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Current issue : #36 | Release date : 1992-12-31 | Editor : Dispater
Introduction to Diet Phrack 36Dr. Dude & Compaq Disk
Diet Phrack LoopbackPhrack Staff
In Living ComputerKnight Lightning
The History ah MODWing Ding
*ELITE* AccessLord Digital & Dead Lord
The Legion of Doom & The Occultunknown
Searching for speciAl acceSs agentSDr. Dude
Phreaks in Verse IIHomey the Hacker
Real CyberpunksThe Men from Mongo
Elite World NewsDr. Dude
Elite World NewsDr. Dude
Title : *ELITE* Access
Author : Lord Digital & Dead Lord
                                ==Diet Phrack==

                 Volume Three, Issue Thirty-Six, File 5 of 11

                                *Elite* Access!
                      A Tutorial On Being An Elite Hacker

                         By Dead Lord and Lord Digital

                               Lords Anonymous!

                              September 25, 1986
                              Revised May 2, 1988
                         Revised Again August 20, 1991


PROLOGUE
========
For reporters, brain dead media types, or anyone else reading this who has been
blessed with a room temperature IQ and faulty observational abilities; "Elite"
as it's applied to the "underground" community, is a phrase that theoretically
denotes the top 2-5% of the hacking and phreaking community and its rather
peculiar hierarchy.  Realistically it denotes the 2-5% that spend the greatest
amount of time polishing up their image on boards instead of doing what they're
presumably good at (hacking).

This article is designed to allow you (yes YOU the junior G-man; would be
Secret Service agent; publicity whore; over-eager journalist, or just bored
modem owner and future potential ELITE) access to almost anything you might
wish to call; in addition to providing you with the knowledge necessary to
impress other ELITE's with your learned brilliance.


CONTENT
=======
A tutorial for all the people too dense to figure out the quirks of human
nature all by themselves, who also have some inane desire to have access to
ELITE boards, containing ELITE information and ELITE users, along with ELITE
wares, 42 seconds after they are cracked by ELITE crackers.  Not to mention
ELITE dial-ups to ELITE companies, which will work for approximately 15 minutes
before some idiot logs in and does something to fuck them up.

I'm writing it because I am bored of doing all this by myself, with only a
handful of peers to accompany me.  Not that I expect to gain "peers" from
people that need help from this text file, but I imagine it'll give ELITE
Sysops something else to do with their time.  I also hope to save you 2-5 years
of time.  2-5 years is the average lifespan of an ELITE person, before he gets
a life and comes to the understanding that he just wasted 2-5 years.

Please don't misunderstand me when I say 2-5 years, there are many people who
have been ELITE for almost 10 years and are still going strong.  I wouldn't
want to step on any ego's, or ruin anyone's life work, now would I...


BOARDS
======
ELITE boards exist because the people who populate them, believe themselves to
be superior to the people populating all the other boards.  Most people don't
agree with them, but they agree with each other.  100-200 people being
sufficient to set up their own personal version of the world, they gather
together on these ELITE boards and do ELITE things like post new wares, engage
in "rag wars" and type things up out of manuals at each other.


SYSOPS
======
Seeing how you're trying to get access to an ELITE board, you should have a
basic understand of who the Sysop is, and why he's running the board.  This
part is easy, in over 95% of all cases, the Sysop is a egotistical fool, who is
willing to give up the use of his computer, or computers, in exchange for the
privilege of playing GOD with the hopeless sots who log in.

This is especially the case on all manner of ELITE boards that request a "real"
telephone number, voice validation, and the donation of your first born male
child for even higher access.  All under the guise of "security."  Requesting a
"real" voice number, or even name, is nothing that unusual.  Almost all
"mainstream" non-Pirate and non-Phreak systems require it.

Of course there is nothing stopping you from leaving them Anal Annie's phone
sex service as your home number, and picking a random name.  That will usually
be the end of that. The only time the Sysop will ever check into your
information will be if you happen to become a "rodent" and annoy him and/or the
users of his BBS, in which case he'll engage you in a 20 letter conversation,
each one giving a really sincere and heartening reason why you would feel so
much better if you gave him your phone number, and why he just HAS to have it
for reasons you wouldn't understand, because ALL Sysops MUST keep track of who
uses their systems, don't ya know?

