Follow us on Twitter!
It is never to LATE to become what you never WERE.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
HellBoundHackers Main:
HellBoundHackers Find:
HellBoundHackers Information:
HellBoundHackers Exploit:
HellBoundHackers Programming:
HellBoundHackers Think:
HellBoundHackers Track:
HellBoundHackers Patch:
HellBoundHackers Other:
HellBoundHackers Need Help?
Members Online
Total Online: 20
Guests Online: 19
Members Online: 1

Registered Members: 82885
Newest Member: ConiBE
Latest Articles

Misguided geeks or domestic terrorists

Arrow Image A speech I gave back in high school about the issues of "cyber terrorism"

Early in the morning of March 1, 1990, the offices of a role-playing game publisher in Austin, Texas called Steve Jackson Games was visited by the agents of the United States Secret Service. With search warrant in hand, they ransacked the premises, broke into several locked filing cabinets (damaging them irreparably in the process) and eventually left carrying 3 computers, 2 laser printers, several hard disks, the drafts of his about-to-be released book and many business records of his company.
Later in the day, callers to the Illuminati Bulletin Board System (which Steve Jackson Games operated to keep in touch with roll-players around the country) encountered the following message:
“So far we have not received a clear explanation of what the Secret Service was looking for, what they expected to find, or much of anything else. We are fairly certain that Steve Jackson Games is not the target of whatever investigation is being conducted; in any case, we have done nothing illegal and have nothing whatsoever to hide. However, the equipment that was seized is apparently considered to be evidence in whatever they’re investigating, so we aren’t likely to get it back any time soon. It could be a month, it could be never.”
Months passed and nothing was returned to the small company. The Secret Service even stopped taking his calls. Steve figured that in the months following the raid his company lost an estimated $125,000. With such a fiscal hemorrhage, he couldn’t afford a lawyer to go after the Secret Service. Both the state and national offices of the ACLU told him to “run along” when he solicited their help.
Steve then tried to go to the press. As in most other cases, they were unwilling to raise alarm. Jackson theorized, “The conservative press is taking the attitude that the suppression of evil hackers is a good thing and that anyone who happens to be put out of business in the meantime….well, that’s just their tough luck.” Newsweek did run a story about the event, portraying it from Jackson’s perspective, but they were almost alone in dealing with it.
What had he done to deserve this nightmare? Role-playing games, of which Dungeons and Dragons is the most famous, have been accused of creating obsessive involvement in their nerdy young players, but no one before had found it necessary to prevent their publication.
Well, it seems that Steve Jackson had hired the wrong writer. The managing editor of Steve Jackson Games is a former cracker (commonly referred to as a hacker), known by his fellows in the Legion of Doom as The Mentor. He and the rest of Jackson Staff had been working for over a year on a game called GURPS Cyberpunk, High-Tech Low-Life Role-playing.
At The time of the Secret Service raids, the game resided entirely on the hard disks they confiscated. Indeed, it was their target. They told Jackson that, based on its author’s background, they had reason to believe it was a “handbook on computer crime.” It was therefore inappropriate for publication, 1st amendment or no 1st amendment.
After much negotiation, Jackson was able to get the Secret Service to let him have some of his data back. However, they told him that he would be limited to an hour and a half with only one of his three computers. Also, according to Jackson, “They insisted that all the copies be made by a Secret Service agent who was a two-finger typist. So we didn’t get much.”
In the end, Jackson and his staff had to reconstruct most of the game from neural rather than magnetic memory. They did have a few very old backups, and they retrieved some scraps which had been passed around to game testers.
Despite the government efforts to impose censorship by prior restraint, Cyberpunk was eventually released. But Steve Jackson Games, the heretofore prosperous publisher of more than a hundred role-playing games, was forced to lay off more than half of its employees and eventually close down its operation.
This example I have provided to you is just one of the many cases were the rights of computer hackers have been neglected.
A. A brief history of computer hacking
1. In the beginning: (before 1969) The world’s first authentic computer hackers were not bored adolescents with malicious tools; rather, they were the MIT geeks during the 1960’s. During these times, computers were mainframes, locked away in temperature-controlled, glassed-in lairs. It cost megabucks to run those slow-moving hunks of metal; programmers had limited access to these dinosaurs. So the smarter ones created what they called “hacks” – programming shortcuts – to complete tasks more quickly. Sometimes their shortcuts were more elegant than the original program.
2. Elder days: (1970-1979) In the 1970’s, the cyber frontier was wide open. Hacking was all about exploring and figuring out how the wired world worked. Hacker publications started to appear all over the nation. The only thing that was missing from the hacking scene was a virtual clubhouse. How would the best hackers ever meet? In 1978 two guys from Chicago, Randy Seuss and Ward Christiansen, created the first personal-computer bulletin-board system.
3. The golden age: (1980-1991)
I. In 1981, IBM announced a new model – a stand-alone machine, fully loaded with a CPU, memory, storage, utilities, and software. They called it the “personal computer.”
II. The 1983 movie War Games shone a flashlight onto the hidden face of hacking, and warned audiences nationwide that hackers could get into any computer system. Hackers gleaned a different message from the film. It implied that hacking could get you girls. Cute girls.
III. The territory was changing. More settlers were moving into the online world. ARPANET was morphing into the internet, and the popularity of bulletin-board systems exploded. In Milwaukee, a group of hackers calling themselves the 414’s broke into systems at institutions ranging from the Los Alamos Laboratories to Manhattan’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Then the cops put their arm on them.
IV. The Great Hacker War: The Great Hacker War began when two rival groups of computer hackers: The Legion of Doom and the Masters of Deception began to feud. Starting in 1990, LOD and MOD engaged in almost two years of online warfare – jamming phone lines, monitoring calls, trespassing in each other’s private computers. Then the Feds cracked down. This meant jail time for members of both organizations. It was the end of the golden era of hacking.

