I had recommended this book before in a previous blog before I even finished it, but I don’t think I had shared it on my Facebook or LinkedIn page at the time so here it goes again. This is one of those books where you don’t judge a book by its cover or subject matter. I find espionage a highly interesting phenomenon, but computer espionage? Come on? How interesting could it really be? It sounds rather boring. I’m sure it is in most cases, but it is quite interesting when you have the right person writing about it.
Cliff Stoll infuses the right amount of factual information with his own personal quirks and hesitancy. You will see this when he is dealing with the FBI, CIA, and NSA. His lifestyle of sewing quilts and making homemade milkshakes when he was not being a systems administrator was in direct contradiction to the later relationships he formed with the “spooks.” You couldn’t have picked a more unique person to unravel this story piece by piece even if you tried. It is a page turner, and I mean this sincerely. You will doubly enjoy it if you are into non-fiction thriller/mystery.
Stoll doesn’t mince his words, but still you know he has a kind heart within him. He comments on certain things that seem unrelated to the hacker, but it does serve a purpose in the long run. This book is as relevant as ever given our current political times. I won’t spoil the ending, but I wasn’t too surprised that certain things happened the way they did. This was as much a cat and mouse game as it was a catalyst for things to come in the computer world and in his own personal life. I will conclude with the message of fixing the smaller problems is usually adequate, but sometimes it isn’t, and when it isn’t enough, watch out because who knows what will appear.