This file won't cover "normal" Sysops, because if you aren't capable of
bullshitting THEM, then you're hopeless and may as well find a new hobby.  Like
gardening is pretty exciting I hear, fer instance...


"VOICE" NUMBERS
===============
The truth is there is no reason on earth, why a Sysop should EVER need your
voice number, or any information on you at all.  Naturally he'll WANT it,
because being the kind of person who runs a BBS in the first place, he's a nosy
and prying kind of guy that want's to know everything about you.  For reasons
of "board security" of course.

Let me tell you about board security; it doesn't exist!  When a
system is "secure" all that means is that the Sysop has lulled himself into a
false sense of safety that bears little relation to the actual state of his
board.  But that's beside the point.  The point being that you DON'T want to
hear from the Sysop; EVER.

One of the reasons they give for "needing" your voice number is

     "Well "Well if there's ever something wrong with the bbs, I need to
     be able to let you know, or ask you what commands you used if you
     were the last user before it crashed."

Isn't that nice...  How many Sysop's notify their users when their board goes
down for repairs?  NOT ONE.  As for problems, well what do I care?  The last
thing I want is Melvin Sysop calling me up when I'm watching Miami Vice and
trying to have a 5 hour conversation with me because he has nothing else to do
with his time.  Or better still, having my phone number embedded in his
software when the Secret Service busts down his door because he carded 50 hard
drives to his home address.

I know many Sysops, some of them are even my friends.  These are the kinds of
things Sysops do with their userlists.  Of course ALL of them will CLAIM that
other Sysops might do that, but THEY never would, God no, not them!


FAVORITE SYSOP USES FOR USERS' TELEPHONE NUMBERS
================================================

     I.  When any "new ware" is released (and he happens to be a Pirate kind of
         guy), Sysops go through every name on the userlist, call them up and
         ask for the new ware.  If you don't have the new ware, or just say you
         don't in the hopes that he will fuck off, he will then proceed to bug
         the hell out of you by asking for 50 other wares that he just has to
         have.

    II.  If he's an ELITE PHREAK kinda guy and some national emergency takes
         place such as his favorite 800 dying on him; he does the same thing as
         the Pirate type Sysop and calls everyone on the userlist begging for
         800's, "any cool info", and pw's to CIS.

   III.  More so with Phreaks than Pirates, but somewhat true for all of them:
         The Sysop want's an update on some latest tidbit of hot gossip that he
         will just die if he doesn't find out.  He will then try to have
         another 5 hour conversation with you about whatever drivel he called
         you up to discuss.

    IV.  Some people trade baseball cards, some people trade comics, some
         people trade phone numbers.  Sysops LOVE to trade phone numbers,
         especially those of "influential" users.  I don't know why, they
         usually lack the balls to even call them beyond the customary dial,
         wait for some person's voice, then slam the phone down and go jerk off
         because all that excitement gave them a hard-on.  This is very much to
         your benefit as I'll explain a little further down.

     V.  And worst of all, there is the "lonely Sysop", the guy who will call
         you every "day" at 2 in the morning and try to have an engaging
         conversation about whatever happened in his "life" that day.

There are many other things Sysops do with your number, but as far as I'm
concerned, those were the worst.  OK, I'm going on and on about why a Sysop has
no need for your number, and how he'll annoy you to death if he ever gets it,
so YOU know that now, but what do you do about it?


GETTING VALIDATED
=================
There is no big trick to being validated.  In almost every case, the Sysop
asking for a voice number, is just his usual hoopla and he'll never bother to
check out anything you give him that passes as "information."  If you leave a
reasonably intelligent copy of feedback, kiss his ass in a sublime kind of way,
and in general explain to him why having you on his bbs will make his life much
better than it is now; you'll be validated with normal access.

Uploading new wares or files, posting messages, and drivel along those lines,
will get your access raised.  You can also bullshit for higher access, but I'm
assuming YOU don't know how, which is why you're reading this file to begin
with.  BULLSHITTING is an artform and I have neither the time or patience to
type up a file on it, so I'm doing this instead.