4. Crackdown: (1986-1994) With the government online, the fun ended. Just to show that they meant business, Congress passed a law in 1986 called the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. After this law was created, arrests came left and right. Zero Tolerance: (1994-1998) Seeing hackers being led off in chains on national TV soured the public’s romance with online outlaws. Net users were terrified of hackers using tools like “password sniffers” to ferret out private information, or “spoofing,” which tricked a machine into giving a hacker access. Call it the end of anarchy, the death of the frontier. Hackers were no longer considered romantic antiheroes, kooky eccentrics who just wanted to learn things. A burgeoning online economy with the promise of conducting the world’s business over the Net needed protection. Suddenly hackers were crooks.
5. Hack 2K: (1999+) As the millennium approached, general cyber-hysteria over the infamous Y2K bug was further inflamed by several serious hacker attacks. Well docu<i></i>mented by the media, these invasions were experienced directly (perhaps for the first time) by the growing masses of casual web surfers. In the second week of February 2000 some of the most popular Internet sites (CNN, Yahoo, E-bay, and Datek) were subject to “denial of service” attacks. Their networks clogged with false requests sent by multiple computers under the control of a single hacker, these commercial sites crashed and lost untold millions in sales. In May, a new virus appeared that spread rapidly around the globe. The “I Love You” virus infected image and sound files and spread quickly by causing copies of it to be sent to all individuals in an address book.
B. Present-day effects
1. Computer crime is obviously a problem
2. More than 90 percent of the corporations and government agencies responding to a recent survey reported computer-security breaches in 2001.
3. According to the Computer Emergency Research Team at Carnegie Mellon University, 401 hacking incidents were reported in 1991 vs. 52,658 in 2001. The first half of 2002 alone has yielded 43,136 incidents.
4. But the civil liberties of computer hackers and hacking based publications are continuing to be abused and ignored.
5. Under a proposed bill put forth by the Bush Administration known as the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), most computer crimes would be classified as “Federal terrorism offenses,” exposing hackers to mandatory DNA sampling, property seizure under the mod busting RICO statues, and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
6. In other words, a computer hacker who infiltrates a computer without consent will be put behind bars and the government will throw away the key.
7. Also, under the United States Patriot Act (USAPA) some computer crimes, although they have little or no relevance to any known kind of terrorist activity, has been added to the list of “domestic terrorist” crimes (sec. 810, 811, 812, 813). The bright-but-immature student who decides to experiment with a computer virus could find himself facing a charge of domestic terrorism rather than the more appropriate criminal charges for damages or “cyber crime”.
8. But this is not the only unconstitutional law found within the Patriot Act. Criminal investigation agencies can now conduct searches and seizures without a warrant and also can conduct un-notified wire taps on people suspected of committing cyber-crimes.
9. The following is a excerpt from the United States constitution: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but up0on probable cause, support by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” –Amendment IV United States Constitution.
10. On January 24, 1990, a platoon of Secret Service agents entered the apartment of an 18 year old hacker under the alias of acid phreak, which he shared with his mother and 12 year-old sister. The latter was the only person home when they burst through the door with guns drawn. They managed to hold her at the bay for about half and hour until their quarry happened home. By then, they were nearly done packing up Acid’s worldly goods, including his computer, his notes (both paper and magnetic), books, and such dubiously dangerous tools as a telephone answering machine, a ghetto blaster and his complete collection of audio tapes. One agent asked him to define the real purpose of the answering machine and was frankly skeptical when told that it answered the phone. The audio tapes seemed to contain nothing but music, but who knew the dark data Acid might have encoded between the notes… When acid’s mother returned from work, she found her apartment a scene of apprehended criminality. She asked what, exactly, her son had done to deserve all this attention and was told that, among other things, he had caused the AT&T system crash several days earlier (previously AT&T had taken full responsibility.) Thus, the agent explained, her darling boy was thought to have caused over a billion dollars in damage to the United States economy. This accusation was never turned into a formal charge. Indeed, no charge of