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


..[ Phrack Magazine ]..
.:: Phrack Pro-Phile on Lex Luthor ::.

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 ]
Current issue : #40 | Release date : 1992-01-08 | Editor : Dispater
IntroductionDispater
Phrack LoopbackMind Mage & Dispater
Phrack Pro-Phile on Lex LuthorTaran King & Lex Luthor
Network MiscellanyThe Racketeer
Pirates CoveRambone
Cellular Telephony, Part IIBrian Oblivion
The Fine Art of TelephonyCrimson Flash
BT Tymnet, Part 1 of 3Toucan Jones
BT Tymnet, Part 2 of 3Toucan Jones
BT Tymnet, Part 3 of 3Toucan Jones
SummerCon 1992Knight Lightning & Dispater
PWN/Part 1Datastream Cowboy
PWN/Part 2Datastream Cowboy
PWN/Part 3Datastream Cowboy
Title : Phrack Pro-Phile on Lex Luthor
Author : Taran King & Lex Luthor
                                ==Phrack Inc.==

                     Volume Four, Issue Forty, File 3 of 14

                              ==Phrack Pro-Phile==

                    Written and Created by Taran King (1986)

     Welcome to Phrack Pro-Phile.  Phrack Pro-Phile is created to bring info to
you, the users, about old or highly important/controversial people.  This
month, I bring you perhaps the most famous all underground hackers and the
founder of the Legion of Doom.

                                   Lex Luthor
_______________________________________________________________________________

 Personal
 ~~~~~~~~
       Handle:  Lex Luthor
      Call me:  I really no longer identify with "Lex Luthor" and don't ever
                expect me to use the handle again with regards to calling
                boards so you CAN call me "Johnson."
 Past handles:  I was too status conscious to have more than one handle.  All
                my effort went into just one persona.
Handle origin:  From the Superfriends/Justice League of America (ABC TV)
                cartoon series where the Legion of Doom (LOD) kicked their
                asses until the series writers thought up some lame way for
                them to win, but of course, LOD always escaped to fight another
                day.
Date of Birth:  You should know better than that.
       Height:  You should know better that that.
       Weight:  Approximately 610 Newtons plus or minus a few.
    Eye color:  With or without colored contact lenses?
   Hair color:  With or without my wig disguise?
     Computer:  Apple //+ collecting dust and a soon to be obsolete IBM 286.
Email address:  lex@stormking.com


 The Interview Of Lex Luthor!
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 by Taran King

TK = Taran King
LL = Lex Luthor

TK:  So Lex, why have you finally relented to a Pro-Phile/interview when I have
     been after you to do one for about 5 years now?

LL:  Well, I have to admit that I am still reluctant.  This whole issue of
     computer security/insecurity, hacking/phreaking, philes/electronic
     publishing, etc. is still quite controversial and I would prefer to
     concentrate on strictly legitimate activities.  Especially areas where the
     importance of opinions are negligible and the importance of facts are
     paramount, as in Science and Engineering.  However, I realize that Phrack
     won't be around forever, so I thought that if I had any last words left to
     say I'd better say it now so here I am.

TK:  How did you get started into hacking/phreaking?

LL:  It was easy. I had a delicious shake for breakfast, one for lunch and oh
     sorry.  No really, it WAS easy.  I had a friend who bought an Apple and I
     used to go over to his house and watch him play Ultima I, a fantasy/
     adventure game.  After drooling over Ultima long enough, I took all my
     savings and bought a system, which was in excess of $1000 at the time.
     Being penniless, I had nothing else to do but learn the machine.  My
     friend then purchased a modem and started calling boards.  I followed
     suit. He was interested in cracking software and became rather well known
     using the handle "The Punk".  After he gave me some codes for various LD
     companies I started calling around.  A short while later, I noticed that
     there were boards, sections of boards, and most importantly INFORMATION
     that I was not permitted to use/see.  I was unhappy about being excluded
     especially from RACS III (Tuc eventually came around though) and took it
     upon myself to learn what was involved in accessing these systems and
     getting more information.  I realized as most have, that providing
     information that others do not possess allowed me to be noticed and
     therefore gain more information.  By the way, I still play Ultima, I
     BOUGHT Ultima VI two years ago but am just getting around to playing it
     now.

TK:  What was more important to you, getting noticed or getting information?

