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..[ Phrack Magazine ]..
.:: Cyber Christ Meets Lady Luck Part II ::.

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Current issue : #46 | Release date : 1994-09-20 | Editor : Erik Bloodaxe
IntroductionErik Bloodaxe
Phrack LoopbackPhrack Staff
Line NoisePhrack Staff
Line NoisePhrack Staff
Phrack Prophile on Minor ThreatMinor Threat
Paid Advertisementunknown
Paid Advertisement (cont)unknown
The Wonderful World of PagersErik Bloodaxe
Legal Info by Szechuan DeathSzechuan Death
A Guide to Porno BoxesCarl Corey
Unix Hacking - Tools of the TradeThe Shining
The fingerd Trojan HorseHitman Italy
The Phrack University Dialup ListPhrack Staff
A Little About DialcomHerd Beast
VisaNet Operations Part IIce Jey
VisaNet Operations Part IIIce Jey
Gettin' Down 'N Dirty Wit Da GS/1Dr. Delam & Maldoror
StartalkThe Red Skull
Cyber Christ Meets Lady Luck Part IWinn Schwartau
Cyber Christ Meets Lady Luck Part IIWinn Schwartau
The Groom Lake Desert RatPsychoSpy
HOPEErik Bloodaxe
Cyber Christ Bites the Big AppleWinn Schwartau
The ABCs of Better Hotel StayingSeven Up
AT&T Definity System 75/85Erudite
Keytrap v1.0 Keyboard Key LoggerDcypher
International Scenesvarious
Phrack World NewsDatastream Cowboy
Title : Cyber Christ Meets Lady Luck Part II
Author : Winn Schwartau
                              ==Phrack Magazine==

                 Volume Five, Issue Forty-Six, File 20 of 28


                  (Cyber Christ Meets Lady Luck Continued)

I  don't agree with everything that Gail says, but she is a  com
pelling  speaker; she believes in what she says.  But I do  agree 
with  her  on  the difficulty of forensic  evidence  in  computer 

"I  got  really mad," she said.  "I was reading  a  magazine  and 
there was an ad for United, you know, the employee owned airline.  
And it was a beautiful ad, hundred of employees standing in front 
of  a brand new great big jet. All smiling and happy." Gail  then 
frowned deeply.  "Some stockholder ought to sue them for mislead
ing  advertising."  This was more like it!  Go, Gail! "I  started 
to look at the picture carefully and I noticed this  unmistakably 
fat lady in a pink dress.  And then over a few persons. .  .guess 
what?  The  same fat lady in pink."  Roars of  laughter  and  ap

Her point? What seems real may not be real at all, and with a few 
hundred  dollars in software and a little practice,  most  anyone 
can build a false reality digitally.  

Her time was up but the audience wanted more.  She was mobbed for 
eternity by hackers who fight her tooth and nail but respect  her 
comportment  enough to make the disagreements  lively,  partisan, 
entertaining, but with respect.  Respectful hackers.  No  HoHoCon 
orgies; merely verbal barbs with no solution. Everyone knew that, 
but it's the battle that counts.

More  security  conference should be this open, this  honest  and 
informative, with all kinds of people with all kinds of opinions.  
That  is  how we, and I, learn.  Listen and learn.  And  all  for 
$5000 no less, plus a paltry $15 entrance fee.

			* * * * *

The afternoon sessions were filled with a mixture of anti-govern
ment,  pro-privacy  advocacy, virus workshops and  such  by  both 
under  and above ground folks.  Padgett Peterson's  knowledge  of 
viruses  is deep and he spread the same wisdom as his does in  so 
called  legitimate circles.  Knowledge is knowledge,  and  better 
accurate than wrong.

It's  often  surprising  to see how people will  voice  the  same 
opinion  in  varying  degree of intensity  depending  upon  their 
audience.  Mark Aldrich of General Research Corp. in the Washing
ton area made a statement that I doubt I would hear at a  ConCon. 
"Fear  your  government  that fears your crypto.  Use  crypto  as 
a weapon."  Sara Gordon's panel discussion on crypto  and privacy 
and  related topics fueled the audience's general anti-fed  atti

"I  was bugged by the Feds."  "So was I?"  "What can we do  about 
it."   "Yeah, they listen in on my phones, too.  I can  hear  the 
clicks."  Right.

As  Mark  so succinctly put it, "if the government wants  to  bug 
you, you'll never know.  They're that good.".  That kind of  shut 
up  the dilettante paranoids in the group, albeit  mumbling  that 
they just knew that they were the victim of one of the 900 or  so 
court  approved  wire taps last year.  Right.  I think Gail  was   
right: some of you guys are too boring to be believed.

The  afternoon edition of the Spot A Fed contest took us  on  the 
run. I  actually succombed to their enthusiasm and a general lack  
of better judgement and followed a group of 8 or 10 to unmask  an 
unmarked white van in the parking lot. 

"It's the Feds." "How do you know?"  "Oh, it's the Feds alright."  
"How do you know."  "It's a white van and the intelligence  serv
ices  use white vans."  "What are you going to do?"  "Bust  'em."  
"Bust 'em for what?"  "For being Feds."  