any sort was filed against Mr. Phreak then and, although the Secret service maintained resolute possession of his hardware, software, and data, no charge was ever filed. Similar scenes were being played out at homes of his friends with the alias’s phiber optik and Scorpion. Again, equipment notes, disks, and personal effects were confiscated. Again no charges were filed. Thus began the visible phase of Operation Sun Devil, a two-year Secret Service investigation which involved 150 federal agents, numerous local and state law enforcement agencies, and combined security resources of PacBell, AT&T, Bellcore, Bell South, MCI, Sprint, Mid-American, Southwestern Bell, NYNEX, U.S. West, and American Express. The focus of this impressive institutional array was the Legion of Doom, a group which never had any formal membership list but was thought by the members interviewed to be less than 20, nearly all of them in their teens or early twenties. When Acid was asked why their group chose such a threatening name, he responded “You wouldn’t want a fairy kind of thing like the Legion of Flower Pickers or something. But the media ate it up too. Probing the Legion of Doom like it was a gang or something, when really it was just a bunch of geeks behind terminals.”
11. Not only is the government conducting illegal searches and seizures, but they also are ignoring a major first amendment right, freedom of the press.
12. Sometime in December 1988, a 21 year-old Atlanta-area Legion of Doomster named The Prophet cracked a Bell South computer and downloaded a three-page text file which outlined, in bureaucrat-ease of surpassing opacity, the administrative procedures and responsibilities for marketing, servicing, upgrading, and billing for Bell South’s 911 system. A dense thicket of acronyms, the docu<i></i>ment was filled with passages like: “In accordance with the basic SSC/MAC strategy for provisioning, the SSC/MAC will be Overall Control Office (OCO) for all Notes to PSAP circuits (official services) and any other services for this customer. Training must be scheduled for all SSC/MAC involved personnel during the pre-service stage of the project.” And other such. To read the whole thing straight through without entering coma requires either a machine or a human who has too much practice thinking like one. Anyone who can understand it fully and fluidly has altered his conscience beyond the ability to ever again read Blake, Whitman, or Tolstoy. Since the docu<i></i>ment contains little of interest to anyone who is not a student of advanced organizational sclerosis…that is, no access codes, trade secrets, or proprietary information…the Prophet probably copied this file as a kind of hunting trophy. He had been to the heart of the forest and had returned with this coonskin to nail to the barn door. Furthermore, he was proud of his accomplishment, and since such trophies are infinitely replicable, he wasn’t content to nail it to his door alone. Among the places he copied it was a UNIX bulletin board in Lockport, Illinois called Jolnet. It was downloaded from there by a 20 year old hacker and pre-law student who called himself Knight Lightning. Though not a member of the Legion of Doom, Knight Lightning published this docu<i></i>ment in his fraternity house at the University of Missouri and in a worldwide hacker’s magazine called Phrack. Phrack was an unusual publication in that it was entirely virtual. The only time its articles hit paper was when one of its subscribers decided to print out a hard copy. Otherwise, its editions existed in cyberspace and took no physical form. When Knight Lightning got hold of the Bell South docu<i></i>ment, he thought it would amuse his readers and reproduced it in the next issue of Phrack. He had little reason to think that he was doing something illegal. There is nothing in it to indicate that it contains something proprietary or even sensitive information. Indeed, it closely resembles Telco reference docu<i></i>ments which have long been publicly available. However, Rich Andrews, the systems operator who oversaw the operation of Jolnet, thought there might be something funny about the docu<i></i>ment when he first ran across it in his system. To be on the safe side, he forwarded a copy of it to AT&T officials. He was subsequently contacted by the authorities, and he cooperated with them fully. He would regret that later. On the basis of the forgoing, a Grand Jury in Lockport was persuaded by the Secret Service in early February to hand down a seven count indictment against The Prophet and Knight Lightning, charging them, among other things, with interstate transfer of stolen property worth more than $5,000. When The Prophet and two of his Georgia colleagues were arrested on February 7, 1990, the Atlanta papers reported they faced 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine. Knight Lightning was arrested on February 15. The property in question was the affore-mentioned blot on the history of prose, whose full title was a Bell South Standard Practice (BSP) 660-225-104SV-control office administration of enhanced 911 services for