From The Hacker Crackdown
, by Bruce Sterling
See: The Hacker Crackdown: Preface to the electronic release
for copying info
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Task Force, led by federal prosecutor William J. Cook, had started in 1987 and had swiftly become one of the most aggressive local "dedicated computer-crime units." Chicago was a natural home for such a group. The world's first computer bulletin-board system had been invented in Illinois. The state of Illinois had some of the nation's first and sternest computer crime laws. Illinois State Police were markedly alert to the possibilities of white-collar crime and electronic fraud. And William J. Cook in particular was a rising star in electronic crime-busting. He and his fellow federal prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago had a tight relation with the Secret Service, especially go-getting Chicago-based agent Timothy Foley. While Cook and his Department of Justice colleagues plotted strategy, Foley was their man on the street.
Throughout the 1980s, the federal government had given prosecutors an armory of new, untried legal tools against computer crime. Cook and his colleagues were pioneers in the use of these new statutes in the real-life cut-and-thrust of the federal courtroom. On October 2, 1986, the US Senate had passed the "Computer Fraud and Abuse Act" unanimously, but there were pitifully few convictions under this statute. Cook's group took their name from this statute, since they were determined to transform this powerful but rather theoretical Act of Congress into a real-life engine of legal destruction against computer fraudsters and scofflaws.
It was not a question of merely discovering crimes, investigating them, and then trying and punishing their perpetrators. The Chicago unit, like most everyone else in the business, already *knew* who the bad guys were: the Legion of Doom and the writers and editors of *Phrack.* The task at hand was to find some legal means of putting these characters away.
This approach might seem a bit dubious, to someone not acquainted with the gritty realities of prosecutorial work. But prosecutors don't put people in jail for crimes they have committed; they put people in jail for crimes they have committed *that can be proved in court.* Chicago federal police put Al Capone in prison for income-tax fraud. Chicago is a big town, with a rough-and-ready bare-knuckle tradition on both sides of the law. Fry Guy had broken the case wide open and alerted telco security to the scope of the problem. But Fry Guy's crimes would not put the Atlanta Three behind bars -- much less the wacko underground journalists of *Phrack.* So on July 22, 1989, the same day that Fry Guy was raided in Indiana, the Secret Service descended upon the Atlanta Three. This was likely inevitable. By the summer of 1989, law enforcement were closing in on the Atlanta Three from at least six directions at once. First, there were the leads from Fry Guy, which had led to the DNR registers being installed on the lines of the Atlanta Three. The DNR evidence alone would have finished them off, sooner or later.
But second, the Atlanta lads were already well-known to Control-C and his telco security sponsors. LoD's contacts with telco security had made them overconfident and even more boastful than usual; they felt that they had powerful friends in high places, and that they were being openly tolerated by telco security. But BellSouth's Intrusion Task Force were hot on the trail of LoD and sparing no effort or expense.
The Atlanta Three had also been identified by name and listed on the extensive anti-hacker files maintained, and retailed for pay, by private security operative John Maxfield of Detroit. Maxfield, who had extensive ties to telco security and many informants in the underground, was a bete noire of the *Phrack* crowd, and the dislike was mutual.
The Atlanta Three themselves had written articles for *Phrack.* This boastful act could not possibly escape telco and law enforcement attention.
"Knightmare," a high-school age hacker from Arizona, was a close friend and disciple of Atlanta LoD, but he had been nabbed by the formidable Arizona Organized Crime and Racketeering Unit. Knightmare was on some of LoD's favorite boards -- "Black Ice" in particular -- and was privy to their secrets. And to have Gail Thackeray, the Assistant Attorney General of Arizona, on one's trail was a dreadful peril for any hacker. And perhaps worst of all, Prophet had committed a major blunder by passing an illicitly copied BellSouth computer-file to Knight Lightning, who had published it in *Phrack.* This, as we will see, was an act of dire consequence for almost everyone concerned.
On July 22, 1989, the Secret Service showed up at the Leftist's house, where he lived with his parents. A massive squad of some twenty officers surrounded the building: Secret Service, federal marshals, local police, possibly BellSouth telco security; it was hard to tell in the crush. Leftist's dad, at work in his basement office, first noticed a muscular stranger in plain clothes crashing through the back yard with a drawn pistol. As more strangers poured into the house, Leftist's dad naturally assumed there was an armed robbery in progress.
Like most hacker parents, Leftist's mom and dad had only the vaguest notions of what their son had been up to all this time. Leftist had a day-job repairing computer hardware. His obsession with computers seemed a bit odd, but harmless enough, and likely to produce a well-paying career. The sudden, overwhelming raid left Leftist's parents traumatized.
The Leftist himself had been out after work with his co-workers, surrounding a couple of pitchers of margaritas. As he came trucking on tequila-numbed feet up the pavement, toting a bag full of floppy-disks, he noticed a large number of unmarked cars parked in his driveway. All the cars sported tiny microwave antennas.
The Secret Service had knocked the front door off its hinges, almost flattening his Mom. Inside, Leftist was greeted by Special Agent James Cool of the US Secret Service, Atlanta office. Leftist was flabbergasted. He'd never met a Secret Service agent before. He could not imagine that he'd ever done anything worthy of federal attention. He'd always figured that if his activities became intolerable, one of his contacts in telco security would give him a private phone-call and tell him to knock it off. But now Leftist was pat-searched for weapons by grim professionals, and his bag of floppies was quickly seized. He and his parents were all shepherded into separate rooms and grilled at length as a score of officers scoured their home for anything electronic. Leftist was horrified as his treasured IBM AT personal computer with its forty-meg hard disk, and his recently purchased 80386 IBM-clone with a whopping hundred-meg hard disk, both went swiftly out the door in Secret Service custody. They also seized all his disks, all his notebooks, and a tremendous booty in dogeared telco documents that Leftist had snitched out of trash dumpsters.