This motley crew traipsed through the mile long casino,  trodding 
upon the ugly tartan/paisley carpets so obnoxiously loud a  blind 
man  could  cry "Uncle!", into the Hall  of   Overpriced  Shoppes 
through the lobby and over to the parking garage.  We had to have 
$100,000 of surveillance gear in tow:(enough to detect the planet 
Pluto fart in b-flat).  Radio receivers and eavesdropping  equip
ment  were courtesy of my pal Mike Peros. The goal was,  if  this 
was a Fed van, we could hear it.  I don't think so, but I go  for 
the  ride and a few minutes of reprieve away from the  conference 

As we near, the excitement grows among the more paranoid who  are 
trying to instill their own mental foibles into their  companions 
and  sheer terror in normal old Vegas visitors who have  no  idea 
what they've walked into.

Feds? Not. Surrepticious radio transmissions?  Just hotel securi
ty  tracking the movements of 8 or 10 paranoids (and  one  writer 
with  nothing else to do for a half hour) into a  parking  garage 
which has more cameras than NBC.  Feds?  Of course not.  Don't be 

			* * * * * 

To say nothing worthwhile occurred until 11PM that evening  would 
be lying, but this thing, this DefCon II thing, was turning  into 
what  I would have called 25 years ago, a Love-In.  The  partici
pants were giddy from the event, the camaraderie, the $1  Heinek
ens and the hacking.  The Sahara  was actually pretty good  about 
it. Jeff got the conference space for free because he  guaranteed 
that  at least 100 hotel rooms would be booked by  "computer  en
thusiasts coming to a small computer conference."  Little did the 
hotel  know that half the crowd was too young to drink, too broke 
to gamble, and conspicuous enough to ward off legitimate clients.  
But a deal's a deal.

The hotel operators went out of their way and allegedly gave  the 
hackers permission to hack through the PBX in order to provide  a 
SLPP connection.  

"Just put it back the way you found it when you're done," was the 
hotel's only and quite reasonable request.

In my day an equivalent event producing an equivalent social non-
drug  induced high would have been achieved by tossing a  Frisbee 
to  Grace  Slick (Lead singer Jefferson Airplane)  and  have  her 
throw it back. We didn't have the kind of technology that today's 
rebellious  age has.  We had the Beatles and Jimi  Hendrix,  safe 
sex (kinda), safe drugs (well, maybe a little safer) and a cause.  
But no technology to speak of.

When  I  was on the publishing staff of the New  York  City  Free 
Press  in  1968/9 we wrote our  anti-establishment  diatribes  by 
hand.   By hand! And then we went down to a dark office  late  at 
night to use their typesetting gear when it was idle.  It took no 
more  than a blushing glance around the room to realize  that  we 
impressionable teens were publishing our political extremisms  on 
equipment courtesy of Al Goldstein and Screw magazine.  Now  that 
was an education.  

DefCon II was a Love-In, technology and all.  

Come  11PM yet another speaker canceled so  I offered to chat  to 
the  crowd for a half hour or so on Van Eck radiation; the  emis
sions  from  CRT's that make video screens readable from  a  dis
tance.   Now this wasn't a fill in at 2PM or anything.   Sessions 
reconvened at 11PM and I spoke to a full audience who were  there 
to get a midnight lesson in cellular hacking.

Most  above ground types still believe that hacking is  an  acne-
faced  teenager,  chigging  Jolt Cola,  wolfing  down  pepperoni 
pizza  and causing Corporate America no end of grief.  To a  cer
tain extent some of this is true.  But hacking is so much more.

As  Rop  Gongrijjp, editor of Hacktic once told me,  "hacking  is 
disrespect of technology."  It's going the extra mile to find out 
how things work.  Many of the older hackers, those in their early 
20's  and older, are migrating from the  conventional  dial-em-up 
and  break-in hacking image to the fine art of cellular  hacking. 
How  do these things work?  What are the frequencies? How  can  I 
customize my phone?  How many channels can I scan?  The possibil
ities are endless as I soon learned.

Jim and Bill (fake names) asked if I wanted to see a great  demo. 
Sure!   No  names, they said.  OK.  No problem.  In  one  of  the 
several  thousand hotel rooms at the Sahara was a pile of  equip
ment  to make an under budgeted  FBI surveillance  team  insanely 
jealous. There in the middle of the ridiculously filthy room that 
no  doubt caused the maid to shudder, sat a log periodic  antenna 
poised  atop  a strong and highly  adjustable  photographic-style 
tripod.   Feeding  the antenna was a hunk of coax attached  to  a 
cell phone's antenna jack.

OK, so what's that?  Free cell calls?  No, much more.

A second cell phone/scanner, an Oki 900 was modified and connect
ed to a laptop computer.  (This was the exact modification  being 
discussed downstairs)  Custom software that was freely   distrib
uted  around DefCon scanned the data from the Oki  and  displayed 
the scanning activity. A pair of speakers then audibly  broadcast 
the  specific conversation.  And in Vegas, you can  imagine  what 
was going over the open airwaves!

A  half dozen 'kids' sat around enthralled, each begging for  his 
turn to, as Jim put it, "harass cellular users.  Pure and simple. 
Harassment. Stomp on the son of a bitch,"  he laughed, joined  in 
by the others. 