LL:  The information was undoubtedly the goal.  I realize now, as many hackers
     and phreaks have in retrospect, that I am an INFORMATION JUNKIE.  The
     notoriety was simply the means to be trusted with more information and
     knowledge.  Unfortunately back then I was unaware that most of the
     information that I seeked was available LEGALLY.  I was blinded by the
     information itself, and did not concentrate on the *methods of obtaining
     information*.  Now with the advent of CD rom databases, and also online
     databases, the information is readily found.  The problem is that the
     service providers are pricing the disks and online time out of the reach
     of common people, which of course puts me back to square one in a way.

TK:  Why do you need information?

LL:  Look, if there is one thing that prevents people from doing things or
     pursuing their dreams, its INFORMATION.  Not money, not guts, not
     anything.  With the right information just about everything else can be
     obtained with the exception of health and happiness I suppose.  

TK:  Give me an example.

LL:  Okay.  If you have ever been up late watching TV and 'ol Dave Del Dotto or
     Carlton Sheets or whomever gets on and is trying to sell you their
     "courses" on Real Estate, Buying at Government Auctions, etc. then you
     know what I am talking about.  These guys made millions simply by
     obtaining information that the majority of people were not aware of and
     put it to use, they could have been anybody.

TK:  What types of information do you look for?

LL:  Although I always look to learn new ways of how to obtain information in
     general, i.e., what new databases are available and how to use them, etc.
     I am currently concentrating on scientific data since I am working on my
     Master's Thesis and a comprehensive literature search is required to
     prevent me from duplicating what has already been accomplished.  The
     "don't re-invent the wheel" philosophy.

TK:  You mention a thesis, what schooling have you had/are pursuing?

LL:  I don't want to be too specific, however, I have an undergraduate
     engineering degree and am currently in the process of completing dual
     Master's degrees, one in Quantum Physics and the other in Engineering.

TK:  Sounds heavy, but why be vague, you must have a computer-type or
     electrical engineering degree?

LL:  No, and I get that a lot from old friends: "You are so good with
     computers, why aren't you doing that?"  My interest in computers now is
     simply to make them calculate equations and do simulations of physical
     systems.  And to help me get more information.

TK:  Let's get back to the H/P subject, there's a few people who have always
     contended that you and the guys in LOD really didn't know much of
     anything, is that true?

LL:  Well I can't speak much about the old members, but their expertise
     satisfied me and other members (we would usually vote on new members, I
     wasn't a dictator you know).  As for me, I realized early on that only
     certain people can be trusted with certain information, and certain types
     of information can be trusted to no one.  Giving out useful things to
     irresponsible people would inevitably lead to whatever thing it was being
     abused and no longer useful.  I was very possessive of my information and
     frequently withheld things from my articles.  By not providing much data,
     some people may conclude that I didn't know anything at all.  Its just
     that I didn't release it to just anyone and that dismayed various people
     probably to the point of lashing out at me and LOD.


 Some People to Mention
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Taran King:        You were always hounding me for a Phrack Pro-Phile.  Hope
                   you are enjoying it.

Knight Lightning:  Great guy, but how did he get so famous even though he never
                   even broke into the E911 computer?  Sad to see him get
                   screwed by overzealous "professionals."  Wish I had some
                   money to donate to his defense fund.

The Blue Archer:   Always wanted to meet him.  I never got a chance to meet him
                   face to face although I have known him for 8 years.  To be
                   honest, he was better at getting into systems than I was.

Tuc:               Always willing to bend over backwards to help you out.  I
                   still use the briefcase he bought me in NYC many years ago.

Paul Muad'Dib:     The one in New York.  He is one of the smartest people I've
                   ever met.  I hope he is doing something worthwhile.

Bioc Agent 003:    Talked to him quite a number of times and met him at TAP
                   meetings, but we never got to be friends.

Cheshire Catalyst: I still owe him $20.  He lent it to me in NYC.

Control-C:         A wildman with the women.  I hope he gives me his STARGATE
                   videogame when he gets tired of it.  I don't play it every
                   day like him, but I still can kick his ass.

Phantom Phreaker:  He has a spiritual side to him that most people never
                   realize.

The Videosmith:    A fun person with talent.  I was sad to see him leave the
                   scene so early.  Met with him in his home state two years
                   ago just to say hello.

Dr. Who:           Here is a guy who loved hacking and exploring systems.  I
                   mean he really enjoyed it.  He got quite good at it too.

Telenet Bob:       Met him up in Massachusetts at Dr. Who's conference.