Leftist figured the whole thing for a big misunderstanding. He'd never been into *military* computers. He wasn't a *spy* or a *Communist.* He was just a good ol' Georgia hacker, and now he just wanted all these people out of the house. But it seemed they wouldn't go until he made some kind of statement. And so, he levelled with them.
And that, Leftist said later from his federal prison camp in Talladega, Alabama, was a big mistake.
The Atlanta area was unique, in that it had three members of the Legion of Doom who actually occupied more or less the same physical locality. Unlike the rest of LoD, who tended to associate by phone and computer, Atlanta LoD actually *were* "tightly knit." It was no real surprise that the Secret Service agents apprehending Urvile at the computer-labs at Georgia Tech, would discover Prophet with him as well.
Urvile, a 21-year-old Georgia Tech student in polymer chemistry, posed quite a puzzling case for law enforcement. Urvile -- also known as "Necron 99," as well as other handles, for he tended to change his cover-alias about once a month -- was both an accomplished hacker and a fanatic simulation-gamer. Simulation games are an unusual hobby; but then hackers are unusual people, and their favorite pastimes tend to be somewhat out of the ordinary. The best-known American simulation game is probably "Dungeons & Dragons," a multi-player parlor entertainment played with paper, maps, pencils, statistical tables and a variety of oddly-shaped dice. Players pretend to be heroic characters exploring a wholly-invented fantasy world. The fantasy worlds of simulation gaming are commonly pseudo-medieval, involving swords and sorcery -- spell-casting wizards, knights in armor, unicorns and dragons, demons and goblins.
Urvile and his fellow gamers preferred their fantasies highly technological. They made use of a game known as "G.U.R.P.S.," the "Generic Universal Role Playing System," published by a company called Steve Jackson Games (SJG).
"G.U.R.P.S." served as a framework for creating a wide variety of artificial fantasy worlds. Steve Jackson Games published a smorgasboard of books, full of detailed information and gaming hints, which were used to flesh-out many different fantastic backgrounds for the basic GURPS framework. Urvile made extensive use of two SJG books called *GURPS High-Tech* and *GURPS Special Ops.* In the artificial fantasy-world of *GURPS Special Ops,* players entered a modern fantasy of intrigue and international espionage. On beginning the game, players started small and powerless, perhaps as minor-league CIA agents or penny-ante arms dealers. But as players persisted through a series of game sessions (game sessions generally lasted for hours, over long, elaborate campaigns that might be pursued for months on end) then they would achieve new skills, new knowledge, new power. They would acquire and hone new abilities, such as marksmanship, karate, wiretapping, or Watergate burglary. They could also win various kinds of imaginary booty, like Berettas, or martini shakers, or fast cars with ejection seats and machine-guns under the headlights.
As might be imagined from the complexity of these games, Urvile's gaming notes were very detailed and extensive. Urvile was a "dungeon-master," inventing scenarios for his fellow gamers, giant simulated adventure-puzzles for his friends to unravel. Urvile's game notes covered dozens of pages with all sorts of exotic lunacy, all about ninja raids on Libya and break-ins on encrypted Red Chinese supercomputers. His notes were written on scrap-paper and kept in loose-leaf binders.
The handiest scrap paper around Urvile's college digs were the many pounds of BellSouth printouts and documents that he had snitched out of telco dumpsters. His notes were written on the back of misappropriated telco property. Worse yet, the gaming notes were chaotically interspersed with Urvile's hand-scrawled records involving *actual computer intrusions* that he had committed. Not only was it next to impossible to tell Urvile's fantasy game-notes from cyberspace "reality," but Urvile himself barely made this distinction. It's no exaggeration to say that to Urvile it was *all* a game. Urvile was very bright, highly imaginative, and quite careless of other people's notions of propriety. His connection to "reality" was not something to which he paid a great deal of attention. Hacking was a game for Urvile. It was an amusement he was carrying out, it was something he was doing for fun. And Urvile was an obsessive young man. He could no more stop hacking than he could stop in the middle of a jigsaw puzzle, or stop in the middle of reading a Stephen Donaldson fantasy trilogy. (The name "Urvile" came from a best-selling Donaldson novel.) Urvile's airy, bulletproof attitude seriously annoyed his interrogators. First of all, he didn't consider that he'd done anything wrong. There was scarcely a shred of honest remorse in him. On the contrary, he seemed privately convinced that his police interrogators were operating in a demented fantasy-world all their own. Urvile was too polite and well-behaved to say this straight-out, but his reactions were askew and disquieting.
For instance, there was the business about LoD's ability to monitor phone-calls to the police and Secret Service. Urvile agreed that this was quite possible, and posed no big problem for LoD. In fact, he and his friends had kicked the idea around on the "Black Ice" board, much as they had discussed many other nifty notions, such as building personal flame-throwers and jury-rigging fistfulls of blasting-caps. They had hundreds of dial-up numbers for government agencies that they'd gotten through scanning Atlanta phones, or had pulled from raided VAX/VMS mainframe computers. Basically, they'd never gotten around to listening in on the cops because the idea wasn't interesting enough to bother with. Besides, if they'd been monitoring Secret Service phone calls, obviously they'd never have been caught in the first place. Right?
The Secret Service was less than satisfied with this rapier-like hacker logic.
Then there was the issue of crashing the phone system. No problem, Urvile admitted sunnily. Atlanta LoD could have shut down phone service all over Atlanta any time they liked. *Even the 911 service?* Nothing special about that, Urvile explained patiently. Bring the switch to its knees, with say the UNIX "makedir" bug, and 911 goes down too as a matter of course. The 911 system wasn't very interesting, frankly. It might be tremendously interesting to cops (for odd reasons of their own), but as technical challenges went, the 911 service was yawnsville.