When a 'good' conversation was detected, they entered the channel 
into  the broadcasting cell phone and spoke.  And talk they  did. 
Essentially  they turned 'private' conversations  into  wide-band 
free-for-alls.  If they spoke for only a few seconds one or  both 
of  the parties could hear what was being said.  If  they  talked 
for  too  long, the overpowering signal from  the  antenna  would 
literally  wipe  out the chat: the cell switch  reacted  with  an 
internal belch and shut down. Stomping, they called it.  

For  those on the receiving end of the harassment, it  must  have 
sounded  like  the overbearing voice of God telling Noah  how  to 
build the Ark.


"Who dat?


"Who is that?"

What terror lurks in the minds of boys . . .

For  those  old enough to remember, stomping is no more  a  stunt 
than putting a 500 watt linear power amplifier on a CB radio  and 
blasting nearby CB's to kingdom come.  The truckers used to do it 
to  4-wheelers. When the police began monitoring CB channels  "to 
protect  and  serve" they became the target of CB  stomping.   So 
what else is new?  

I gotta give it to them: these characters designed and built  the 
software,  modified  the phones and put it all  together  and  it 
works!   Not  bad on a $3 allowance and a 10th  grade  education.  
Now,  I guess what they did may have been sort of illegal, or  at 
least  highly unethical and definitely  not nice. But I  have  to 
admit,  some of what I witnessed was very, very, funny.  I'm  not 
advocating  this  kind of activity, but much like  Candid  Camera 
broke  into  people's lives to capture their reactions,  cellular 
hacking  is similarly amusing.   The hacker/phreaks  particularly 
enjoyed breaking in on fighting couples.  (I counted six  impend
ing divorces.) Almost without exception the man was in a car  and 
the lady was at a fixed location; presumably, home. 

Him: "Where the hell have you been."
Her:  "Nowhere."
Him: "Bullshit.
Her: "Really honey . . ."  Defensively.
Him: "Who's with you?"  Intense anger.
Hacker: "Don't believe her.  She's a whore."
Him: "What was that?"
Her: "What?"
"That voice."
"What voice?"
Hacker:  "Me you asshole. Can't you see she's playing you  for  a 
"I know she is."  He agrees.
"What's that honey?"  
"I know he's there with you."
"Who?" Incredulous.
"Him . . . whoever you're fucking when I'm at work." 
Hacker: "Yeah, it's me."
"Shit! Who the fuck is there?"
"No one!"
"I can hear him, he's there.  You're both making fun of me . . ."
Hacker: "She's laughing at you, man."
"No shit.  Who the fuck are you?"
Hacker: "The guy who takes care of her when you can't, asshole."
"That's it."  Click.

Drug dealers aren't immune to these antics.

"Where's the meet?"
"By the 7/11 on Tropicana."
"You got it?"
"You got the cash?"
"Yeah, dude."
"Be sure you do."
Hacker:  "He  doesn't have the cash my man.  He's gonna  rip  you 
"What?"  "What?"  Both sides heard the intruder's voice.  "Who is 
"What's that about a rip-off?"
"This ain't no rip-off man."
Hacker: "Yes it is. Tell 'em the truth. You gonna take his  drugs 
and shoot his ass. Right?  Tell 'em."
"You gonna rip me off?"
"No, man!"
"Your homeboy says you gonna try and rip me off?"
"What home boy?"
Hacker:  "Me, you bozo drug freak. Don't you know that  shit  can 
kill you?"

Good samaritanism pays off upon occasion.

"Honey, hurry up."
"I'm on the freeway.  I'm coming."
Hacker: "He's late.  Let's save her ass."
"What was that?"  "What did you say honey?"
"He said he was going to save your ass."
"Who did?"
"The guy on the radio."  (Technical ignorance abounds.)
Hacker:  "Me.  You're late and she's scared so we're  gonna  beat 
you there and make her safe."
"Who the hell is that?"  "Who?" "The guy with you?"  "There's  no 
one here." "He says he's gonna beat me there and pick you up."
Hacker: "Damn right we are."
"Hey, this is cool.  Who's there?"
Hacker: "Cyber Christ talking to you from Silicon Heaven."
"No shit.  Really?"
Hacker: "Yeah, (choke, choke,) really."
"What's happening, honey."
"I don't know, for sure.  He says it's God."
Hacker:  "Close enough.  Listen, you sound alright.  Go get  your 
woman, man  Keep her safe."
"No problem.  Uh, thanks."

Around 4AM, I guess it was, the hacker/phreaks definitely  helped 
out law enforcement.  One end of the conversation was coming from 
inside  a  hotel, maybe even the Sahara. The other  from  another 
cell phone, most likely in the lobby. 

"What do you look like?"
"I'm  five foot nine, thinning brown hair and 180 pounds  I  wear 
round glasses and  . ."
"I get the idea. Where are you now?"
"I'm coming down the elevator now.  What do you look like?"  
"I'm  six foot one in my heels, have long blond spiked  hair  and 
black fishnet stockings."
Hacker: "Don't go man.  It's a bust."
"What?" he said.
Hacker:  "Don't go, it's a bust. You don't want your name in  the 
papers, do ya?"
"What the fuck?" she yelled.
"There's a guy who says this is a bust?"
"Bust? What bust?"
Hacker: "That's the clue, man.  She's denying it.  Of course it's 
a bust.  Is it worth a night in jail to not get laid?"
"Shit."  He whispers not too quietly to another  male  companion.  
"There's some guy on the phone who says it's bust. What should we 
Hacker: "I'm telling you man, don't go,"
"This ain't worth it. I'm going back upstairs."

