When Clifford Stoll speaks, you can't help but listen. Full of restless energy, he jumps from one topic to the next, darting back and forth across the stage. You may not be sure where he’s going, but the ride is always part of the adventure.
An astronomer (though his astronomy career took a turn when he noticed a bookkeeping error that ultimately led him to track down a notorious hacker), researcher and internationally recognized computer security expert -- who happens to be a vocal critic of technology -- Stoll makes a sharp, witty case for keeping computers out of the classroom. Currently teaching college-level physics to eighth graders at a local school, he stays busy in his spare time building Klein bottles.
Clifford Stoll first came to national prominence in 1989 with the publication of his book, The Cuckoo's Egg, an amazing account of his search across the Internet to catch a German cracker who was breaking into military computers all over the world.
Mr. Stoll is an astronomer by trade, who was “promoted” to Systems Manager at his lab. While examining the accounting records, he noticed a 75-cent error in the billing logs. He began investigating the logs to rectify the error, and discovered enough discrepancies to make him believe someone was tapping into their system illegally.Before the search was done, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Security Agency were involved. but Mr. Stoll was the one who finally tracked him down.
The perpetrator was a twenty-five year old German hacker named Markus Hess who was selling US government secrets to the KGB for money and cocaine.
Since the publication of that book, Mr. Stoll has been widely sought after for speaking engagements, and has written a second book. One wonders where he finds the time to pursue astronomy.
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