EXAMPLE PIRATE BOARD FEEDBACK
=============================

Hello,
    I'm the Masked Avocado.  I just
got your bbs #, from an advertisement
that was posted on Capital Connection.
  I liked what the message had to say,
so I called to check your board out.
    I can contribute newsoftware,
programming help, and anything that mi
ght help to enhance your bbs.
I also distribute for Coast to Coast
and Digital Gang.  My latest wares
include: MultiScribe //gs 2.1.2.4
 HiggyBBS 6.2 Deluxe Paint Print
Plus 2.1
By the way, my first name is Melvin,
I'm 13^H^H19, and my system is made
up of an enhanced //e, 212 applecat,
 3.5 drive and a bunch of
peripherals.  Thanks for your time,
Melvin

     Let's examine that and highlight a few points.

     I.  ALWAYS use decimal points when describing new wares.  Copy ][+ has a
         revision every 2 weeks that does nothing except update the parm files.
         NEW WARES! have constant updates and "Pirates" are always on the
         lookout to increase the decimal point revision of their software.
         Even if it does NOTHING different EXCEPT change the decimal point.

         Aside from the fact that feedback is just bullshit to get you
         validated, you can very easily get a sector editor up and change a few
         decimal points yourself.

    II.  ALWAYS say you got his BBS number from some established ELITE board,
         in the case of Pirates, Capital Connection is always a good bet.  In
         reality it's quite a lame board, but other board Sysops seem to feel
         otherwise, and besides instantly impressing the Sysop of the board
         you're logging into (by being a member of CapCon), he will also get a
         kick out of it that some idiot posted his board on the CapCon "BBS
         Ads" section.

[Please note that "Capital Connection" was valid at this file's original incept
date.  The average Pirate board having a lifespan of 6 months at best; Capital
Connection no longer exists.  The current Elite Pirate board of the next 6
months, is "Trade Center."]

   III.  Among your list of "new wares" you can always list some BBS program,
         because every week some dork writes a new program, that is lousy,
         never works right, and if ever faced with "put up or shut up" you can
         change around any one of 50 different BBS programs, and upload it as
         the NEW WARE!

[Same with software as with boards -- it doesn't stay new very long.  I can't
help you here because I haven't the slightest idea what's new in Apple
software.  However, all you need to do is invest 3 bucks in the latest issue
of whatever magazine pertains to your particular computer, and list off some
of the software you see advertised.]

    IV.  Always say you distribute for some random collection of new wares
         groups.  Nobody can prove that you don't (logging into one cat-fur and
         uploading the wares you found on it, to another cat-fur, is
         distributing) and it will make the Sysop think that you'll be
         uploading 20 sided GS wares to his board every day.

[As you may have guessed, new wares groups also come and go.  Digital Gang
still exists, as do a slew of new groups; if you don't know of any, a safe bet
is making up a name and saying that you're based somewhere in Europe.  Europe
being the fabled birthplace of all the best new Atari and Amiga software in
particular.]

     V.  Always list "your" first name and age.  Make up an age that is over 16
         so they won't discriminate against you.  If you're under 16 and admit
         it in your feedback, you'll be instantly labeled an idiot.

    VI.  Always list some of your hardware.  Don't ask me why, it's just
         another item in the agenda of things that Sysops like to pry into.  If
         you give them this information without them asking for it, it makes
         them feel better.

   VII.  Always end the message with a "thanks for your time."  Remember, he's
         an egotistical fool, and that one line makes him think you respect
         him, want to do things for him, and would be genuinely happy to be a
         member of his AWESOME board.

  VIII.  ALWAYS sign it with "your" first name, this keeps the tone informal,
         and makes you seem like a less threatening type of guy.


GENERAL TIPS
============
Remember that many Pirate boards have a "VOTE ON NEW USERS" feature, so
don't say anything that you wouldn't want the entire world to read.  If you
follow those basic guidelines, you'll ALWAYS get validated if the rest of your
information is right.  The rest being your phone number if the Sysop actually
calls new users.