A couple of hours later the same hooker was overheard talking  to 
one of her work mates.

"Then this asshole says it's a bust.  Cost me $300 in lost  busi
ness, shit."
"You,  too?   Same shit been going on all night  long.  What  the 

Wow.  And it seems like only this morning that my toilet  explod

			* * * * *

So  what's a perfectly groomed and slightly  rotund  50-something 
convicted methamphetamine dealer doing at DefCon II with hundreds 
of impressionable teenagers?  You might well ask. 

So I'll tell you.

Sitting in yet another Saharan hell-hole of a room they  unabash
edly market for $55 per night I encountered hackers #1 through #4 
and  this  . . . I immediately thought, elderly  gent.   He  said 
nothing  and neither did I, thinking that he might have  been  an 
over  aged  chaperone  for delinquent teens or  perhaps  even  an 
understanding Fed.   But the gallon jugs of whiskey was depleting 
itself right before my eyes, as if a straw from Heaven sucked the 
manna from its innards.  Actually, it was Bootleg.

Not bootleg liquor, mind you, but Bootleg the felonious con  from 
Oregon.  Apparently he got busted 'cause speed is and was against 
the law, and crank is not exactly the drug choice of maiden aunts 
nor school marms.  "I've been a hacker longer than some of  these 
kids  have been alive. It all started back in . . ."   and   Mike 
"Bootleg" Beketic commenced on the first of hundreds of war-story 
jail  house tales to entertain him and us.  Bootleg loves a  good 

"Jail ain't so bad," he  bragged with a huge whiskey smile.   "No 
one fucked with me.  You gotta make friends early on.  Then  it's 
OK."  Good advice, I guess.  "On parole I got slammed with a year 
for  piss that didn't pass."  Gotta be clean, my man.  Stay  away 
from that shit.  It'll kill you and your teeth will rot. 

Bootleg  handed  me  form PROB-37, (Rev. 1/94)  from  the  United 
States District Court, Federal Probation System.  Grins from  ear 
to ear.  A badge of honor for villains, thieves, and  scoundrels. 
Sounds like they need their own union.

This was the official "Permission To Travel" form dated June  16, 
1994 which gave Bootleg the legal right to travel from Oregon  to 
Las Vegas in the dead of the summer to attend a "computer conven
tion."   The flight times were specific as were the conditions of 
his  freedom.   He had to inform the local cops that  he  was  in 
town.   In  case any crimes occurred throughout the city  of  Las 
Vegas during his sojourn, he was an easily identifiable suspect.  

While  he downed another Jack and coke I found out  what  Bootleg 
was really doing.  Despite the fact that the "Federal Keep  Track 
of a Crook Travel Form" said, "you are prohibited from  advertis
ing  or  selling  your DMV  CD,"  the  paranoia that runs rampant  
through the minds of prison bureaucracy was actually in this case  
quite correctly concerned. 

"What's a DMV CD?"

"I'm glad you asked."  I was set up.  The edict said he  couldn't 
sell  or  advertise, but there was no provision stating  that  he 
couldn't answer questions from an inquiring mind.

Bootleg handed me a CD ROM:

			Bootleg Presents:

		- Over 2 Million Oregon Drivers License Records
		- Over 3 Million Oregon License Plate Records

The inside jacket clearly stated that this information was not to 
be used by any creatively nefarious types for any sort of person
al Information Warfare tactics.  It warns,

Do not use this CD to:

	- Make phony Licenses
	- Make phony Titles
	- Obtain phony I.D.
	- Harass Politicians, Cops or Journalists
	- Stalk Celebrities
	- Get ME in trouble <G>

I  can come up with at least 1001 other uses for this  collection 
of  information  that the Oregon authorities are none  too  happy 
about.   The  ones  Bootleg outlined never  came  into  my  mind.  
(Heh!) Bootleg acquired the information legally.  State officials 
were kind enough to violate the electronic souls of its  citizens 
by sending Bootleg their driver's information magnetically embla
zoned  on  a 3600 foot long piece of 9 track acetate.   Now  they 
want  to  change the law to reflect "heart felt concern  for  the 
privacy of their citizens."  Get a clue, or if none's  available, 
buy one from Vanna.  

Bootleg  is  moving onto the next 47 states (California  and  New 
York don't permit this kind of shenanigans) shortly to make  sure 
that  everyone  has equal access.  Hacking? Of  course.   Bootleg 
effectively  hacked  the Oregon DMV with their blessing  and  tax 
payer paid-for assistance. 

Time  to  go back to my room while Bootleg and friends  spent  an 
evening  of apparently unsuccessful whoring around the Strip  and 
Glitter Gulch.

A good time was had by all.

			* * * * *

Jeff  Moss  opened  the Sunday morning session  with  an  ominous 

"You'll  notice that the wet bar is missing from the  rear?"   It 
had  been  there yesterday.  Everyone turns around to  look.   "I 
gotta  pay for the damage . . . "  Jeff was not a  happy  camper.  
"They  have my credit card number and it's almost full.  So  cool 
it!" But the show must go on and we had more to learn.

