A Book report on "The Cuckoo's Egg" by Cliff Stoll
A Cuckoo's Fledgling
Although the 1980s are not generally thought of as a decade of innocence, there were, however, a few pockets of juvenile utopia. One such example was the rapidly expanding "online" community, with its assortment of up-and-coming networks that were, to many technically inclined users, a virtual "McDonald's Play Place" with slides, ball pits and winding tubes to explore, all rapped in a security blanket of innocence. Not until a bully invaded, did another bastion of delayed-maturity, Cliff Stoll, find that "Big Bother" was not eager, or perhaps unable, to repel the invader on his behalf. This led Cliff to take responsibility and stand up to his assailant, causing a transformation throughout many facets of his life. The Cuckoo's Egg is the story of Cliff Stoll's maturation into an adult, mirrored by the loss of innocence and youthful-trusting-openness taking place in the network community at the time, catalyzed by a hacker halfway around the world, and necessitated by a nonchalant attitude among the governmental agencies supposed to be responsible for computer security. A question all parents, and some elder siblings, ask at some point is, "when should I let Jr. stand on his own?" and while it was only a case of bureaucracy not being equipped to quickly respond to a situation, this lack of response forced a man out of his comfort zone, gave him something to care about, and eventually made for an interesting book. It could even be hypothesized that Cliff's decision to marry was aided by the paradigm shift he experienced during the course of his hacker chase (Stoll 356). The delay of intervention on the part of the government agencies forced Cliff Stoll to leave the sidelines of his life, take responsibility, and become "pro-activealmost rabidabout computer security" (370). At the beginning of his story, Cliff portrays himself as an academic dreamer (1), literally a start gazer; he...
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