Some of you are saying to yourselves: Yeah, but if you just listed all of this,
won't Sysops be on the lookout for this kind of feedback?  Yeah, but then who
are they going to validate?  "Obvious" rodents?  No, if they want new users
then they'll be more than happy to accept you.


EXAMPLE PHREAK BOARD FEEDBACK
=============================

Greetings,
     I'm Tesla Coil of The Crossbar Rapists (TC of TCR).  I was told by a
user of Metal Shop Private (MSP), that your bbs was worth looking into. I've
been published in TAP, 2600, and Uncle Mel's Phone Times.  My handle was listed
in issue 12 of Security Systems of Greater Podunk (SSoGP) as a "Computer genius
breaks into Podunk's Private Database!" I've been hacking since 1981, I was a
member of Sherwood Forest, Securityland, The AT&T Phone Center, OSUNY, OSUNY
when it went back up, WOPR, LOD the BBS, Cryton, COSMOS, Metal Shop Private,
and OSUNY when it came back for yet another go at it.  I had to change my
handle for reasons of security when I was taken out by the feds in the 1983 414
busts.

     I'm an expert with Unix, RSTS, Primos, and HiggyOS.  I can program in C,
D, E, and F, Fortran 77 and 78, Basic for the Cyber, IBM, MAC, Amiga, ST, and
Apple II.  I also know assembly for the 6502, 8088, 68020, Z-80a, and TIMEX.  I
have an Apple //e, IBM AT, Mac+, and Kim-A1.

     After entering college last year, my time was seriously limited.  But
after getting some additional free time, I've decided to restart my hobby of
hacking and exploring the phone system.  My current interest centers around the
understanding of the myriad functions associated with CLID.

       People who can recommend me include (Pick 4 or 5 names of people who
aren't really ELITE, but not unknown to current ELITE Sysops either).  If you
can't think of them, pick up any issue of PHRACK and take a few out of there.
The reason you want "not really ELITE" people, is because they won't command
too much attention.  You DON'T WANT excess attention, saying that some dork who
writes for Phrack recommends you, is less noticeable than saying some "real"
ELITE recommends you.  Why say ANYONE recommends you, if it's so much trouble?
Because it somehow flips a switch in the Sysop's mind, which makes him think
that you must be an OK dude, if so and so recommends you.  Nine out of ten
times he won't check.  The one time he does check, the person he's bothering
will usually say "yeah yeah, go away I'm doing something" and that'll be the
end of it).

[Please note that by "real elite" I don't mean anyone who is better, rather I
mean someone who has spent tremendous amounts of time generating exposure for
his handle.]

     Thanks for you time, Tesla Coil/The Crossbar Rapists

    Let's examine this one too.

     I.  As you can see we've switched from 40 columns, to 80 columns complete
         with some form of spacing.  We've also gotten a little bit more-let's
         say-"readable" than in our previous Pirate feedback example.  This is
         because we're calling a different kind of system, with a different
         program than cat-fur ENHANCED 1.1!

    II.  With Phreak Sysops you don't want to get too informal, because most of
         them are busy playing SECRET AGENT MAN and if you do something normal
         like sign off with "your" first name, he'll think you're not being
         "professional."  How it is in his mind that he equates "professional"
         with calling his board:  I don't know, but trust me on this point.

   III.  In the same vein of "professionalism", you're expected to list off
         your "accomplishments".  Oddly enough, in Phreak/Hacker HIERARCHY,
         getting arrested numerous times is considered ELITE by many of it's
         peoples.  Why this is, I don't know either.  Personally, it says to me
         that the person who got arrested has the brains of an African bushman,
         but apparently, that's just my lone opinion.  Anyhow, in line with
         this PROFESSIONAL attitude you are expected to list your life's
         accomplishments in the space of 50-100 lines, in a form that will make
         you sound like the best Hacker in the world, who is so good, that
         logically he wouldn't be caught dead calling the ELITE board you're
         calling, but once again skipping the logic and getting back to the
         Sysops expectations...