So of course the Atlanta Three could crash service. They probably could have crashed service all over BellSouth territory, if they'd worked at it for a while. But Atlanta LoD weren't crashers. Only losers and rodents were crashers. LoD were *elite.*
Urvile was privately convinced that sheer technical expertise could win him free of any kind of problem. As far as he was concerned, elite status in the digital underground had placed him permanently beyond the intellectual grasp of cops and straights. Urvile had a lot to learn.
Of the three LoD stalwarts, Prophet was in the most direct trouble. Prophet was a UNIX programming expert who burrowed in and out of the Internet as a matter of course. He'd started his hacking career at around age 14, meddling with a UNIX mainframe system at the University of North Carolina. Prophet himself had written the handy Legion of Doom file "UNIX Use and Security From the Ground Up." UNIX (pronounced "you-nicks") is a powerful, flexible computer operating-system, for multi-user, multi-tasking computers. In 1969, when UNIX was created in Bell Labs, such computers were exclusive to large corporations and universities, but today UNIX is run on thousands of powerful home machines. UNIX was particularly well-suited to telecommunications programming, and had become a standard in the field. Naturally, UNIX also became a standard for the elite hacker and phone phreak.
Lately, Prophet had not been so active as Leftist and Urvile, but Prophet was a recidivist. In 1986, when he was eighteen, Prophet had been convicted of "unauthorized access to a computer network" in North Carolina. He'd been discovered breaking into the Southern Bell Data Network, a UNIX-based internal telco network supposedly closed to the public. He'd gotten a typical hacker sentence: six months suspended, 120 hours community service, and three years' probation.
After that humiliating bust, Prophet had gotten rid of most of his tonnage of illicit phreak and hacker data, and had tried to go straight. He was, after all, still on probation. But by the autumn of 1988, the temptations of cyberspace had proved too much for young Prophet, and he was shoulder-to-shoulder with Urvile and Leftist into some of the hairiest systems around. In early September 1988, he'd broken into BellSouth's centralized automation system, AIMSX or "Advanced Information Management System." AIMSX was an internal business network for BellSouth, where telco employees stored electronic mail, databases, memos, and calendars, and did text processing. Since AIMSX did not have public dial-ups, it was considered utterly invisible to the public, and was not well-secured -- it didn't even require passwords. Prophet abused an account known as "waa1," the personal account of an unsuspecting telco employee. Disguised as the owner of waa1, Prophet made about ten visits to AIMSX.
Prophet did not damage or delete anything in the system. His presence in AIMSX was harmless and almost invisible. But he could not rest content with that.
One particular piece of processed text on AIMSX was a telco document known as "Bell South Standard Practice 660-225-104SV Control Office Administration of Enhanced 911 Services for Special Services and Major Account Centers dated March 1988."
Prophet had not been looking for this document. It was merely one among hundreds of similar documents with impenetrable titles. However, having blundered over it in the course of his illicit wanderings through AIMSX, he decided to take it with him as a trophy. It might prove very useful in some future boasting, bragging, and strutting session. So, some time in September 1988, Prophet ordered the AIMSX mainframe computer to copy this document (henceforth called simply called "the E911 Document") and to transfer this copy to his home computer.
No one noticed that Prophet had done this. He had "stolen" the E911 Document in some sense, but notions of property in cyberspace can be tricky. BellSouth noticed nothing wrong, because BellSouth still had their original copy. They had not been "robbed" of the document itself. Many people were supposed to copy this document -- specifically, people who worked for the nineteen BellSouth "special services and major account centers," scattered throughout the Southeastern United States. That was what it was for, why it was present on a computer network in the first place: so that it could be copied and read -- by telco employees. But now the data had been copied by someone who wasn't supposed to look at it.
Prophet now had his trophy. But he further decided to store yet another copy of the E911 Document on another person's computer. This unwitting person was a computer enthusiast named Richard Andrews who lived near Joliet, Illinois. Richard Andrews was a UNIX programmer by trade, and ran a powerful UNIX board called "Jolnet," in the basement of his house.
Prophet, using the handle "Robert Johnson," had obtained an account on Richard Andrews' computer. And there he stashed the E911 Document, by storing it in his own private section of Andrews' computer. Why did Prophet do this? If Prophet had eliminated the E911 Document from his own computer, and kept it hundreds of miles away, on another machine, under an alias, then he might have been fairly safe from discovery and prosecution -- although his sneaky action had certainly put the unsuspecting Richard Andrews at risk.
But, like most hackers, Prophet was a pack-rat for illicit data. When it came to the crunch, he could not bear to part from his trophy. When Prophet's place in Decatur, Georgia was raided in July 1989, there was the E911 Document, a smoking gun. And there was Prophet in the hands of the Secret Service, doing his best to "explain."
Our story now takes us away from the Atlanta Three and their raids of the Summer of 1989. We must leave Atlanta Three "cooperating fully" with their numerous investigators. And all three of them did cooperate, as their Sentencing Memorandum from the US District Court of the Northern Division of Georgia explained -- just before all three of them were sentenced to various federal prisons in November 1990.
We must now catch up on the other aspects of the war on the Legion of Doom. The war on the Legion was a war on a network -- in fact, a network of three networks, which intertwined and interrelated in a complex fashion. The Legion itself, with Atlanta LoD, and their hanger-on Fry Guy, were the first network. The second network was *Phrack* magazine, with its editors and contributors. The third network involved the electronic circle around a hacker known as "Terminus."
The war against these hacker networks was carried out by a law enforcement network. Atlanta LoD and Fry Guy were pursued by USSS agents and federal prosecutors in Atlanta, Indiana, and Chicago. "Terminus" found himself pursued by USSS and federal prosecutors from Baltimore and Chicago. And the war against Phrack was almost entirely a Chicago operation.
The investigation of Terminus involved a great deal of energy, mostly from the Chicago Task Force, but it was to be the least-known and least-publicized of the Crackdown operations. Terminus, who lived in Maryland, was a UNIX programmer and consultant, fairly well-known (under his given name) in the UNIX community, as an acknowledged expert on AT&T minicomputers. Terminus idolized AT&T, especially Bellcore, and longed for public recognition as a UNIX expert; his highest ambition was to work for Bell Labs.
