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Hacking the Hacker by Roger A. Grimes

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20Profile: Lance Spitzner

Nothing makes me more frustrated than when a security geek says ‘you can’t patch stupid’”—Lance Spitzner

In the late 1980s, I read a book by Clifford Stoll called The Cuckoo’s Egg (https://www.amazon.com/Cuckoos‐Egg‐Tracking‐Computer‐Espionage/dp/B0051CSCG6/). It’s the story of how a $0.75 error leads an American astronomer into discovering an international spy ring. Stoll’s chief investigative tool was a honeypot. The book really piqued my interest into computer security and fighting hackers.

Ten years went by before I ran into another huge honeypot advocate, Lance Spitzner. Today, most consider Spitzner to be the father of modern‐day computer honeypots. He wrote and published so much information on them in the 2000s, including a book (https://www.amazon.com/Honeypots‐Tracking‐Hackers‐Lance‐Spitzner/dp/0321108957), that even today, a decade later, no one has written more. Spitzner’s fresh take on the subject led to my own multi‐decade interest in honeypots, including my own book on them (https://www.amazon.com/Honeypots‐Windows‐Books‐Professionals/dp/1590593359).

Spitzner’s contribution to the field was to update the whole idea of honeypots and take the honeypot from being treated as a toy to instead being considered a much‐needed discipline, helping develop the field of cyber intelligence. His main interest was in getting know how and why hackers compromised organizations, something he called “Know Your Enemy.” He also created definitions to describe ...

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