    IV.  OK continuing with the thought we started... list off a bunch of
         languages, knowing them is optional, because the Sysop doesn't know
         them either.  Reading the dust jacket and index on a book covering
         any of those subjects will enable you to APPEAR to know what you're
         doing, which is all that the Sysop is doing, so don't worry about it,
         because he doesn't know vi from cd, and couldn't INFILTRATE a Unix if
         he had the root account.  If you don't want to spend $5000 stocking up
         on ELITE TECHNICAL MANUALS, go down to the library and xerox a bunch
         of index's.  Or better yet, just check out the books and never return
         them (if your library lets you check out reference manuals.  Most
         don't, but you can always rip out that little magnetic sensor in the
         card on the book and walk out with it anyway, but I digress...).

     V.  After you've done that, list a bunch of micro-specific assembly
         languages that you "know," and in general just make up things until
         you've filled up around 2 paragraphs or so.  95% of ELITE
         PHREAKING/HACKING is just posing anyway, so don't feel guilty about it
         or let it worry you too much because that's the same way 9/10th of the
         board got access.  Unless they were ELITE, which is just posing to a
         higher degree than most bother to go with.

    VI.  Remember to say WHERE YOU GOT THE NUMBER FROM!  This is because like I
         said before, most Phreaks are busy playing SECRET AGENT MAN and will
         get an ulcer and lay awake at night thinking that CABLE PAIR is
         infiltrating their board.  You know it isn't true, but the Sysop will
         wet his pants anyway, so just put his mind at rest and make up some
         place where you got the number from.  Metal Shop is always a safe bet,
         because it's the Phreak dumping ground of ELITENESS, much like CapCon
         is the Pirate's equivalent.  Be sure to use vague terms like "I was
         told by a user of..." and things of that nature that can't be readily
         verified, but still sound plausible.

[Ahem, sorry to interrupt again, but as you may have guessed, MSP is down at
this time.  MSP's new replacement is the Legion of Doom base BBS that goes by
the name of "Digital Logic."  A large percentage of the users there are under
phony handles that gained entry by exactly the type of bullshitting I'm
writing about in this article.  The remaining phony accounts got access by
threatening the Sysop with "Phreak retaliation" and having him cave into
demands; which for a LOD board is about par for course.]

   VII.  Next make up your "writing credits" and "media credits".  Select a few
         random issues of random magazines that you either wrote for, or had
         your alias' mentioned in.  Make sure they're of the small circulation
         type and the issue is at least 2 years old.  Nobody will ever check or
         even have a way of checking if they wanted to.  Most people who
         "wrote" things just rephrased tech manuals and copied the
         illustrations.  If you're ever pressured to come up with something YOU
         wrote, just do the same thing because that's what all the other ELITES
         are busy doing.  Be sure to run it through a spelling checker
         so it looks PROFESSIONAL as ELITE PHREAKS are fond of looking and
         thinking of themselves.

  VIII.  Next list off a bunch of ELITE BOARDS you've been a member of.
         Listing those that I just listed are a safe bet, because they're
         famous or as the case may be infamous, to such a degree that the Sysop
         will have heard of them.  He wouldn't have been on them, so he won't
         be able to verify that either.  The reason he wouldn't have been on
         them, is because he hasn't been ELITE longer than 2 years, otherwise
         he wouldn't be running a board. If he HAS been ELITE for
         longer than two years, and IS still running a board, then he's an
         idiot and you can safely assume that he wouldn't have been on them
         anyway.  Not that being an idiot disqualifies anyone from being a
         member of anything, but APPEARING to be an idiot will do that.  COSMOS
         is ALWAYS a great bet, because it just sounds so PHONESY!  Plus there
         have been half a dozen COSMOS' in the last year alone, so he won't
         know which one, even if none of them have ever been FAMOUS!

    IX.  If you're such a swell guy, and have been around so long, he might
         wonder what you've been doing with yourself for the last 6 months.  SO
         So just make up some half-witted excuse like the one I listed.  Then
         include something about your current "interests."  All you need to
         remember about that is include "CLID" (Calling Line ID), "BLV" (Busy
         Line Verify), or any other semi-interesting acronym out of a USO
         coding manual.  Obviously you don't need to know anything about it
         beyond the fact that such an acronym actually exists and you know
         about its existence.  If questioned further, just bring down the
         "veil of secrecy" and become mysterious and evasive about it.  This
         will instantly go great lengths towards improving your status on a
         board.