Jester Sluggo:     Met him up in Massachusetts along with The Sprinter.
                   Obviously he knew more than he let on even way back then.

Compu-Phreak:      I liked listening to his pirate radio station while he
                   operated it.  The FCC never did catch on.

Silver Spy:        A very smart guy with a future.  Someone who knows when to
                   stop, but was a little bit panicky at times.

Erik Bloodaxe:     Part of the original LOD group.  I think he always wanted my
                   job.  I consider him a friend even though we had our
                   misunderstandings.

Mark Tabas:        Part of the original LOD group and sysop of Farmers of Doom
                   (FOD) for the short time it was up.  I hope he isn't in any
                   trouble again.

Flash Hoser:       A fellow information junkie in the Great White North (GWN).

Gary Seven:        Probably one of the least known yet talented hackers around
                   except that I mentioned him in the acknowledgement section
                   of many of my files.  He has since quit.

Digital Logic:     Ran a good board for quite a while.  An idealist who could
                   give a great speech.  Too bad no one would listen.

The Ronz!:         Old friend who no one ever heard of unless they called
                   Digital Logic's Data Service BBS.

Al Capone:         Should have been born a few years earlier so he could have
                   gotten into hacking when it was fun.  He got into it too
                   late and the risk became a little too high for him.

Quasi Moto:        Sysop of Plovernet.  Was a good sysop, but not much of a
                   hacker.  Still talk to him on the net.

King Blotto:       Known him a long time.  Glad he never put me on
                   TeleTrial!

The Mentor:        A fantastic writer.  He ran a great board (Phoenix Project).
                   The last time I talked to him was a few years ago, but he
                   wasn't very talkative.  I think he fell for the 'ol Lex is a
                   rat rumors.

The Leftist:       I hitched a ride with him to one of the SummerCons in
                   St. Louis.  Haven't talked to him since his trouble began, I
                   hope he's cleaned up his act.  I thought he was cool until I
                   heard he was making stuff up about me to the investigators.

The Prophet:       A kindlier gentler hacker.  Sorry to see him get screwed by
                   the system.

The Urvile:        Met him at SummerCon '89.  Definitely seemed to be the type
                   who you could trust not to screw you over.

Sir Francis Drake: Met him at SummerCon '87.  I'm glad I got a chance to.

Sir Knight:        What a character.

Shooting Shark:    I appreciate the favorable comments he made about me in HIS
                   Phrack Pro-Phile.

 A Few Other Things
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
While I'm on the subject of people, there is one thing that I have not see
published in any form, and that's a "Where are they now" type of thing for
ex-hacks/phreaks.  Just so people know, there are a number of us who are doing
quite well at lawful pursuits.

For example:

Silver Spy          - Completing a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering.
Knight Lightning    - Working to become a lawyer.
The Unknown Soldier - A high level manager at a successful software company.
The Mentor          - Creating games at a well known game company.
Jester Sluggo       - Working for a 'high technology' company.
The Disk Jockey     - Working in the computer business.
Gary Seven          - Chief engineer at a radio station.


 The Interview With Lex Continues
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TK:  In an early issue of Phrack you were referred to by the following:
     "There is paranoia and beyond paranoia there is Lex."  How do you respond
     to that?

LL:  Ha Ha, I remember that one.  Well of course there is some truth to it.
     And the saying, "better paranoid than sorry." is true as you can see since
     I am not behind bars... not that I ever did anything illegal of course,
     ahem.  I should mention that I met two individuals early in my hacking
     career that had a significant influence on me, and both are the absolute
     epitome of paranoid.

     One was "Eliott Ness" who was probably in his late 30's to 40's by the
     sound of his voice.  He used to call LOD, I met him on a local board.  He
     was extremely knowledgeable, but always knew when to stop giving general
     information, never gave out ANY personal information, and never
     communicated for any length of time.

     The other guy was "Number 6" from TAP meetings in NYC.  I met him a few
     times.  Six was another older gentleman.  He was very calm until anyone
     showed up with a camera.  Then he "went off" until the camera threat was
     negated.  This guy had a way of extracting information out of you without
     you even realizing what he was up to.

     As I recall people would ask him a question and he would simply turn it
     around and say, "well, what do you think (or know) about so and so" and
     the hapless phreak would spill his guts with Six taking notes and
     sometimes making corrections to what the phreak said much to the phreak's
     surprise.  But Six never really gave out much information although it was
     completely apparent to me that he knew a great deal just by the way he
     carried himself.

