clearly, but it seems interesting – general knowledge);
  3. Richard Bejtlich, from Tao Security, made a presentation where he described the story as a set of snapshots from the movie and short subtitles – for those who don't have much time but want to see an overview; and
  4. Finally, because Clifford Stoll is himself an interesting character, I searched for specific information and eventually found his personal page at Berkeley, a modest page, and found a reference to another book with potential: Silicon Snake Oil: Second thoughts on the information highway.

To end this note and close the page, I'm left with one last reference: his talk on TED: Clifford Stoll on ... everything (which can also be transferred as an MP4 video, to watch later). It's unmissable, in my opinion: it has nothing to do with security; it has to do with the nature of a hacker – the true meaning of the word. It starts like this:

I find computer security frankly to be kind of boring. It's tedious. The first time you do something, it's science. The second time it's engineering. The third time... er... it's just being a technician. I'm a scientist: once I do something I'll do something else.

This is so insightful that I'm not going to add anything to it.

That's it. You already have material to keep you busy for a while.
Have fun! ; )