But Terminus had odd friends and a spotted history. Terminus had once been the subject of an admiring interview in *Phrack* (Volume II, Issue 14, Phile 2 -- dated May 1987). In this article, *Phrack* co-editor Taran King described "Terminus" as an electronics engineer, 5'9", brown-haired, born in 1959 -- at 28 years old, quite mature for a hacker.
Terminus had once been sysop of a phreak/hack underground board called "MetroNet," which ran on an Apple II. Later he'd replaced "MetroNet" with an underground board called "MegaNet," specializing in IBMs. In his younger days, Terminus had written one of the very first and most elegant code-scanning programs for the IBM-PC. This program had been widely distributed in the underground. Uncounted legions of PC-owning phreaks and hackers had used Terminus's scanner program to rip-off telco codes. This feat had not escaped the attention of telco security; it hardly could, since Terminus's earlier handle, "Terminal Technician," was proudly written right on the program.
When he became a full-time computer professional (specializing in telecommunications programming), he adopted the handle Terminus, meant to indicate that he had "reached the final point of being a proficient hacker." He'd moved up to the UNIX-based "Netsys" board on an AT&T computer, with four phone lines and an impressive 240 megs of storage. "Netsys" carried complete issues of *Phrack,* and Terminus was quite friendly with its publishers, Taran King and Knight Lightning.
In the early 1980s, Terminus had been a regular on Plovernet, Pirate-80, Sherwood Forest and Shadowland, all well-known pirate boards, all heavily frequented by the Legion of Doom. As it happened, Terminus was never officially "in LoD," because he'd never been given the official LoD high-sign and back-slap by Legion maven Lex Luthor. Terminus had never physically met anyone from LoD. But that scarcely mattered much -- the Atlanta Three themselves had never been officially vetted by Lex, either.
As far as law enforcement was concerned, the issues were clear. Terminus was a full-time, adult computer professional with particular skills at AT&T software and hardware -- but Terminus reeked of the Legion of Doom and the underground.
On February 1, 1990 -- half a month after the Martin Luther King Day Crash -- USSS agents Tim Foley from Chicago, and Jack Lewis from the Baltimore office, accompanied by AT&T security officer Jerry Dalton, travelled to Middle Town, Maryland. There they grilled Terminus in his home (to the stark terror of his wife and small children), and, in their customary fashion, hauled his computers out the door.
The Netsys machine proved to contain a plethora of arcane UNIX software -- proprietary source code formally owned by AT&T. Software such as: UNIX System Five Release 3.2; UNIX SV Release 3.1; UUCP communications software; KORN SHELL; RFS; IWB; WWB; DWB; the C++ programming language; PMON; TOOL CHEST; QUEST; DACT, and S FIND.
In the long-established piratical tradition of the underground, Terminus had been trading this illicitly-copied software with a small circle of fellow UNIX programmers. Very unwisely, he had stored seven years of his electronic mail on his Netsys machine, which documented all the friendly arrangements he had made with his various colleagues.
Terminus had not crashed the AT&T phone system on January 15. He was, however, blithely running a not-for-profit AT&T software-piracy ring. This was not an activity AT&T found amusing. AT&T security officer Jerry Dalton valued this "stolen" property at over three hundred thousand dollars.
AT&T's entry into the tussle of free enterprise had been complicated by the new, vague groundrules of the information economy. Until the break-up of Ma Bell, AT&T was forbidden to sell computer hardware or software. Ma Bell was the phone company; Ma Bell was not allowed to use the enormous revenue from telephone utilities, in order to finance any entry into the computer market.
AT&T nevertheless invented the UNIX operating system. And somehow AT&T managed to make UNIX a minor source of income. Weirdly, UNIX was not sold as computer software, but actually retailed under an obscure regulatory exemption allowing sales of surplus equipment and scrap. Any bolder attempt to promote or retail UNIX would have aroused angry legal opposition from computer companies. Instead, UNIX was licensed to universities, at modest rates, where the acids of academic freedom ate away steadily at AT&T's proprietary rights.
Come the breakup, AT&T recognized that UNIX was a potential gold-mine. By now, large chunks of UNIX code had been created that were not AT&T's, and were being sold by others. An entire rival UNIX-based operating system had arisen in Berkeley, California (one of the world's great founts of ideological hackerdom). Today, "hackers" commonly consider "Berkeley UNIX" to be technically superior to AT&T's "System V UNIX," but AT&T has not allowed mere technical elegance to intrude on the real-world business of marketing proprietary software. AT&T has made its own code deliberately incompatible with other folks' UNIX, and has written code that it can prove is copyrightable, even if that code happens to be somewhat awkward -- "kludgey." AT&T UNIX user licenses are serious business agreements, replete with very clear copyright statements and non-disclosure clauses.
AT&T has not exactly kept the UNIX cat in the bag, but it kept a grip on its scruff with some success. By the rampant, explosive standards of software piracy, AT&T UNIX source code is heavily copyrighted, well-guarded, well-licensed. UNIX was traditionally run only on mainframe machines, owned by large groups of suit-and-tie professionals, rather than on bedroom machines where people can get up to easy mischief.
And AT&T UNIX source code is serious high-level programming. The number of skilled UNIX programmers with any actual motive to swipe UNIX source code is small. It's tiny, compared to the tens of thousands prepared to rip-off, say, entertaining PC games like "Leisure Suit Larry."
But by 1989, the warez-d00d underground, in the persons of Terminus and his friends, was gnawing at AT&T UNIX. And the property in question was not sold for twenty bucks over the counter at the local branch of Babbage's or Egghead's; this was massive, sophisticated, multi-line, multi-author corporate code worth tens of thousands of dollars.
