Many people think we’re on the verge of another Cold war, a cyber war, in which skilled hackers will break into systems abroad and wreak havoc with them.
But back in the 1980s, such a concept was still such a novelty that intelligence agencies and police didn’t pay much attention to it.
That is, until 1986, when an astronomer at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory made a startling discovery.
Cliff Stoll was a systems administrator at the lab, and noticed an unusual pattern of usage in the lab’s computer network.
In a groundbreaking game of cyber cat and mouse, stole eventually traced the activity back to a KGB recruit in Germany named Markus Hess.
Stoll told the amazing story in his 1989 bestseller The Cuckoo’s Egg. I spoke with him about that book, and again a year later when they paperback version came out.
So here now, from 1990, Cliff Stoll:.
Cliff Stoll will be 72 in June.
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How would it make you feel if you woke up one day and realized your father was a traitor to his country?
Unfortunately that was more than just a rhetorical question for Laura Walker, whose father, John Walker Jr., is considered one of the most notorious and dangerous spies in American history.
By the time he was caught in the mid-1980s John Walker Jr. had been spying for the Soviet Union for over 20 years, even bringing his son Michael into the “Walker family spy ring,” as it became known.
And he tried to recruit his daughter Laura into his spy ring as well, after she joined the military, but it was only after she tipped off authorities that her father and brother were caught.
In 1988 Laura Walker wrote a book about called Daughter of Deceit. That’s when I have a chance to meet her. So here now from 1988, Laura Walker.
John Walker was sentenced 36 years ago this week to life in prison. He died in prison in 2014 at age 77.