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Clifford Stoll vs the KGB hacker – A nova documentary about one of the first people to uncover a hacker

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This is a video about Cliff Stoll. He was one of the first people to uncover a hacker back in 1986. He was an astronomy professor at Berkeley who was temporarily in charge of the computers. . He found a 75 cent accounting error which eventually led to his uncovering a KGB hacker network. The techniques the hacker used in 1986 are still being used effectively today.

This video is an hour long documentary about the long trail to track down the hacker. Imagine, if you will, a long haired professor from Berkeley going to the CIA with information about a hacker breaking into some of the most sensitive systems in the country.

The techniques used by the hacker are still being used by hackers today: social engineering, unpatched systems and weak passwords.  At the time, there were almost no laws against hacking. When Stoll went to the FBI, they asked how much was missing. He replied “75 cents”. They laughed him out of their office.. while the hacker was stealing secrets from the government.

Cliff also pioneered the concept of a honeypot. This is where you put tempting, but fake, data as a trap for hackers.

One of Cliff Stoll’s hobbies is collecting Klein Bottles. A Klein Bottle is a one dimensional bottle that holds water. It’s a step above a Mobius strip.

 

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