special services and major account centers, March, 1988. And not only was this item worth more than $5,000.00, it was worth, according to the indictment and Bell South, precisely $79,449.00. And not a penny less. We will probably never know how this figure was reached or by whom, though you can imagine an appraisal team consisting of Franz Kafka, Joseph Heller, and Thomas Pynchon… In addition to charging Knight Lightning with crimes for which he could go to jail for 30 years and be fined $122,000.00, they seized his publication, Phrack, along with all related equipment, software and data, including his list of subscribers, many of whom would soon lose their computers and data for the crime of appearing on it. When Emmanuel Goldstein, the editor of 2600, another hacker publication which has been known to publish purloined docu<i></i>ments. If they could shut down Phrack, couldn’t they as easily shut down 2600? He said, “I’ve got one advantage. I come out on paper and the constitution knows how to deal with paper.” In fact, nearly all publications are now electronic at some point in their creation. In a modern newspaper, stories written at the scene are typed to screens and then sent by modem to a central computer. This computer composes the layout in electronic type and the entire product transmitted electronically to the presses. There, finally, the bytes become ink. Phrack merely omitted the last step in a long line of virtual events. However, that omission, and its insignificant circulation, left it vulnerable to seizure based on content. If the 911 docu<i></i>ment had been the Pentagon Papers (another proprietary docu<i></i>ment) and Phrack the New York Times, a completion of the analogy would have seen the government stopping publication of the Times and seizing its every material possession, from notepads to presses. Not that anyone in the newspaper business seemed particularly worried about such implications. They and the rest of the media who bothered to report Knight Lightning’s arrest were too obsessed by what they portrayed as actual disruptions of emergency service and with marveling at the sociopathy of it. One report expressed relief that no one appeared to have died as a result of the “intrusions.” Meanwhile, in Baltimore, the 911 dragnet snared Leonard Rose, aka Terminus. A professional computer consultant who specialized in UNIX, Rose got a visit from the government early in February. The G-men forcibly detained his wife and children for six hours while they interrogated Rose about the 911 docu<i></i>ment and ransacked his system. Rose had no knowledge of the 911 matter. Indeed, his only connection had been occasional contact with Knight Lightning over several years… and admitted membership in the Legion of Doom. However, when searching his hard disks for 911 evidence, they found something else. Like many UNIX consultants, Rose did have some UNIX source code in his possession. Furthermore, there was evidence that he had transmitted some of it to Jolnet and left it there for another consultant. UNIX is a ubiquitous operating system, and though its main virtue is its openness to amendment at the source level, it is nevertheless the property of AT&T. What had been widely distributed within businesses and universities for years was suddenly, in Rose’s hands, a felonious possession. Finally, the Secret Service rewarded the good citizenship of Rich Andrews by confiscating the computer where Jolnet had dwelt, along with all the e-mail, read and un-read, which his subscribers had left there. Like many others whose equipment and data were taken by the Secret Service subsequently, he wasn’t charged with anything. They had already inflicted on him the worst punishment a nerd can suffer: data death. Andrews was baffled. “I’m the one that found it, I’m the one that turned it in…And I’m the one that’s suffering,” he said. It seems that association with stolen data is all the guilt you need. Quite as if the government could seize your house simply because a guest left a stolen VCR in an upstairs bedroom closet. Or confiscate all the mail in a post office upon finding a stolen package there. The first concept of modern jurisprudence to have arrived in Cyberspace seems to have been Zero Tolerance.
C. Causes
1. One would ask their selves, “Why is this type of treatment of hackers occurring?”
2. Well, there are several theories as to why this is occurring.