     A few phreaks would try to follow him after the TAP meetings, but he
     always lost them without ever letting on that he knew he was being
     followed.  It should be mentioned that paranoia can destroy you (as the
     song goes).  A number of times I ran into real problems trying to escape
     from suspected problems that probably weren't anything to worry about. 

TK:  What memorable H/P BBSes do you recall?

LL:  OSUNY:  Caught the tail end when I first started.  I was impressed.

     Plovernet:  That BBS was crazy.  Constantly busy since it had hundreds of
                 active users and Quasi Moto let everyone post whatever they
                 wanted and never deleted messages unless there was no disk
                 space left.  We helped start the "philes" trend there also.
                 It was easy to spot who knew what they were talking about so I
                 invited them onto the LOD BBS.  Some of the people on the LOD
                 BBS were then asked to join the now infamous LOD group.

TK:  (*Interrupts*) Did you ever think the group you started would become a
     household name in security and hack/phreak circles?

LL:  Although I knew the guys in the group were good hacks/phreaks, I had no
     clue of where it was leading.  Since we did not tolerate destructive/
     malicious behavior nor things like credit card fraud I did not think there
     was much risk in the group as a whole getting any real attention.  Of
     course, all that changed with time.

TK:  Sorry for the interruption.  Please continue.

LL:  Metal Shop Private:  The users were idealistic and good natured which was
                          refreshing.  I liked it most because it was a good
                          source of information/files and we were the first to
                          see new Phrack issues.

     Farmers Of Doom:  Mark Tabas did a fantastic job with this one.  It was
                       quite busy, but did not remain up very long.

     Phoenix Project:  Again, another fantastic job.  The Mentor had some
                       rather unconventional ideas like letting security people
                       on, which I thought was a good idea.

     RACS III:  Tuc didn't give me the time of day at first, but eventually I
                got on.  Then he took it down.

     Pirates Cove:  The board in 516 (Long Island, NY).  One of the classics.
                    It's where I met Emmanuel Goldstein and invited him onto
                    Plovernet to help sell 2600 subscriptions.

     Catch-22:  Absolutely positively the most secure BBS I ever encountered.
                Besides passwording subboards along with requiring users to
                have a high enough security level to access them, it made use
                of many concepts from the "basic security model" introduced by
                Lampson and later augmented by Graham and Dorothy Denning.  Of
                course Silver Spy and I had no clue what an access matrix was
                and things of that nature.  A duress password was implemented
                so if someone got nailed they could enter the password, not
                compromise the system, yet appear as to be cooperating with the
                authorities who we presumably thought would ask the hacker to
                call.  It was never used but nice to have.

     BlottoLand:  Good board for a while, but he let too many of his "loyal
                  subjects"  on the system who were locals and they eventually
                  overran it.

TK:  Do you REALLY think you are ELITE or what?

LL:  I really don't know how anyone got the idea that I considered myself
     elite.  The only people who said I thought I was elite were those who I
     never met or talked to. Contrary to some people's belief, I never
     considered myself as elite.  I was just a guy who liked to pass
     information on to others so I wrote some files.  The files did help me get
     access to more information by making me more well known.  When I read the
     newspaper, I'm one of those annoying people who keeps interrupting your
     breakfast to tell you details about all the neat stories.

TK:  Speaking about the group, what do you think about Erik Bloodaxe and others
     starting ComSec Data Security?

LL:  When I first called Bloodaxe after I saw them in the papers/magazines he
     thought I would be mad, maybe that he took my idea or something.  I told
     him I am familiar with the computer security consulting business and don't
     want any part of it.  It's too tough to get people to pay money for
     something that they cannot get a verifiable return on their investment.
     Besides, getting them to trust you with their inner most secrets is
     extremely difficult.

     I told ComSec to write articles about security until their fingers fell
     off.  Legitimize themselves as soon as they can.  There was too much
     prejudice out there against them with ComputerWorld leading the pack.  I
     really think they could have helped some companies if given a chance.  But
     I don't think they had enough knowledge about the whole security picture,
     i.e., Physical Security, Environmental Systems (fire suppression, UPS,
     etc), Administrative Security (Hiring/firing policies, etc.), what goes on
     in big IBM shops MVS, CICS, ROSCOE, etc.  There is a lot involved.