It must be recognized at this point that Terminus's purported ring of UNIX software pirates had not actually made any money from their suspected crimes. The $300,000 dollar figure bandied about for the contents of Terminus's computer did not mean that Terminus was in actual illicit possession of three hundred thousand of AT&T's dollars. Terminus was shipping software back and forth, privately, person to person, for free. He was not making a commercial business of piracy. He hadn't asked for money; he didn't take money. He lived quite modestly.
AT&T employees -- as well as freelance UNIX consultants, like Terminus -- commonly worked with "proprietary" AT&T software, both in the office and at home on their private machines. AT&T rarely sent security officers out to comb the hard disks of its consultants. Cheap freelance UNIX contractors were quite useful to AT&T; they didn't have health insurance or retirement programs, much less union membership in the Communication Workers of America. They were humble digital drudges, wandering with mop and bucket through the Great Technological Temple of AT&T; but when the Secret Service arrived at their homes, it seemed they were eating with company silverware and sleeping on company sheets! Outrageously, they behaved as if the things they worked with every day belonged to them!
And these were no mere hacker teenagers with their hands full of trash-paper and their noses pressed to the corporate windowpane. These guys were UNIX wizards, not only carrying AT&T data in their machines and their heads, but eagerly networking about it, over machines that were far more powerful than anything previously imagined in private hands. How do you keep people disposable, yet assure their awestruck respect for your property? It was a dilemma.
Much UNIX code was public-domain, available for free. Much "proprietary" UNIX code had been extensively re-written, perhaps altered so much that it became an entirely new productÊ-- or perhaps not. Intellectual property rights for software developers were, and are, extraordinarily complex and confused. And software "piracy," like the private copying of videos, is one of the most widely practiced "crimes" in the world today.
The USSS were not experts in UNIX or familiar with the customs of its use. The United States Secret Service, considered as a body, did not have one single person in it who could program in a UNIX environment -- no, not even one. The Secret Service *were* making extensive use of expert help, but the "experts" they had chosen were AT&T and Bellcore security officials, the very victims of the purported crimes under investigation, the very people whose interest in AT&T's "proprietary" software was most pronounced.
On February 6, 1990, Terminus was arrested by Agent Lewis. Eventually, Terminus would be sent to prison for his illicit use of a piece of AT&T software.
The issue of pirated AT&T software would bubble along in the background during the war on the Legion of Doom. Some half-dozen of Terminus's on-line acquaintances, including people in Illinois, Texas and California, were grilled by the Secret Service in connection with the illicit copying of software. Except for Terminus, however, none were charged with a crime. None of them shared his peculiar prominence in the hacker underground.
But that did not meant that these people would, or could, stay out of trouble. The transferral of illicit data in cyberspace is hazy and ill-defined business, with paradoxical dangers for everyone concerned: hackers, signal carriers, board owners, cops, prosecutors, even random passers-by. Sometimes, well-meant attempts to avert trouble or punish wrongdoing bring more trouble than would simple ignorance, indifference or impropriety.
Terminus's "Netsys" board was not a common-or-garden bulletin board system, though it had most of the usual functions of a board. Netsys was not a stand-alone machine, but part of the globe-spanning "UUCP" cooperative network. The UUCP network uses a set of Unix software programs called "Unix-to-Unix Copy," which allows Unix systems to throw data to one another at high speed through the public telephone network. UUCP is a radically decentralized, not-for-profit network of UNIX computers. There are tens of thousands of these UNIX machines. Some are small, but many are powerful and also link to other networks. UUCP has certain arcane links to major networks such as JANET, EasyNet, BITNET, JUNET, VNET, DASnet, PeaceNet and FidoNet, as well as the gigantic Internet. (The so-called "Internet" is not actually a network itself, but rather an "internetwork" connections standard that allows several globe-spanning computer networks to communicate with one another. Readers fascinated by the weird and intricate tangles of modern computer networks may enjoy John S. Quarterman's authoritative 719-page explication, *The Matrix,* Digital Press, 1990.) A skilled user of Terminus' UNIX machine could send and receive electronic mail from almost any major computer network in the world. Netsys was not called a "board" per se, but rather a "node." "Nodes" were larger, faster, and more sophisticated than mere "boards," and for hackers, to hang out on internationally-connected "nodes" was quite the step up from merely hanging out on local "boards."
Terminus's Netsys node in Maryland had a number of direct links to other, similar UUCP nodes, run by people who shared his interests and at least something of his free-wheeling attitude. One of these nodes was Jolnet, owned by Richard Andrews, who, like Terminus, was an independent UNIX consultant. Jolnet also ran UNIX, and could be contacted at high speed by mainframe machines from all over the world. Jolnet was quite a sophisticated piece of work, technically speaking, but it was still run by an individual, as a private, not-for-profit hobby. Jolnet was mostly used by other UNIX programmers -- for mail, storage, and access to networks. Jolnet supplied access network access to about two hundred people, as well as a local junior college.
Among its various features and services, Jolnet also carried *Phrack* magazine.
For reasons of his own, Richard Andrews had become suspicious of a new user called "Robert Johnson." Richard Andrews took it upon himself to have a look at what "Robert Johnson" was storing in Jolnet. And Andrews found the E911 Document.
"Robert Johnson" was the Prophet from the Legion of Doom, and the E911 Document was illicitly copied data from Prophet's raid on the BellSouth computers.
The E911 Document, a particularly illicit piece of digital property, was about to resume its long, complex, and disastrous career.
It struck Andrews as fishy that someone not a telephone employee should have a document referring to the "Enhanced 911 System." Besides, the document itself bore an obvious warning.
"WARNING: NOT FOR USE OR DISCLOSURE OUTSIDE BELLSOUTH OR ANY OF ITS SUBSIDIARIES EXCEPT UNDER WRITTEN AGREEMENT."
