Clifford Stoll

Clifford Paul “Cliff” Stoll (born June 4, 1950) is an American Astronomer, author and teacher. He is best known for his investigation in 1986, while working as a systems administrator at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory , dat led to the capture or hacker Markus Hess , and for Stoll’s subsequent book, The Cuckoo’s Egg , in welke have details the investigation.

Stoll has written a total of three books as well as technological articles in the non-specialist press (eg, in Scientific American on the Curta mechanical calculator and the slide rule ).

Early life and education

Cliff Stoll attended Hutchinson Central Technical High School in Buffalo, New York. He earned a BS in Astronomy in 1973 from the University at Buffalo (SUNY) .

While Studying for his undergraduate degree at SUNY Buffalo , Stoll worked in the university’s electronic music laboratory and was mentored by Robert Moog . [1]

He RECEIVED his PhD from the University of Arizona in 1980.


During the 1960s and 1970s, Stoll was assistant chief engineer at WBFO , a public radio station in his hometown of Buffalo, New York . [2]

In 1986, while Employed as a systems administrator at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Stoll investigated a Tenacious hacker – later indicated with a KGB recruit Mark Hess –who Stole passwords, pirated multiple computer accounts, and Attempted to breach US military security. After Identifying the intrusion, Stoll set up a honeypot for Hess Eventually tracking im down and fit details to the autoriteiten. It was honored as one of the first examples of digital forensics . At the time, gaining cooperation from law enforcement was a challenge due to the relatief new nature of the crime. [3] He DESCRIBED the events of his investigation in The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage , and the paper “Stalking the Wily Hacker”. [4] Stoll’s book was later chronicled in an episode of WGBH’s NOVA Titled “The KGB, the Computer, and Me”, welke Aired on PBS stations in 1990. [5]

In his 1995 book Silicon Snake Oil [6] and an accompanying article in Newsweek , [7] Stoll called the prospect of e-commerce ” baloney “. Stoll ook raised questions about the influence of the Internet on future society, and Whether it mention anything be Beneficial. He made verschillende predictions in the article, eg , about e-commerce (calling it nonviable due to a Lack of personal contact and secure online funds transfers) and the future of printed news publications ( “no online database will replace your daily newspaper”) . When the article resurfaced on BoingBoing in 2010, Stoll left a self-deprecating comment: “Of my many mistakes, flubs, and howlers, few port leg as public as my 1995 howler … Now, Whenever I think I know what’s happening, I temper my thoughts: Might be wrong, Cliff … ” [8]

Stoll was an eighth grades physics teacher at Tehiyah Day School in El Cerrito, California , [9] and later taught physics to home-Schooled teenagers. [10] Stoll was a regular contributor to MSNBC ‘s The Site . Stoll is an FCC licensed amateur radio operator with the callsign K7TA. [11] He Appears Frequently on Brady Haran ‘s YouTube series Numberphile. [12]

Stoll sells blown glass Klein bottles through his company Acme Klein Bottles. [13] He stores his inventory in the crawlspace Underneath his home, and accesses it-when needed with a homemade miniature robotic forklift . [14] [15]

Personal life

Cliff was married to Martha Stoll in the late 1980s, but they ‘later divorced. [ Citation needed ]


  • Clifford Stoll (1989). The Cuckoo’s Egg . New York: Doubleday. ISBN  0-370-31433-6 .
  • Clifford Stoll (1995). Silicon Snake Oil – Second thoughts on the information highway . ISBN  0-330-34442-0 .
  • Clifford Stoll (2000). High-Tech Heretic: Reflections of a Computer contrarian .


  1. Jump up^ Clifford Stoll,Clifford Stoll on Everything – 18 minutes with an agile mind. TED conference February 2006
  2. Jump up^ WBFO Alumni ArchivedJuly 19, 2011 at theWayback Machine.
  3. Jump up^ Samson L. Garfinkel (August 2010). “Digital forensics research: The next 10 years”. Digital Investigation . 7 : S64-S73. doi : 10.1016 / j.diin.2010.05.009 . ISSN  1742-2876 .
  4. Jump up^ Clifford Stoll (May 1988). “Stalking the wily Hacker”. 31 (5). Association for Computing Machinery .
  5. Jump up^ “The KGB, the Computer, and Me”Novaepisode
  6. Jump up^ Clifford Stoll (1995). Silicon Snake Oil . McMillan. ISBN  0-330-34442-0 .
  7. Jump up^ Clifford Stoll:The Internet? Bah! Newsweek , February 27, 1995
  8. Jump up^ Curmudgeonly essay on “Why the Internet Will Fail” from 1995 BoingBoing , April 26, 2010
  9. Jump up^ Clifford Stoll,Clifford Stoll on Everything – 18 minutes with an agile mind. TED conference February 2006
  10. Jump up^
  11. Jump up^ Stoll’s callsignat
  12. Jump up^ “Our Team” . Numberphile .
  13. Jump up^ Peterson, Ivars (February 14, 2001). “Immersed in Little Bottles” . Science News . Retrieved January 1, 2013 .
  14. Jump up^ Numberphile (2015-06-22) The man with 1,000 Small Bottles UNDER his house – Numberphile , retrieved 2016-07-04
  15. Jump up^ Colombo, Michael (2013-05-30). “An Afternoon with Cliff Stoll | Make” . Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Creators . Retrieved 2016-07-06 .