TK:  How did you feel when Knight Lightning and Phrack erroneously insinuated
     that you might have informed on other hackers, maybe even the Atlanta
     Legion of Doom members a few years ago?

LL:  Well as you now know, Craig (KL) has seen all the documents and records
     from his trial and many documents from the Atlanta case and there was no
     mention whatsoever of me in regards to providing information, being a
     witness, testifying, etc.

     Although I haven't talked to the Atlanta guys since before their trial I
     am sure they know I had absolutely nothing to do with what happened to
     them.  The real story has since come out.  If there is one thing I hate,
     it's being accused of something you didn't do.

     If someone does something they are accused of, he should be man enough to
     admit it.  I have said this before a number of times, I have never
     provided information to anyone about other hacks/phreaks that directly nor
     indirectly led to them being visited, arrested, or prosecuted.  It's just
     not my way.  What goes around comes around and that kind of boomerang is
     something I knew I didn't want to play with.

     My success in avoiding trouble is fairly straightforward:  Most of all it
     was secrecy and misdirection (ala Stainless Steel Rat), avoiding phone
     company computers especially those in which I was a customer of (i.e., my
     local RBOC) because if you get THEM pissed at you, they'll get you one way
     or another.  Also, lots of LUCK and not intentionally making any enemies
     although there have been a few hackers mad at me whom I never even talked
     to and I have no idea as to why they didn't care for me.

TK:  Do you have any advice for people out there who may want to begin hacking
     or phreaking?

LL:  I am not one to dictate what people should or should not do, but I
     wouldn't if I were them.  The technology to prevent and detect security
     breaches and then to track down their source is ever improving.  The
     Cuckoo's Egg (by Cliff Stoll) provides a good example of that.  But that
     shouldn't even come into the picture.

     I think they should examine objectively why they want to do it.  Then make
     an honest attempt at finding other legal ways to accomplish whatever they
     were trying to do.  I don't care how you justify it, its dishonest.
     Forget about the law part of it. It just causes other people problems.  I
     didn't know how much until my school's systems were hacked and I was
     unable to read my e-mail for a week.  I was angry and thought to myself
     that I'd like to get my hands on that asshole hacker.  Then I laughed for
     quite awhile realizing what I was thinking and the irony of it all.
     Poetic justice I suppose.  None of my data was touched, but I was denied
     service and denial of service can be just as damaging.  As for the
     challenge of it, well I can't deny that that was very addicting, but there
     are many legal ways to challenge yourself.

TK:  What conventions/involvements outside of phone calls have you done?

LL:  TAP meetings were probably the first.  Then a Con in Massachusetts, the
     Con in Philly with Videosmith et al. and of course the few SummerCons
     (1987 and 1989) in St. Louis.  There were some computer security
     conferences that were interesting also.  Those helped to sensitize me to
     the "other side."

TK:  I remember at SummerCon '89 that you were accidentally caught on video
     tape for about 2 seconds and requested that it be erased, which it was.
     What is the deal with cameras?

LL:  It may sound a little odd, but I don't think anyone has the right to take
     another person's picture without their permission.  Especially when the
     person who is on film has no idea where the picture will end up.

     I predict within 5-10 years maximum that states will start using video
     cameras to digitize your picture when you go for a new driver's license.
     The  digitized image will be stored with the rest of your personal
     information and probably be available to people like private investigators
     and others who gain access to the information illegally.  With ISDN,
     Multi-Media, etc., it will be possible to "set up" people very easily by
     altering images via computers, etc. to make them look like they are doing
     just about anything you can think of.  When things like that start to
     happen I will not look crazy but smart, at least to my friends who think
     my avoidance of cameras is abnormal.


 Most Memorable Experience
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TK:  What are your most memorable experiences (funny things that happened to
     you during your phreaking/hacking or not so funny)?

LL:  Dr. Who in Massachusetts had a conference in which me, Tuc, and The
     Videosmith drove up at 4 AM in Tuc's VW Beetle hydroplaning all the way
     due to the rain, and dead tired.  We were all in a silly mood and had a
     lot of laughs.

     Also, the time when I was in NYC with Paul Muad'Dib and we had no money to
     eat.  He was the first person I know of who had any real knowledge of
     phone company switching systems.  He engineered a switch in Manhattan to
     put call forwarding on a pay phone.  Once this was done, all the money put
     into the phone would remain in the phone but would not drop into the coin
     box.  Those who put money in didn't really have to since the phone was
     converted to a POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service).  Alas, humans are
     creatures of habit.  So after a couple of hours (since it was a busy
     phone) he had the guy put the phone back to the way it was.  When this was
     done, all the money held in the phone was returned.  It was like hitting
     the jackpot in Las Vegas.  We then proceeded to McDonald's.