3. One has to do with the opening of Cyberspace. As a result of this development, humanity is now undergoing the most profound transformation of its history. Coming into the Virtual World, we inhabit Information. Indeed, we become Information. Thought is embodied and the Flesh is made word. Beginning with the invention of the telegraph and extending through television into Virtual Reality, we have been, for over a century, experiencing terrifying erosion in our sense of both body and place. As we begin to realize the enormity of what is happening to us, all but the most courageous have gotten scared. And everyone, regardless of his psychic resilience, feels this overwhelming sense of strangeness. The world, once so certain and tangible and legally precise, has become an infinite layering of opinions, perceptions, litigation, camera-angles, data, white noise, and, most of all, ambiguities. Indeed, if one were a little jumpy to start with, he may now be fairly humming with nameless dread. Since no one like his dread to be nameless, the first order of business is to find it some names. For a long time here in the US, communism provided a kind of catch-all bogeyman. Marx, Stalin and Mao summoned forth such a specter that, too many Americans, annihilation of all life was preferable to the human portion’s becoming communist. But as Big Red wizened and lost his teeth, we began to cast about for a replacement. Finding none of sufficient individual horror, we have draped a number of objects with the old black bunting which once shrouded the Kremlin. Our current spooks are terrorists, pornographers, drug traffickers, and hackers. And now I come to the point of this screed: The perfect bogeyman for Modern Times is the Cyberpunk! He is so smart he makes you feel even more stupid than you usually do. He knows this complex country in which you’re perpetually lost. He understands the value of things you can’t conceptualize long enough to cash in on. He is the one-eyed man in the country of the Blind. In a world where you and your wealth consist of nothing but beeps and boops of micro-voltage, he can steal all your assets in nanoseconds and then make you disappear. He can even reach back out of his haunted mists and kill you physically. Among the justifications for Operation Sun Devil was this chilling tidbit: “Hackers had the ability to access and review the files of hospital patients. Furthermore, they could have added, deleted, or altered vital patient information, possibly causing life- threatening situations.” Perhaps the most frightening thing about the Cyberpunk is the danger he presents to The Institution, whether corporate or governmental. If you are frightened you have almost certainly taken shelter by now in one of these collective organisms, so the very last thing you want is something which can endanger your heretofore unassailable hive. And make no mistake; Hackers will become to bureaucratic bodies what viruses presently are to human bodies. Thus, Operation Sun Devil can be seen as the first of many waves of organizational immune response to this new antigen.
D. Solutions
1. Of course we always could continue dealing with this problem with a zero tolerance approach. Ignoring the civil liberties of all computer hackers.
2. Or, we can educate those who lack the knowledge to make sensible decisions when it comes to the Cyber world.
E. My Solution
1. I think that herein lays the way of what might otherwise become an Armageddon between the control freaks and the new-hip. Those who are comfortable with these disorienting changes in our world must do everything in our power to convey that comfort to others. In other words, we must share our sense of hope and opportunity with those who feel that in Cyberspace they will be obsolete. It’s a tall order. But, my silicon brothers, our self-interest is strong. If we come on as witches, they will burn us. But if we volunteer to guide them gently into its new lands, the Virtual World might be a more amiable place for all of us than this one has been.
2. Defining the conceptual and legal map of Cyberspace before the ambiguophobes do it for us (with punitive over-precision) is going to require some effort. We can’t expect the Constitution to take care of itself. Indeed, the precedent for mitigating the constitutional protection of a new medium has already been established. Consider what happened to the radio in the early part of the last century. Under the pretext of allocating limited bandwidth, the government established an early right of censorship over broadcast content which still seems directly unconstitutional to me. Except that it stuck. And now, owing to a large body of case law, looks to go on sticking. New media, like any chaotic system, are highly sensitive to initial conditions. Today’s answers of the moment become tomorrow’s permanent institutions of both law and expectation. Thus, they bear examination with the destiny in mind. There are a number of tough questions that have been presented before us such as: “What is data and what is free speech?” or “How does one treat property which has no physical form and can be infinitely reproduced?” or “Is a computer the same thing as a printing press.” The events of Operation Sun Devil and many other operations that followed were nothing less than an effort to provide answers to these questions. Answers which would greatly enhance governmental ability to silence the future’s opinionated nerds. In over-reaching as extravagantly as they did, the Secret Service may actually have done a service for those of us who love liberty. They have provided us with a devil. And devils, among their other galvanizing virtues, are just great for clarifying the issues and putting iron in your spine. In the presence of a devil, it’s always easier to figure out where you stand.