These standard nondisclosure tags are often appended to all sorts of corporate material. Telcos as a species are particularly notorious for stamping most everything in sight as "not for use or disclosure." Still, this particular piece of data was about the 911 System. That sounded bad to Rich Andrews.
Andrews was not prepared to ignore this sort of trouble. He thought it would be wise to pass the document along to a friend and acquaintance on the UNIX network, for consultation. So, around September 1988, Andrews sent yet another copy of the E911 Document electronically to an AT&T employee, one Charles Boykin, who ran a UNIX-based node called "attctc" in Dallas, Texas.
"Attctc" was the property of AT&T, and was run from AT&T's Customer Technology Center in Dallas, hence the name "attctc." "Attctc" was better-known as "Killer," the name of the machine that the system was running on. "Killer" was a hefty, powerful, AT&T 3B2 500 model, a multi-user, multi-tasking UNIX platform with 32 meg of memory and a mind-boggling 3.2 Gigabytes of storage. When Killer had first arrived in Texas, in 1985, the 3B2 had been one of AT&T's great white hopes for going head-to-head with IBM for the corporate computer-hardware market. "Killer" had been shipped to the Customer Technology Center in the Dallas Infomart, essentially a high-technology mall, and there it sat, a demonstration model.
Charles Boykin, a veteran AT&T hardware and digital communications expert, was a local technical backup man for the AT&T 3B2 system. As a display model in the Infomart mall, "Killer" had little to do, and it seemed a shame to waste the system's capacity. So Boykin ingeniously wrote some UNIX bulletin-board software for "Killer," and plugged the machine in to the local phone network. "Killer's" debut in late 1985 made it the first publicly available UNIX site in the state of Texas. Anyone who wanted to play was welcome.
The machine immediately attracted an electronic community. It joined the UUCP network, and offered network links to over eighty other computer sites, all of which became dependent on Killer for their links to the greater world of cyberspace. And it wasn't just for the big guys; personal computer users also stored freeware programs for the Amiga, the Apple, the IBM and the Macintosh on Killer's vast 3,200 meg archives. At one time, Killer had the largest library of public-domain Macintosh software in Texas.
Eventually, Killer attracted about 1,500 users, all busily communicating, uploading and downloading, getting mail, gossipping, and linking to arcane and distant networks.
Boykin received no pay for running Killer. He considered it good publicity for the AT&T 3B2 system (whose sales were somewhat less than stellar), but he also simply enjoyed the vibrant community his skill had created. He gave away the bulletin-board UNIX software he had written, free of charge.
In the UNIX programming community, Charlie Boykin had the reputation of a warm, open-hearted, level-headed kind of guy. In 1989, a group of Texan UNIX professionals voted Boykin "System Administrator of the Year." He was considered a fellow you could trust for good advice.
In September 1988, without warning, the E911 Document came plunging into Boykin's life, forwarded by Richard Andrews. Boykin immediately recognized that the Document was hot property. He was not a voice-communications man, and knew little about the ins and outs of the Baby Bells, but he certainly knew what the 911 System was, and he was angry to see confidential data about it in the hands of a nogoodnik. This was clearly a matter for telco security. So, on September 21, 1988, Boykin made yet *another* copy of the E911 Document and passed this one along to a professional acquaintance of his, one Jerome Dalton, from AT&T Corporate Information Security. Jerry Dalton was the very fellow who would later raid Terminus's house.
From AT&T's security division, the E911 Document went to Bellcore.
Bellcore (or BELL COmmunications REsearch) had once been the central laboratory of the Bell System. Bell Labs employees had invented the UNIX operating system. Now Bellcore was a quasi-independent, jointly owned company that acted as the research arm for all seven of the Baby Bell RBOCs. Bellcore was in a good position to co-ordinate security technology and consultation for the RBOCs, and the gentleman in charge of this effort was Henry M. Kluepfel, a veteran of the Bell System who had worked there for twenty-four years.
On October 13, 1988, Dalton passed the E911 Document to Henry Kluepfel. Kluepfel, a veteran expert witness in telecommunications fraud and computer-fraud cases, had certainly seen worse trouble than this. He recognized the document for what it was: a trophy from a hacker break-in.
However, whatever harm had been done in the intrusion was presumably old news. At this point there seemed little to be done. Kluepfel made a careful note of the circumstances and shelved the problem for the time being.
Whole months passed.
February 1989 arrived. The Atlanta Three were living it up in Bell South's switches, and had not yet met their comeuppance. The Legion was thriving. So was *Phrack* magazine. A good six months had passed since Prophet's AIMSX break-in. Prophet, as hackers will, grew weary of sitting on his laurels. "Knight Lightning" and "Taran King," the editors of *Phrack,* were always begging Prophet for material they could publish. Prophet decided that the heat must be off by this time, and that he could safely brag, boast, and strut.
So he sent a copy of the E911 Document -- yet another one -- from Rich Andrews' Jolnet machine to Knight Lightning's BITnet account at the University of Missouri.
Let's review the fate of the document so far.
0. The original E911 Document. This in the AIMSX system on a mainframe computer in Atlanta, available to hundreds of people, but all of them, presumably, BellSouth employees. An unknown number of them may have their own copies of this document, but they are all professionals and all trusted by the phone company.
1. Prophet's illicit copy, at home on his own computer in Decatur, Georgia.
2. Prophet's back-up copy, stored on Rich Andrew's Jolnet machine in the basement of Rich Andrews' house near Joliet Illinois.
3. Charles Boykin's copy on "Killer" in Dallas, Texas, sent by Rich Andrews from Joliet.
4. Jerry Dalton's copy at AT&T Corporate Information Security in New Jersey, sent from Charles Boykin in Dallas.
5. Henry Kluepfel's copy at Bellcore security headquarters in New Jersey, sent by Dalton.
6. Knight Lightning's copy, sent by Prophet from Rich Andrews' machine, and now in Columbia, Missouri.
We can see that the "security" situation of this proprietary document, once dug out of AIMSX, swiftly became bizarre. Without any money changing hands, without any particular special effort, this data had been reproduced at least six times and had spread itself all over the continent. By far the worst, however, was yet to come.