     The story about me running around naked in a Motel 6 parking lot that
     Control-C has tried to get people to believe is, of course, grossly
     exaggerated.  His girlfriend hooked me up with a friend of her's.  Dan and
     his girl were in another room.  He called me to come over, but I was in my
     underwear.  We had been drinking so I ran the 8 feet or so to his room (we
     were on the 2nd floor with a solid balcony so no one from the ground could
     see anyway), I said hello and then ran back to my room to go another
     round.

     Probably my favorite memory is relatively recent.  J.J. Bloombecker,
     Director of the National Center for Computer Crime Data, spoke at my
     school.  I sat in the very back as usual (I hate to have anyone sitting
     behind me, anywhere) in a room of about 40 people and listened to his
     speech which basically was to promote his book, "Spectacular Computer
     Crimes."  I spoke to him but never let on who I really was.  He talked
     about Craig's (Knight Lightning) case and then he went on about whomever
     named LOD, the Legion of Doom, should have named them something like the
     "Legion of Ineffectual Pansies."  The reason being that, what prosecutor
     in his/her right mind would go to a judge and say how dangerous a group of
     ineffectual pansies are.

     I sat there trying not to blush and thinking that of all the hundreds of
     people he said that to, he probably never expected to say it to the person
     who really named the group. 

     I did meet Donn B. Parker, whom I consider the father of computer
     security, twice.  The first time I just shook his hand.  The second time
     was relatively recently and we spoke for 20 minutes or so.  I never told
     him who I really was, not that he would know anyway.  But I complimented
     him enough so even if he found out, he couldn't have gotten too mad at me.

TK:  What were some of your memorable accomplishments (newsletters/files/etc.)?

LL:  The REAL accomplishments (non-files) will remain anonymous, but my
     favorite files were the IBM VM/CMS series because they were well written
     along with the Attacking, Defeating, and Bypassing Physical Security
     Devices series.  Before I wrote a file I scoured boards and other
     traditional sources for the information I sought.  If I came up empty
     handed, I researched it and wrote about it myself.

     Although the COSMOS files helped me get started, they were a complete
     joke.  They provided enough information to be dangerous and didn't help my
     standing with the RBOC's.  The VAX/VMS files got better as they
     progressed, but except for some of Part III they didn't provide much that
     wasn't available in manuals.  I enjoy writing, but it usually takes me
     many revisions to get it just right.  As for newsletters, the LOD/H
     Technical Journal is another thing that I was involved in.

TK:  What is the story behind the LOD/H Technical Journal?

LL:  The LOD/H Technical Journal almost never was.  As you are aware, LOD had
     gotten a group of files together to be published in PHRACK as an "all LOD
     issue," but some of the members thought we should put out our own stuff.
     The idea grew on me and I said okay.  I should let it be known that you
     helped us out for the first issue by spell checking it and performing some
     editing and critique.  But we were only able to produce 4 issues since it
     was difficult in getting quality non-plagiarized or non-highly paraphrased
     material.

     After the third issue, I realized that I was probably not doing anyone any
     favors by exposing security holes and weaknesses in systems.  Some people
     may not believe hearing this from ME, but I don't agree with those hackers
     who think they are doing people a service by exposing their system
     vulnerabilities.  Nobody needs someone checking their door at night to see
     if its locked.  And although the old door analogy isn't exactly the same
     as the pseudo-physical computer login, its close enough.  Sorry about
     getting off the subject a little.

TK:  That's okay.  Why did you quit the H/P community?

LL: I wrote a letter to 2600 Magazine about a year ago that goes into it a
    little.  Between that and what I've said here, it should be fairly
    apparent.  In brief, I realized I was mainly in it for the purpose of
    getting information.  It got too dangerous and I decided to direct my
    energy to graduating instead of how to defeat security systems.  The
    thought processes involved in hacking and those in solving problems in
    Engineering Design are remarkably similar and I think my hacking experience
    makes me a much better designer and problem solver.  Not that I am
    advertising for a job or anything...


 Lex's Favorite Things
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  Women:  Without Diseases.
   Cars:  So fast that you are terrified to put the pedal all the way down to
          the floor.