     X.  References have been covered in the parenthesis in the feedback
         itself, so I hope I don't need to get into it again here.

    XI.  ELITE Phreak/Hacker boards also expect "freebies" from you the
         potential user, to the Sysop.  Both as a "test" of your "skill" and as
         a kind of ass kissing.  Freebies can include COSMOS PW'S! which are
         easy, because there are like 10 of them which people have been listing
         for the last 5 years, which haven't worked for 4 1/2 years, but people
         still list them.  Which makes me conclude that people never use them,
         they just write them down and repost them every 6 months.  Or CIS
         accounts, or some good 800's or anything of "value".  You don't really
         need to include any of this, but if you can it makes you look better.
         NEVER, EVER give the Sysop ANYTHING of any value that you might want
         to use in the future, because if it's of any worth he will immediately
         do something stupid to make it stop working.  That you can COUNT ON!

   XII.  Close it up with the usual "Thanks for your time", but sign it with
         your full handle, followed by group.  PROFESSIONAL!  [Giggle]
         <STOP THAT!  I'M SERIOUS NOW!>  <slap>


GENERAL TIPS
============
Ok, now that I've got you psyched at how easy it is, here is the bad news.  The
bad news is like this:  In order to be an ELITE Pirate, you don't have to know
ANYTHING, PERIOD, AT ALL, EVER.  All you need to be able to do is operate your
copy of cat-fur with reasonable dexterity and spend 2-5 hours of each day
calling things and uploading NEW WARES.  If you can program, so much the better
because then it's easier to join the ELITEST ELITE of piracy (the Crackers).
Now I know you're thinking it's stupid to have ELITE people who aren't good at
anything, but I never claimed the world was a sensible place.

With PHREAKING (let me just say that when I say PHREAKING I also mean to
include HACKING) you are expected to APPEAR to know how things work.  Now that
is a little tricky.  It's tricky because ELITE boards like to have FILTERS.  A
kind of "front door/quiz" combination.  The trouble with that is, that the
Sysop doesn't really know what he's doing either and will take the questions
out of an ELITE FILE.  The problem is that the ELITE FILE might not have been
accurate, so even if you know the answer, you might not know the answer that
the Sysop is expecting, and as far as the Sysop is concerned is the "RIGHT"
answer.  This means that you had better stop laughing at those stupid files and
deleting them, because if you want to get access someplace, you might need them
for something besides "God, is he stupid!" jokes!


HOME PHONE NUMBERS AND HOW TO DEFEAT THEM
=========================================
Ok, so now you know how to get validated, what to say and how to act.  Let me
get you past the last and only "real" hurdle to access to everything you
desire.

Voice validation is a load of crap.  It doesn't work, it never has worked and
it never will work.  But it sure makes Sysops feel good, and being the
egotistical fools that they are, they're going to make you go through this
bullshit to get access.

I would NOT suggest leaving an infinite busy as your home number.  This works
on legitimate boards, but I don't know any underground board Sysops that are
THAT stupid.


METHOD 1
========
Leave a telephone number of a random person from your "computer buddy"  phone
list.  When the Sysop calls, he'll get a human voice that will say HELLO in a
annoyed kind of tone.  Confirming the existence of a human being at the other
end of the telephone number you just gave him, the Sysop will assume no reason
to doubt you, and slam down the phone because he's not good at starting
conversations with people he's never talked to before.


METHOD 2
========
Find a kid at school who you're friends with.  Explain the general idea of
"boards" to him, tell him you need his help in breaking into some secret FBI
computer system.  All he has to do is say "yes" to the questions you're going
to write down for him, and claim to be the person on the piece of paper you're
giving him.

This is really almost ideal if your friend isn't the stupid type that stutters
and can't lie.  If he can lie and doesn't care, then you're all set or the rest
of your modem existence!