In February 1989, Prophet and Knight Lightning bargained electronically over the fate of this trophy. Prophet wanted to boast, but, at the same time, scarcely wanted to be caught.
For his part, Knight Lightning was eager to publish as much of the document as he could manage. Knight Lightning was a fledgling political-science major with a particular interest in freedom-of-information issues. He would gladly publish most anything that would reflect glory on the prowess of the underground and embarrass the telcos. However, Knight Lightning himself had contacts in telco security, and sometimes consulted them on material he'd received that might be too dicey for publication.
Prophet and Knight Lightning decided to edit the E911 Document so as to delete most of its identifying traits. First of all, its large "NOT FOR USE OR DISCLOSURE" warning had to go. Then there were other matters. For instance, it listed the office telephone numbers of several BellSouth 911 specialists in Florida. If these phone numbers were published in *Phrack,* the BellSouth employees involved would very likely be hassled by phone phreaks, which would anger BellSouth no end, and pose a definite operational hazard for both Prophet and *Phrack.*
So Knight Lightning cut the Document almost in half, removing the phone numbers and some of the touchier and more specific information. He passed it back electronically to Prophet; Prophet was still nervous, so Knight Lightning cut a bit more. They finally agreed that it was ready to go, and that it would be published in *Phrack* under the pseudonym, "The Eavesdropper."
And this was done on February 25, 1989.
The twenty-fourth issue of *Phrack* featured a chatty interview with co-ed phone-phreak "Chanda Leir," three articles on BITNET and its links to other computer networks, an article on 800 and 900 numbers by "Unknown User," "VaxCat's" article on telco basics (slyly entitled "Lifting Ma Bell's Veil of Secrecy,)" and the usual "Phrack World News."
The News section, with painful irony, featured an extended account of the sentencing of "Shadowhawk," an eighteen-year-old Chicago hacker who had just been put in federal prison by William J. Cook himself.
And then there were the two articles by "The Eavesdropper." The first was the edited E911 Document, now titled "Control Office Administration Of Enhanced 911 Services for Special Services and Major Account Centers." Eavesdropper's second article was a glossary of terms explaining the blizzard of telco acronyms and buzzwords in the E911 Document.
The hapless document was now distributed, in the usual *Phrack* routine, to a good one hundred and fifty sites. Not a hundred and fifty *people,* mind you -- a hundred and fifty *sites,* some of these sites linked to UNIX nodes or bulletin board systems, which themselves had readerships of tens, dozens, even hundreds of people.
This was February 1989. Nothing happened immediately. Summer came, and the Atlanta crew were raided by the Secret Service. Fry Guy was apprehended. Still nothing whatever happened to *Phrack.* Six more issues of *Phrack* came out, 30 in all, more or less on a monthly schedule. Knight Lightning and co-editor Taran King went untouched.
*Phrack* tended to duck and cover whenever the heat came down. During the summer busts of 1987 -- (hacker busts tended to cluster in summer, perhaps because hackers were easier to find at home than in college) -- *Phrack* had ceased publication for several months, and laid low. Several LoD hangers-on had been arrested, but nothing had happened to the *Phrack* crew, the premiere gossips of the underground. In 1988, *Phrack* had been taken over by a new editor, "Crimson Death," a raucous youngster with a taste for anarchy files.
1989, however, looked like a bounty year for the underground. Knight Lightning and his co-editor Taran King took up the reins again, and *Phrack* flourished throughout 1989. Atlanta LoD went down hard in the summer of 1989, but *Phrack* rolled merrily on. Prophet's E911 Document seemed unlikely to cause *Phrack* any trouble. By January 1990, it had been available in *Phrack* for almost a year. Kluepfel and Dalton, officers of Bellcore and AT&T security, had possessed the document for sixteen months -- in fact, they'd had it even before Knight Lightning himself, and had done nothing in particular to stop its distribution. They hadn't even told Rich Andrews or Charles Boykin to erase the copies from their UNIX nodes, Jolnet and Killer.
But then came the monster Martin Luther King Day Crash of January 15, 1990.
A flat three days later, on January 18, four agents showed up at Knight Lightning's fraternity house. One was Timothy Foley, the second Barbara Golden, both of them Secret Service agents from the Chicago office. Also along was a University of Missouri security officer, and Reed Newlin, a security man from Southwestern Bell, the RBOC having jurisdiction over Missouri.
Foley accused Knight Lightning of causing the nationwide crash of the phone system.
Knight Lightning was aghast at this allegation. On the face of it, the suspicion was not entirely implausible -- though Knight Lightning knew that he himself hadn't done it. Plenty of hot-dog hackers had bragged that they could crash the phone system, however. "Shadowhawk," for instance, the Chicago hacker whom William Cook had recently put in jail, had several times boasted on boards that he could "shut down AT&T's public switched network."
And now this event, or something that looked just like it, had actually taken place. The Crash had lit a fire under the Chicago Task Force. And the former fence-sitters at Bellcore and AT&T were now ready to roll. The consensus among telco security -- already horrified by the skill of the BellSouth intruders -- was that the digital underground was out of hand. LoD and *Phrack* must go.
And in publishing Prophet's E911 Document, *Phrack* had provided law enforcement with what appeared to be a powerful legal weapon.
Foley confronted Knight Lightning about the E911 Document.
Knight Lightning was cowed. He immediately began "cooperating fully" in the usual tradition of the digital underground.
He gave Foley a complete run of *Phrack,*printed out in a set of three-ring binders. He handed over his electronic mailing list of *Phrack* subscribers. Knight Lightning was grilled for four hours by Foley and his cohorts. Knight Lightning admitted that Prophet had passed him the E911 Document, and he admitted that he had known it was stolen booty from a hacker raid on a telephone company. Knight Lightning signed a statement to this effect, and agreed, in writing, to cooperate with investigators.