  Foods:  Anything that does not contain pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals,
          radioactive elements, toxic chemicals, harmful microorganisms,
          artificial colors, or preservatives.  I guess that rules out fish,
          produce, meat, processed foods, drinking water, and so on.  In other
          words there's nothing left to eat.  In all seriousness, I do like
          great big salads and if I was rich I would have an awesome wine
          cellar.
  Music:  Heavy Metal, some Punk, and Classical.
Authors:  Richard P, Feynman, Isaac Asimov, Stephen Hawking, Jane Roberts, Budd
          Hopkins, Jacques Valee, Bruce Sterling, K. Eric Drexler, and Matthew
          Lesko.
  Books:  I liked the Cuckoo's Egg, anything about physics, and non-kook
          metaphysical books.  The only thing I collect these days are books.
          I have hundreds of them.
  Games:  Atari's ASTERIODS DELUXE was probably the most difficult videogame
          ever (even though it's more than ten years old) and which I am one of
          the best there is at playing it.  When it comes to this, I admit I AM
          Elite.  There's almost no one on this planet who can beat me.
          Defender and Stargate are also great.  They don't make games like
          they used to.  And of course, the Ultima series.
 Actors:  Dana Carvey, Bill Moyers, Patrick Stewart (ST:TNG), Jonathan Frakes
          (ST:TNG), Andy Griffith (Matlock), and too many movie stars to 
          mention.


 The Interview Concludes
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TK:  Is there anyone specifically that you want to say a few things to?

LL:  To all those who subscribe to the "Once a thief, always a thief" mentality
     and to those few die-hard law people who would love to get their hands on
     me and other ex-hackers:  Don't bother, people are basically good and can
     be "rehabilitated" without going to prison.

LL:  The other thing that I have never understood about the hack/phreak
     community is some of the obsession with tracking people down.  I could
     understand it a little better when the reason was to check out others to
     make sure they were not feds.

     I never compiled lists of who I talked to with anything except their
     handle, first name, and phone number.  I never CNA'd them for their last
     names, or tried to find out where they worked.

     But some guys just had to know everything about everyone.  Don't they have
     anything better to do?  I was careful yes, but not to the point of
     invading everyone's privacy especially when the person stated they just
     wanted to be left alone.  I am not saying I NEVER invaded another's
     privacy, but I don't now and almost never did it in the past.

     I left an Internet mailing address at the beginning of this Pro-Phile so
     people can contact me.  I don't mind talking to people, but I just don't
     think it's fair to harass and threaten people who don't want to be
     bothered.  I am open to useful and constructive conversations via email,
     but I really don't think it's necessary to compile individual's personal
     information.  I never did it and will never understand why people do it.

     Besides, it's no great accomplishment to find people these days.  The ways
     of getting information are numerous and many are legal, so how much skill
     does it really take to get someone's info?  Almost none.  Anyone can do
     it... on just about anyone they want.

TK:  What do you think about the future of the hack/phreak world or telecom
     communications in general?

LL:  As for the hack/phreak aspect, every time I think hacking is dead and
     people would have to be deranged to break into computers or make phone
     calls illegally for free, I read about another hapless person or group of
     people who have done it.  Don't they realize there are better and easier
     ways of going about whatever they are doing?  Don't they realize that the
     technology to CATCH you is such that you have lost the fight before you
     even get started?

     Yes there will be new technologies that will help both sides, but there is
     the law of diminishing returns.  As for what hackers should be doing, if
     anything they should keep an eye on our right to privacy.  If it weren't
     for hackers, TRW would still be screwing people over (worse than they do
     now) and would have never apologized for not correcting invalid credit
     information.

TK:  And of course the question that no Phrack Pro-Phile does without...

     Of the general population of phreaks you have met, would you consider most
     phreaks, if any, to be computer geeks? 

LL:  Absolutely NOT.  I don't judge people on how they look anymore (yes I used
     to).  As The Mentor so eloquently put it in his Hacker Manifesto (Phrack 7
     and again in Phrack 14), of which this is, but a lame paraphrase, it's
     more important to relate to people on what they know and on their ideas
     than what they look like or what color their skin is, etc.  And the vast
     majority have non-geeky ideas.

TK:  Thanks for your time, Lex.

LL:  Thank you for letting me ramble on for so long.
[ News ] [ Paper Feed ] [ Issues ] [ Authors ] [ Archives ] [ Contact ]
© Copyleft 1985-2014, Phrack Magazine.