METHOD 3
========
Your other option is to leave the kid the number to a voice mailbox on which
you've put a suitably ELITE sounding outgoing message.  Note: the current craze
among the lower orders of the would-be elite is "Voice mail hacking!@!"  It's
not too hard for anyone familiar with the intricacies of dialing touch tone to
in-fil-trate! a VMB system.  And the recent media attention drawn to this
oh sooo destructive form of hacking has made it still more exciting.  However
what does this have to do with you?  Using a box which you've hacking out is a
really dumb idea, especially when you can get one in any major city for $10 to
$15 a month.  Never pay for the box in your real name, as you will be giving
this number to sysops whose BBS software will very likely end up in the hands
of law enforcement someday and you don't want end up in John Maxfield's
mega-huge list of hackers.


          YOUR NEW PERSONA -- HOLDING IT TOGETHER AND MAKING IT WORK
          ==========================================================
This is really basic.  It's so basic that almost nobody I know ever bothers to
sketch in the details and can be tripped up when you ask an offhanded question
that in theory has no significance, but in actuality causes him to say "uh,
well" and pause for a few seconds while he tries to think of something.  Only
very good bullshit artists can glibly pull it off when you "catch them off
guard" but even then they will frequently forget what they told you in the past
if you bring it up again a few days later.

What I'm talking about is the "new you" complete with name, address, telephone
number, state, zip code, street number, general weather of the area, brothers,
sisters, physical description, social security number, job, marital status,
birthday, age, education, "underground" history, etc...  In short, you are
creating an entire new person who should have a real life entirely separate
from your own.  In order to pull this off you need to think of all these things
before-hand, and if you're new at this, don't get carried away by pretending to
be 20 people all at once.  Just make up ONE concrete personality whose
existence you can justify, and then type it up, print it out, and tape it to
the wall in front of you so it's ALWAYS there, because the time when you least
expect it, is the time you're going to need it the most.

As you get better you'll find you can juggle an almost infinite number of these
alter-ego's in your head, but don't get over-confident too fast or you WILL
blow something that you're working hard at right now.


IMPERSONATING OTHER PEOPLE
==========================
Every year the "underground" community mirrors the legitimate modem world and
gets exponentially larger.  Instead of everybody knowing everyone else, there
is now a huge collection of people who don't know anything about anyone who
existed 5 years ago; last year; or even last month.  This works greatly to your
advantage because it saves you the effort of slapping together your own files.
All you need to do is log some handle into the system you wish to access;
upload a few files written by the person or persons you are about to
impersonate; wait a few days; now login the person whose identity you wish to
assume.  Quite simple.

In the past few months I have actually passed myself off as BIOC Agent 003,
Lord Digital, Lex Luthor and assorted past and present members of LOD, Apple
Bandit and various other Apple Pirates of lore, and several dozen other people.
Two years ago I could never have gotten away with this unless I was calling
some board in the middle of nowhere.  Nowadays it's possible, even easy, to
impersonate almost anyone who has ever made some kind of mark on the history of
the underground in the past; simply because the people you're going to be
dealing with were NOT around a few years ago and have no idea who any of these
people are.  When confronted with a "famous" user, they will never in their
wildest dreams assume that he's a fake; the only thing they will be thinking is
how neat it is to have him on their BBS once you let them know who he is.

You can easily make up a new character who never existed outside of your
profile of him, but this requires more work on your part when it's much
simpler to just pretend being someone else.  NONE of those people will EVER
turn up on that particular board, and even if they did you should be able to
convince the Sysop that YOU are him and he is the fake.  Amusing to say the
least.

In case you're letting some last vestiges of morality creep in, remember that
the people you're going to be impersonating are not hallowed icons.  They are
just guys who spent an inordinate amount of time building up their image to
such a degree that countless little kids think they're cool and a few misguided
-- and blessedly free of intellect -- security people, think they're dangerous.
Not to forget the fact that aside from LODdies, none of them will ever be seen
on a board again, so if you fear "Phreak retaliation;" don't worry about it.
Nobody can do anything to you if they don't know who you are.

The previous paragraph exists solely to galvanize otherwise recaltricent and
cowardly pre-teens into taking some kind of action and having fun.