Next.   Anonymous mailers on the net?  Forget about it.  No  such 
thing. Anonymous remailers, even if they are in Norway or Finland 
or some such other country where American information  contraband 
such  as child pornography is legal, are only as safe and  secure 
as the people who run it

"The  FBI can go over any time they want and look up who you  are 
and  what kinds of stuff you swallow down your  digital  throat," 
one  speaker  announced.  Of course that's ridiculous.   The  FBI 
would  have to call in the Boy Scouts or Russian Mafia  for  that 
kind of operation, but we all knew that anyway.  A slight slip of 
the ad lib tongue.  No harm done.  

I  didn't know, until this Sunday, that there were actually  real 
live versions of "Pump Up The Volume" running rampant across  the 
country,  impinging their commercial-free low power radio  broad
casts into an electromagnetic spectrum owned and operated by  the 
Federal  Communications Commission.  And, as to be expected,  the 
FCC  is trying to put these relatively harmless stations  out  of 
business  along with Howard Stern and Don Imus.  One would  think 
that WABC or KLAC or any other major market stations would little 
care  if a podunk 20 watt radio station was squeezing in  between 
assigned  frequencies.  And they probably shouldn't.  But, as  we 
learned, the Military lent an innocent hand.  

In  support of the hobbies of servicemen, a local  San  Francisco 
base commander gave approval for a group of soldiers to establish 
a small, low power radio station for the base.  Good for  morale, 
keep the men out of the bars: you know the bit.

But  the  ballistic missiles went off when the  nation's  premier 
rating service, Arbitron, listed KFREE as a top local station  in 
the San Francisco market.

"What station KFREE?"  "Who the hell are they?"  "What the fuck?"

Needless to say, KFREE was costing the legitimate radio  stations 
money  because  advertising rates are based upon  the  number  of 
listeners not up and peeing during commercials.  Since KFREE  was 
ad-free,  no contest.  Arbitron assumes the rating to relect  the 
existence  of  a real station - the numbers are there -  and  the 
local  stations  call the FCC and the FCC calls the base  and  as 
quick as you can scream, "Feds suck!" KFREE is off the air.  


I  was scheduled to speak today, but with the schedule  seemingly 
slipping  forward  and backward at  random  haphazard  intervals, 
there  was  no telling when what would occur.  Mark  Ludwig,  of   
Virus Writing Contest fame and author of the much touted  "Little 
Black  Book  of Computer Viruses" Virus gave a less  then  impas
sioned speech about the evils of government.

"I know most of you don't have any assets other than your comput
er,"  Ludwig  said to the poverty stricken masses of  DefCon  II.  
"But  you will, and you want to make sure the government  doesn't 
come  crashing down around you whenever they want.  They can  and 
will  take your life away if it suits them.  There is  no  fourth 
amendment.   Most  search and seizures are illegal."  And  so  it 

"Put your money off shore, kids," said Dr. Ludwig the theoretical 
physicist.   "Find a good friendly country with flexible  banking 
laws and the Feds can't get you."

"And  when the Feds do come for you, make sure that  your  entire 
life is on your computer.  Rip up the papers after you scan  them 
in.   Your all-electronic life cannot be penetrated -  especially 
if  you get a case of the forgets.  'Oops, I forgot my  password. 
Oops! I forgot my encryption key.  Oops! I forgot my name.'"

"Even your VISA and Mastercard accounts should be from  overseas.  
Keep it out of the US and you'll be all the better for it."   For 
those interested in such alternative, Ludwig recommends that  you 
call  Mark Nestman: of LPP Ltd. at 800-528-0559 or  702-885-2509.  
Tell  him you want to move your millions of rubbles  and  dollars 
and Cyber-credits overseas for safe keeping because the Byzantine 
Police are at the front door as you speak.  Order pamphlet 103.
These  are the defensive measures we can take  protect  ourselves 
against the emerging Police State.  But offensive action is  also 
called  for, he says.  "Help Phil Zimmerman.  Send him money  for 
his  defense.   Then, laugh at the Feds!"  Haha, haha.   Haha.  
Hahahahahaha.  Ha!

."When they come to the door, just laugh at them."  Haha.   Haha
ha.  Haha.  "No matter what they do, laugh at them."  Hahahahaha.   
Enough  of  that,  please.  If I laugh at  6  husky  beer-bellied 
Cyber-cops  who have an arsenal of  handguns pointed at my  head, 
they  might as well send me to the Group W bench  to  commiserate 
with  Arlo Guthrie.  Peeing would come before laughing. But  then 
again,  I'm no longer a grunged out 20 year old who can laugh  in 
the face of  the Grim Reaper.  "Yes, ossifer, sir.  I'm a  cyber-
crook.  I ain't laughing at you in your face, ossifer, sir . . ."  
I panic easily.  Kissing ass well comes from a life long  success 
of quid pro quo'ing my way from situation to situation. 

