[ News ] [ Paper Feed ] [ Issues ] [ Authors ] [ Archives ] [ Contact ]


..[ Phrack Magazine ]..
.:: Phrack World News Special Edition IV (CyberView 91) ::.

Issues: [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ] [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ 8 ] [ 9 ] [ 10 ] [ 11 ] [ 12 ] [ 13 ] [ 14 ] [ 15 ] [ 16 ] [ 17 ] [ 18 ] [ 19 ] [ 20 ] [ 21 ] [ 22 ] [ 23 ] [ 24 ] [ 25 ] [ 26 ] [ 27 ] [ 28 ] [ 29 ] [ 30 ] [ 31 ] [ 32 ] [ 33 ] [ 34 ] [ 35 ] [ 36 ] [ 37 ] [ 38 ] [ 39 ] [ 40 ] [ 41 ] [ 42 ] [ 43 ] [ 44 ] [ 45 ] [ 46 ] [ 47 ] [ 48 ] [ 49 ] [ 50 ] [ 51 ] [ 52 ] [ 53 ] [ 54 ] [ 55 ] [ 56 ] [ 57 ] [ 58 ] [ 59 ] [ 60 ] [ 61 ] [ 62 ] [ 63 ] [ 64 ] [ 65 ] [ 66 ] [ 67 ] [ 68 ] [ 69 ]
Current issue : #33 | Release date : 1991-09-15 | Editor : Dispater
Introduction to Phrack 33Dispater & Knight Lightning
Phrack Profile of Shooting SharkCrimson Death & Shooting Shark
A Hacker's Guide to the InternetThe Gatsby
FEDIX On-Line Information ServiceFedix Upix
LATA Referance ListInfinite Loop
International Toll Free Code ListThe Trunk Terminator
Phreaking in GermanyNinja Master
TCP/IP: A Tutorial Part 1 of 2The Not
A REAL Functioning RED BOX SchematicJ.R. "Bob" Dobbs
Phrack World News Special Edition IV (CyberView 91)Bruce Sterling
PWN/Part01Crimson Death
PWN/Part02Dispater
PWN/Part03Dispater
Title : Phrack World News Special Edition IV (CyberView 91)
Author : Bruce Sterling
                                ==Phrack Inc.==

                Volume Three, Issue Thirty-Three, File 10 of 13

           PWN ^*^ PWN ^*^ PWN { CyberView '91 } PWN ^*^ PWN ^*^ PWN
           ^*^                                                   ^*^
           PWN         P h r a c k   W o r l d   N e w s         PWN
           ^*^         ~~~~~~~~~~~   ~~~~~~~~~   ~~~~~~~         ^*^
           PWN            Special Edition Issue Four             PWN
           ^*^                                                   ^*^
           PWN      "The Hackers Who Came In From The Cold"      PWN
           ^*^                                                   ^*^
           PWN                 June 21-23, 1991                  PWN
           ^*^                                                   ^*^
           PWN             Written by Bruce Sterling             PWN
           ^*^                                                   ^*^
           PWN ^*^ PWN ^*^ PWN { CyberView '91 } PWN ^*^ PWN ^*^ PWN


                     The Hackers Who Came In From The Cold
                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     "Millionaries and vandals met at the computer-underground convention
         to discuss free information.  What they found was free love."

                  by Bruce Sterling : bruces @ well.sf.ca.us

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

**  A slightly shorter version of this article appears in Details Magazine
    (October 1991, pages 94-97, 134).  The Details article includes photographs
    of Knight Lightning, Erik Bloodaxe, Mitch Kapor, and Doc Holiday.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

     They called it "CyberView '91."  Actually, it was another "SummerCon" --
the traditional summer gathering of the American hacker underground.  The
organizer, 21 year old "Knight Lightning," had recently beaten a Computer Fraud
and Abuse rap that might have put him in jail for thirty years.  A little
discretion seemed in order.

     The convention hotel, a seedy but accommodating motor-inn outside the
airport in St Louis, had hosted SummerCons before.  Changing the name had been
a good idea.  If the staff were alert, and actually recognized that these were
the same kids back again, things might get hairy.

     The SummerCon '88 hotel was definitely out of bounds.  The US Secret
Service had set up shop in an informant's room that year, and videotaped the
drunken antics of the now globally notorious "Legion of Doom" through a one-way
mirror.  The running of SummerCon '88 had constituted a major count of criminal
conspiracy against young Knight Lightning, during his 1990 federal trial.

     That hotel inspired sour memories.  Besides, people already got plenty
nervous playing "hunt the fed" at SummerCon gigs.  SummerCons generally
featured at least one active federal informant.  Hackers and phone phreaks
like to talk a lot.  They talk about phones and computers -- and about each
other.

     For insiders, the world of computer hacking is a lot like Mexico.  There's
no middle class.  There's a million little kids screwing around with their
modems, trying to snitch long-distance phone-codes, trying to swipe pirated
software -- the "kodez kidz" and "warez doodz."  They're peons, "rodents."
Then there's a few earnest wannabes, up-and-comers, pupils.  Not many.  Less of
'em every year, lately.

     And then there's the heavy dudes.  The players.  The Legion of Doom are
definitely heavy.  Germany's Chaos Computer Club are very heavy, and already
back out on parole after their dire flirtation with the KGB.  The Masters of
Destruction in New York are a pain in the ass to their rivals in the
underground, but ya gotta admit they are heavy.  MoD's "Phiber Optik" has
almost completed his public-service sentence, too...  "Phoenix" and his crowd
down in Australia used to be heavy, but nobody's heard much out of "Nom" and
"Electron" since the Australian heat came down on them.

     The people in Holland are very active, but somehow the Dutch hackers don't
quite qualify as "heavy."  Probably because computer-hacking is legal in
Holland, and therefore nobody ever gets busted for it.  The Dutch lack the
proper bad attitude, somehow.

     America's answer to the Dutch menace began arriving in a steady confusion
of airport shuttle buses and college-kid decaying junkers.  A software pirate,
one of the more prosperous attendees, flaunted a radar-detecting black
muscle-car.  In some dim era before the jet age, this section of St Louis had
been a mellow, fertile Samuel Clemens landscape.  Waist-high summer weeds still
flourished beside the four-lane highway and the airport feeder roads.

       The graceless CyberView hotel had been slammed down onto this landscape
as if dropped from a B-52.  A small office-tower loomed in one corner beside a
large parking garage.  The rest was a rambling mess of long, narrow, dimly lit
corridors, with a small swimming pool, a glass-fronted souvenir shop and a
cheerless dining room.  The hotel was clean enough, and the staff, despite
provocation, proved adept at minding their own business.  For their part, the
hackers seemed quite fond of the place.

     The term "hacker" has had a spotted history.  Real "hackers," traditional
"hackers," like to write software programs.  They like to "grind code,"
plunging into its densest abstractions until the world outside the computer
terminal bleaches away.  Hackers tend to be portly white techies with thick
fuzzy beards who talk entirely in jargon, stare into space a lot, and laugh
briefly for no apparent reason.  The CyberView crowd, though they call
themselves "hackers," are better identified as computer intruders.  They don't
look, talk or act like 60s M.I.T.-style hackers.

     Computer intruders of the 90s aren't stone pocket-protector techies.
They're young white suburban males, and look harmless enough, but sneaky.
They're much the kind of kid you might find skinny-dipping at 2AM in a backyard
sub