SAFETY - GETTING BUSTED!
========================
People who get caught for doing something they shouldn't have been doing, are
apprehended for one of two reasons:  They are either cretins, which covers the
vast majority of those "busted," or they are not good judges of character and
spend their time associating with "friends" who do stupid things, and will drag
you down with them when they really fuck up.  Which WILL happen at some point
to most of the people who convince themselves "it's just fun."

The "underground" IS fun, but looking at it from the eyes of those whose job it
is to keep track of you, it stops being fun and you should realize that many of
the things you take for granted -- be they free calls, free software, whatever,
-- are against the law.  And if you give people the opportunity to hurt you --
ESPECIALLY when they are placed in such a position that by busting you they
increase their own status in whatever field they are employed in -- then you
are going to get hurt!

Many of you hate all the "narcs" and "sting boards" and whatever new bullshit
the people arrayed against you come up with.  You SHOULDN'T!  Cable Pair and
the rest are nothing more than the underground's personal garbage collection
agency.  Rather then thinking of them as people who are some kind of hindrance
to you, it's far more logical to think of them as glorified trash collectors;
which is about all they are.  Every so often some new sting is exposed, and the
underground is rid of a board full of annoying kids that were stupid enough to
login someplace with real names, numbers, and addresses.  Are you really going
to miss this kind of genius?

If you ALWAYS use the methods outlined in this article, then your chances of
getting caught for anything will dramatically decrease.  Who are they going to
find when every single piece of information you gave them is a lie.  None of
your modem friends can take you down with them, if they don't know who you are.
It's as simple as that.

Naturally this is more difficult than it sounds due to the fact that many of
you will want to make friends with people, and that's hard to do when
everything the other person knows about you is a lie.  At this point you just
have to use your best judgement concerning your further actions.  Personally I
find it best to associate with a small group of friends who really are
"friends" not just "computer buddies."  Because if you pick your
friends well they will never fuck you over.  Meanwhile when some kid you know
only over the phone, who lives in another state, gets caught...  He is going
to be more than happy to throw them anyone and anything he can think of just
to get off himself and that will include YOU.  The "Hacker ethic" is a nice
joke that I personally DO NOT subscribe to, and even those that pay lip service
to such a concept, will throw their ideals away pretty fast when it's their
neck on the line instead of some hallowed principle thought up by aging
hippies.

THE COMPUTER UNDERGROUND PAST AND PRESENT!
==========================================
At the time of this revision and final public release (Summer of 1991) the
modem world is nothing like it was five or ten years ago when all of this
nonsense began.  The thousand hackers of 1981 had become ten thousand by 1986
and now it's reached the point where the EFF and CuD are throwing all of this
back and forth over the InterNet and so rather than the "local l0serz"
idolizing Lex Luthor, academics all over the country are analyzing the legal
implications of Phiber Optik and Acid Phreak's case.  Well, so be it.  It's
much too late in modem time to start any sort of "elite dynasty" which even a
moron like Lex Luthor could put together in 1984.

You can't start the "Modem Wizards -- the new LOD!" but you can always latch on
to legend and write yourself into the past.  If you have any doubts about this
read the History of Communist Party of the Soviet Union from about 1923 until
1956, when each years names kept being added and taken out and things were
changed around the suit political realities and nobody said a thing.  This is a
far-fetched reference, but the theory is the same.

The Legion of Doom started out a bunch of nobodies and ended up notorious
enough that the Secret Service and BellCore kept laying awake at night
wondering when LOD is going to take down all the STPs in the network.  Which of
course will never happen but it's much easier on the intestines of a Secret
Service agent or DA to get media attention by rounding up "a deadly
technologically menacing teenager!" than to bust the mafia or some inner-city
drug ring who may just put them and their families through a trash compacter.
What would you do?


THE END
=======
What more can I say?  I hope you have a good time if this is the way in which
you choose to waste your time.  And a great big "I love you" to the media dudes
who actually called up 2600 magazine asking about "Marbles BBS."  Where would
we be without you?  You guys are just so funny!

                Have a nice day and a really, really nice life!
_______________________________________________________________________________
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