F. Benefits of my solution
1. I would like to recite a great quote from Martin Neimoeller: “In Germany they came first for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. They came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
2. Everyone will not agree with my viewpoint of computer hackers. Hackers are, after all, generally beyond public sympathy. Actions on their behalf are not going to be popular no matter who else might benefit from them in the long run.
3. But if we don’t support the rights of computer hackers then who will the government go after next. Once you take down one organization, a Pandora’s Box will be opened up to take down others.
So the next time you hear in the media that the government has taken down a group of “terrorist” hackers for the good of the nation, be skeptical. Remember that in the past the Secret Service has exercised prior restraint on publications, limited free speech, conducted improper seizure of equipment and data, used undue force, and generally conducted itself in a fashion which is arbitrary, oppressive, and unconstitutional. It will take some time, but in 30 to 40 years, we are all going to look back on how we treated hackers and we will all shake our heads in shame.

Web sites:
file://G:\\Computer and internet lawyer.htm

“Cyber-Crime”; The CQ Researcher. Published by Congressional Quarterly Inc. April 12, 2002 Volume 12, no. 14 Pages 305-328.

Spotlight section of CPU Magazine. Pages 48-61. Sandhills Publishing Company. October 2002.


Nubzzzon February 24 2006 - 01:13:07
O...M...F...G... YOU ARE A GOD AMONG HACKERS! *bows* your article rocks soooooo hard core.
godon February 24 2006 - 14:07:15
god? lol nice article btw Grin havenrt read it all though Shock
BluMooseon February 27 2006 - 19:06:30
Haha yehr I only got halfway, but great article Grin Only thing, why are there Italics marks halfway throught the word document all through the article?
hackerWoFon April 02 2006 - 04:31:33
This is great shit man great. I love it.
Dark Dragonon May 17 2006 - 02:14:14
The golden age ended at my birth...Sad i hate the idea that hacking is "illegal" imo, All forms of hacking should be legal DoS, DDoS, Rooting... it should be knowledge vs. knowledge, if this is the way it is all of computer knowledge would have advanced thousands of years by now ... sigh
thegrmreaperon September 08 2006 - 01:35:37
good article
Deviance_13on October 25 2006 - 19:52:28 euhm... Shock
bardonicuson January 02 2007 - 22:41:33
Good stuff man, whats up with all the ’t in your text? Other then that it realy was a great read. Keep it up. Grin
Dr4g0nsh0ton November 15 2007 - 13:12:09
Its the char encoding is fuxz0red ;D
zombieslothon January 02 2011 - 13:47:45
Post Comment


You must have completed the challenge Basic 1 and have 100 points or more, to be able to post.