"And, now," Master Mark announced, "on to the results and  awards 
for  the Annual Virus Writing contest."  Ludwig  seemed  suddenly 
depressed.   "Unfortunately, we only got one  legitimate  entry."  
One  entry?   The media plastered his contest across  the  media-
waves and the National Computer Security Association was planning 
a  tactical nuclear response.  One entry?  What kind  of  subver
sives have 20 year olds turned into anyway?  In my day (Yeah, I'm 
old  enough  to use that phrase) if we called for  a    political  
demonstration thousands would pile through the subway  turnstiles 
to  meet a phalanx of well armed police appropriately attired  in 
riot  gear.  One entry?  Come on X-Generation, you can do  better 
than  that?   No wonder the world's going to  shit.   Don't  have 
enough trouble from the young-uns.   Sheeeeeeesssh!

Mark  Ludwig's  politically incorrect virus writing  contest  may 
have  been  a  PR success but it was a  business  abortion.   One 
entry.  Shit.  At the NCSA meeting in Washington,  rivaling  fac
tions battled over how we as an association should respond.  

"Hang the bastard."  "He's what's wrong with world."  "Put him in 
a county jail with Billy-Bob, Jimmy-Ray and Bubba for a week  and 
they'll be able to squeeze him out between the bars."

C'mon  you fools! Ignore him! Ignore him! If you don't like  what 
he has to say don't egg him on. Ignore him.  You want to do  what 
the  Feds  did to poor Phil Zimmerman and make him a  folk  hero?  
Turning a non-event into the lead for the evening news is not the 
way  to  make something go away. I loudly advocated  that  he  be 
treated  as a non-entity if the goal was reduction to  obscurity.   
I was right.  

Super-high priced PR and lobby firms had prepared presentation to 
wage an all-out attack on Ludwig and his contest.  I bet! And who 
was going to pay for this?  Peter Tippitt of Semantech ponied  up 
what  I believe amounted to $7,000 to get the pot going.  No  one 
else made a firm offer. Can't blame them cause it would have been 
no  more effective than taking out an ad in Time proclaiming that 
evil  is bad.  The PR firm would have made their fees, the  event 
would  have made even more news and Ludwig  would certainly  have 
had to make a judgement and choose from more than one entry.

But oddly enough, the one entry did not win.

The  winner of the Annual Virus Writing Contest was no less  than 
Bob Bales, Executive Director of the NCSA.  Not that Bob wrote  a 
program, but if  he had, Ludwig  said, it  would be called either 
Don Quixote  or Paranoia, and it would be  of the human brain at- 
tacking Meme type.  The  virus is a software equivalent of Prozac 
to  alleviate  the  suffering  in  middle-aged males  who have no 
purpose in life  other than virus busting.  

"Is Winn Schwartau here?" Mark asked the audience.  

I was there. "Yo!"  

"Would you tell Bob that he's won a plaque, and a $100 check  and 
a  full  year  subscription to the  Computer  Virus  Developments 
Quarterly."   I'm  the technology advisor to the NCSA so  it  was 
a natural request to which I was pleased to oblige.

I  told  Bob about his 15 minutes of fame at DefCon to  which  he 
roared  in laughter.  "Good! Then I won't have to  subscribe  my

I  spoke  next.   Jeff introduced me by  saying,  "Winn  says  he 
doesn't  want to speak to an empty room so he's gonna talk  now."  
Some introduction. But, what a great audience!  Better than  most 
of  the security above-ground starched sphincter tight  suit  and 
tie  conference audiences I normally get.  But then again, I  get 
paid  handsomely to address legitimate audiences where I have  to 
be politically correct.  At DefCon, insulting people was the last 
thing  I  worried about.  It was what I focused on,  onstage  and 

"Hey, kid.  Did you ever land Zimmerman in bed?"  

"You, you, er . . ."  

"C'mon kid. Give me your best shot."

"Your mother . . ."  A crowd gathered to see what kind of  repar
tee  this little schnook could come up with.  "Your mother ..  ."  
C'mon  kid.  You  got it in you. C'mon.  "You, she is a   .  .  . 
uh,  .  . . mother . . ." and he finally skulked  away  in  sheer 
embarrassment.   Poor kid.  When he went to the men's  room,  men 
walked out.  Poor kid.  I don't think he ever figured out it  was 
all a put on.

The audience got it, though.  Rather than go over what I  rambled 
about for an hour, here comes a blatant plug: Go buy my new  book 
"Information  Warfare:  Chaos on  the  Electronic  Superhighway."  
That'll sum it up real nice and neat.  But what a great audience. 

Little did I know, though, that I was also on trial.

John Markoff of the New York Times was the first to ask, and then 
a  couple of buddies asked and then a lady asked during  the  Q&A 
portion of my ad hoc ad lib speech.  "How come you did it?"   Did 
what?  "How come you flamed Lenny DeCicco?"  

It  turns  out that someone adapted my  electronic  identity  and 
logged  on to the WELL in Sausalito, CA and proceeded to  post  a 
deep  flame  against Lenny.  Among other  none-too-subtle  asper
sions, 'my' posting accused Lenny of a whole string of crimes  of 
Information Warfare and even out and out theft. 

Except,  it wasn't me.  I answered the lady's question with,  "It 
wasn't me, I don't know Lenny and I don't have an account on  the 
WELL."    That satisfied everyone except for me.   What  happened 
and  why?   It seems that Lenny's former partner in  crime  Most-
Wanted on the lam federal fugitive computer hacker Kevin  Mitnick 
actually  wrote  and  signed the letter with  his  initials.   Or 
someone  was spoofing him and me at the same time.  But why?  And 
why me?

