Clifford Stoll gained worldwide attention as a cyberspace sleuth when he wrote his bestselling book, The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage, the page-turning true story of how he caught a ring of hackers who stole secrets from military computer systems and sold them to the KGB. He has become a leading authority on computer security with lecture presentations that are energetic and entertaining, and showcase Clifford’s dry wit and penetrating views. Clifford Stoll is also a commentator for MSNBC and an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley. The Cuckoo’s Egg inspired a whole category of books on capturing computer criminals. Clifford began by investigating a 75-cent error in time billing for the university computer lab for which he was systems manager, and ended up uncovering a ring of criminals engaged in industrial espionage. Working for a year without support from his employers or the government, he eventually tracked a lead to a German spy hacking into American computer networks involved with national security and selling the secrets to the KGB for money and cocaine.
Since catching the "Hanover Hacker" (Hanover, Germany), Stoll has become a leading expert on computer security and has given talks for both the CIA and the National Security Agency, as well as the U.S. Senate. Stoll is also the author of two engaging and counter-intuitive critiques of technology’s role in culture, written in his trademark quiet and folksy style full of droll wit and penetrating insights. In Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway, Stoll, who has been netsurfing for fifteen years, does an about-face, warning that the promises of the Internet have been oversold and that we will pay a high price for its effects on real human interaction. His book, High Tech Heretic: Why Computers Don’t Belong in the Classroom and Other Reflections by a Computer Contrarian asks readers to check the assumptions that dominate our thinking about technology and the role of computers, especially in our classrooms. As one who loves computers as much as he disdains them, he admits to being deeply ambivalent about computers, and questions the role of networks in our culture.