It took a couple of days after arriving home from DefCon to learn 
after  extensive conversations with the WELL that my  erased  ac
count from almost two years ago and then re-erased on June 20  of 
this  year  was accidentally turned back on  by  some  mysterious 
administrative process that I cannot claim to fathom.  OK, that's 
what they said.  

But perhaps most interesting of the entire Getting Spoofed  inci
dent  was a single comment that Pei Chen, sysop of the WELL  said 
to  me  while I complained about how such  an  awful  anti-social 
attack was clearly reprehensible.  Oh, it's simple, she said.

"We  have no security."  Whooaaaahhh!  The WELL? No security?   I 
love  it.   I  absolutely love it.  Major  service  provider,  no 
security.  Go get 'em cowboy.

The  only  other speaker I wanted to see was Peter  Beruk,  chief 
litigator for the Software Publisher's Association.  This is  the 
Big  Software  Company sponsored organization which  attempts  to 
privately  interdict illegal software distribution as  a  prelude 
for both civil and criminal prosecutions.  And with this group of 
digital anarchists, no less.

The  SPA scrounges around 1600 private BBS's to see who's  making 
illicit  copies  of   Microsoft Word or Quattro  For  Weanies  or 
Bulgarian  for Bimbos or other legitimate software that the  pub
lishers  would  rather receive their due income from  then  being 

"Which boards are you on?"

"That would be telling."  Big grin and laughs.

"Is your BBS secure?"  A challenge in the making.

"Sure is."

"Is that an offer to see if we can break in?"  Challenge made.

"Ahem, cough, cough." Challenge denied.

"What  name do you use on the boards?"  Idiot question  that  de
serves an idiot answer.

"Fred."  Laughs.

"You  mean  you have a full time guy to  download  software  from 
boards to see if it's legal or not?"  "Yup."

"So,  you pay people to commit felonies?"  Astutely stupid  ques

"We have permission."

"Why should we have to pay rip-off corporations too much money to 
use really shitty software?"

"So don't buy it."

"We don't.  It's so shitty that it's barely worth stealing."

"So don't steal it."

"Just want to check it out, dude."

"Scum  sucking  imperialists are making all of  the  money.   The 
software  designers  are getting ripped off by the  big  software 
bureaucracies.   Power  to the people."   Every  generation  goes 
through this naively innocent berating of capitalism.  It doesn't 
make  them  Communists (in 1950 it did), just  not  full  fledged 
capitalist  pigs themselves yet.  Soon come.  Vis a vis  Ludwig's 
comment on the asset-deprived audience.  Soon come, man.

"We go after BBS's that store illegal software."

"So you're gonna put Compuserve in jail?"  Big, big applause.  

Despite the openly verbal animosity between the free-ware believ
ers  and  the Chief Software Cop, the spirited  and  entertaining 
disagreements  maintained a healthy good natured tone  that  well 
exceed Peter's time limit, as DefCon II was coming to a close.  

It was time for one more stand up comedy attempt by a short haired 
bandanna wearing hippie/hacker/phreak who was not quite up to the 

"OK,  guys.   We've had some fun at the  Feds  expense.   They're 
people, too.  So, from now on, it's Hug a Fed.  Go on, find a fed 
and go up to him or her and big them a great big bear hug full of 
love."  The Feds that had been busted were gone.  The ones  still 
successfully  undercover weren't about to blow it for a quick  feel 
from a horny teenager.

Next.   The Cliff Stoll doll with an assortment of accessory  yo-
yos  was a popular item. It was thrown pell-mell into the  crowds 
who  leapt at it with a vengeance like a baseball bleachers  sec
tion awaiting the 61st home run.

"There  used to be a Wife of Cliff Stoll doll, but no one's  seen 
it  in two years."  Cliff is strange.  I don't know if he's  that 
strange, but it was a funny bit.

"Then  we have the LoD/MoD action figure set starring Erik  Bloo
daxe  and  Phiber Optik."  GI Joe action  set  gone  underground.  
Corny,  but appreciated as hundreds of bodies dove to  catch  the 
plastic relics tossed from the stage.

If anything, an anti-climatic end to an otherwise highly informa
tive  and  educational conference.  I can hardly wait  till  next 
year  when, after word gets out, DefCon III will be  attended  by 
thousands  of hackers and cops and narks who will try to  replay   
the Summer of Cyber-Love '94 for a sequel.

			* * * * * 

More  than anything I wanted to get away from the  Sahara.   Away 
from  its nauseatingly chromatic carpets, it's hundreds  of  sur
veillance  cameras,  and  most of all, away  from  its  exploding 

We decided to play, and play we did at the new Luxor Hotel  which 
is an amazing pyramid with 4000+ rooms. There are no elevators as 
in  a pyramid 'going up' is kind of useless, so Inclinators  take 
passengers  up  the  30 some odd floors to  hallways  which  ring 
around the impossibly huge hollowed out pyramid shaped atrium.

This was play land.  And for three hours we played and played and 
went  to dumb shows that attract mid-western mamas  from  Noodnick, 
Kentucky, alighting in Vegas  for their annual RV pilgrimage. But  
we went and enjoyed none the less. 

The "Live TV" show was anything but live except for lovely  Susan 
who  hosted  us into the ersatz TV station.  Her job is  to  look 
pretty,  sound pretty and warm up the crowd for an  over  budget, 
overproduced schmaltz driven video projection that was to make us 
all  feel like we were on stage with Dave.  Letterman,  that  is.  
The effect does not work.  But we enjoyed ourselves, anyway.

"Everyone here on vacation?"

"No!" I yelled out.  Poor Susan was stunned.  No?  Why else would 
you be here?

"What  are  you doing?"  The TV audience of 500 was  looking  our 
way.   Between the five of us we had a million dollars  (give  or 
take) of electronic wizardry stuffed around us, beneath us and in 
our laps.  

"Working." Gee, I'm quick.

"What  do you do?"  Susan asked with a straight face.  I bet  she 
expected something like gas pumper, or nocturnal mortuary  forni
cator or 7/11 clerk.

"We're hacking for Jesus.  This is Cyber Christ!" I said pointing 
at Erik Bloodaxe.

Silence.  Dead silence again.  Sleep with Phil Zimmerman silence.  
Except for us.  We giggled like school boys.  Psyche.

"Ah,  .  . . that's nice." That was all she could come  up  with: 
That's  nice.   So  much for ad libbing  or  deviating  from  the 
script.   But  the TV audience enjoyed it.  A  whole  lot.   They 
finally  figured out it was put on.  Not every one from the  Mid-
West is as stupid as they all pretend to be.

Then  it was time to get sick.  VR rides do me in, but not to  be 
publicly  humiliated by my 20-something cohorts (and  Mike  Peros 
with  whom I had to travel yet another 2000 miles that  night)  I 
jumped right into an F-14 simulator which rotated 360 degrees  on 
two gimbals for an infinite variety of nauseousness.

"Oh, shit!" I yelled as I propelled myself forward and around and 
sideways with sufficient g-force to disgorge even the most delec
table meal.  "Oh, shit." I had reversed the throttle and was  now 
spinning  end  over end backwards.  My inner ear was  getting  my 
stomach  sick. "Oh, shit."  Out of the corner of my eyes my  four 
pals  were  doubled over in laughter.  Had I barfed yet  and  not 
known it?  God, I hope not.  "Oh, shit." I came to a dead  stand
still,  the video screen showed me plummeting to earth at  escape 
velocity and I pushed the throttle forward as roughly as I could.  
An  innate survival instinct came in to play.  "Oh,  shit!"   The 
virtual  aircraft  carrier  came into sight and  after  almost  2 
minutes of high speed rotating revulsion, I was expected to  land 
this  spinning F-14 on a thimble in the ocean.  Right.  I  tried, 
and damned if I didn't make it.  I have no idea how, but I got an 
extra  34,000  points  for a safe  landing.  120  seconds.  Ding.  
Time's up.

I got out of the simulator and spilled right onto the floor;  one 
42  year old pile of humanity who had navigated nausea but  whose 
balance  was  totally beyond repair. "Could anyone  hear  me?"  I 
asked from my knees.

"They were selling tickets."

"Do I get my money back?"

Onto  the  VR race cars.  I really thought I'd throw  up  to  the 
amusement  of a thousand onlookers. Hacking then  phreaking  then 
flying  and  now  driving.   I put the pedal  to  the  metal  and 
crashed.  The huge video display has me tipping end over end  and 
the  screen  is  shaking and the car I'm  driving  is  shuddering 
violently but my brain can't compute it all.  I'm gonna wretch, I 
just  know  it.  But I keep on driving,  decidedly  last  against 
people  who haven't been handicapped with an inner ear so  sensi
tive I get dizzy when I watch a 5" black and white TV.

We  tilted out of there and alas, it was time to find  a  200,000 
pound of metal to glide me home. It was a damn good thing I hadn't 
eaten  before VR Land, but I wolfed down $3 hot dogs at the  air
port  knowing  full well that whatever they served on  the  plane 
would be a thousand times worse.  So Mike and I munched,  leaving 
Cyber Christ and friends to battle the press and the stars at the 
opening of Planet Hollywood at Caesar's Palace.
And then an unexpected surprise. Lisa and friend; our first class 
objects of flirtation from the outbound trip which seemed like  a 
month ago, appeared.  But we were all so wiped out that a  conti
nent of innuendo turned into a series of short cat naps.  We  got 
a  few  flirts  in,  but nothing to write home  about.  Red  Eye   
flights are just not what they're cracked up to be.  

As  I  crawled into bed at something like 7AM  Eastern,  my  wife 
awoke  enough to ask the perennial wife question.  "What did  you 
do  all weekend?"  I, in turn, gave her the usual  husbandly  re

"Oh, nothing.  Good night, Gracie."

			* * * * * 

(C) 1994 Winn Schwartau
Winn  Schwartau is an information security  consultant,  lecturer 
and, obviously, a writer.  Please go buy his new book:  "Informa
tion Warfare: Chaos on the Electronic Superhighway." Available at 
book   stores  everywhere.   Winn  can  be  reached  at:   Voice: 
813.393.6600 or E-mail: P00506@Psilink.com
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