Next day -- January 19, 1990, a Friday -- the Secret Service returned with a search warrant, and thoroughly searched Knight Lightning's upstairs room in the fraternity house. They took all his floppy disks, though, interestingly, they left Knight Lightning in possession of both his computer and his modem. (The computer had no hard disk, and in Foley's judgement was not a store of evidence.) But this was a very minor bright spot among Knight Lightning's rapidly multiplying troubles. By this time, Knight Lightning was in plenty of hot water, not only with federal police, prosecutors, telco investigators, and university security, but with the elders of his own campus fraternity, who were outraged to think that they had been unwittingly harboring a federal computer-criminal.
On Monday, Knight Lightning was summoned to Chicago, where he was further grilled by Foley and USSS veteran agent Barbara Golden, this time with an attorney present. And on Tuesday, he was formally indicted by a federal grand jury.
The trial of Knight Lightning, which occurred on July 24-27, 1990, was the crucial show-trial of the Hacker Crackdown. We will examine the trial at some length in Part Four of this book.
In the meantime, we must continue our dogged pursuit of the E911 Document.
It must have been clear by January 1990 that the E911 Document, in the form *Phrack* had published it back in February 1989, had gone off at the speed of light in at least a hundred and fifty different directions. To attempt to put this electronic genie back in the bottle was flatly impossible.
And yet, the E911 Document was *still* stolen property, formally and legally speaking. Any electronic transference of this document, by anyone unauthorized to have it, could be interpreted as an act of wire fraud. Interstate transfer of stolen property, including electronic property, was a federal crime.
The Chicago Computer Fraud and Abuse Task Force had been assured that the E911 Document was worth a hefty sum of money. In fact, they had a precise estimate of its worth from BellSouth security personnel: $79,449. A sum of this scale seemed to warrant vigorous prosecution. Even if the damage could not be undone, at least this large sum offered a good legal pretext for stern punishment of the thieves. It seemed likely to impress judges and juries. And it could be used in court to mop up the Legion of Doom.
The Atlanta crowd was already in the bag, by the time the Chicago Task Force had gotten around to *Phrack.* But the Legion was a hydra-headed thing. In late 89, a brand-new Legion of Doom board, "Phoenix Project," had gone up in Austin, Texas. Phoenix Project was sysoped by no less a man than the Mentor himself, ably assisted by University of Texas student and hardened Doomster "Erik Bloodaxe."
As we have seen from his *Phrack* manifesto, the Mentor was a hacker zealot who regarded computer intrusion as something close to a moral duty. Phoenix Project was an ambitious effort, intended to revive the digital underground to what Mentor considered the full flower of the early 80s. The Phoenix board would also boldly bring elite hackers face-to-face with the telco "opposition." On "Phoenix," America's cleverest hackers would supposedly shame the telco squareheads out of their stick-in-the-mud attitudes, and perhaps convince them that the Legion of Doom elite were really an all-right crew. The premiere of "Phoenix Project" was heavily trumpeted by *Phrack,* and "Phoenix Project" carried a complete run of *Phrack* issues, including the E911 Document as *Phrack* had published it.
Phoenix Project was only one of many -- possibly hundreds -- of nodes and boards all over America that were in guilty possession of the E911 Document. But Phoenix was an outright, unashamed Legion of Doom board. Under Mentor's guidance, it was flaunting itself in the face of telco security personnel. Worse yet, it was actively trying to *win them over* as sympathizers for the digital underground elite. "Phoenix" had no cards or codes on it. Its hacker elite considered Phoenix at least technically legal. But Phoenix was a corrupting influence, where hacker anarchy was eating away like digital acid at the underbelly of corporate propriety.
The Chicago Computer Fraud and Abuse Task Force now prepared to descend upon Austin, Texas.
Oddly, not one but *two* trails of the Task Force's investigation led toward Austin. The city of Austin, like Atlanta, had made itself a bulwark of the Sunbelt's Information Age, with a strong university research presence, and a number of cutting-edge electronics companies, including Motorola, Dell, CompuAdd, IBM, Sematech and MCC.
Where computing machinery went, hackers generally followed. Austin boasted not only "Phoenix Project," currently LoD's most flagrant underground board, but a number of UNIX nodes.
One of these nodes was "Elephant," run by a UNIX consultant named Robert Izenberg. Izenberg, in search of a relaxed Southern lifestyle and a lowered cost-of-living, had recently migrated to Austin from New Jersey. In New Jersey, Izenberg had worked for an independent contracting company, programming UNIX code for AT&T itself. "Terminus" had been a frequent user on Izenberg's privately owned Elephant node.
Having interviewed Terminus and examined the records on Netsys, the Chicago Task Force were now convinced that they had discovered an underground gang of UNIX software pirates, who were demonstrably guilty of interstate trafficking in illicitly copied AT&T source code. Izenberg was swept into the dragnet around Terminus, the self-proclaimed ultimate UNIX hacker.
Izenberg, in Austin, had settled down into a UNIX job with a Texan branch of IBM. Izenberg was no longer working as a contractor for AT&T, but he had friends in New Jersey, and he still logged on to AT&T UNIX computers back in New Jersey, more or less whenever it pleased him. Izenberg's activities appeared highly suspicious to the Task Force. Izenberg might well be breaking into AT&T computers, swiping AT&T software, and passing it to Terminus and other possible confederates, through the UNIX node network. And this data was worth, not merely $79,499, but hundreds of thousands of dollars!
On February 21, 1990, Robert Izenberg arrived home from work at IBM to find that all the computers had mysteriously vanished from his Austin apartment. Naturally he assumed that he had been robbed. His "Elephant" node, his other machines, his notebooks, his disks, his tapes, all gone! However, nothing much else seemed disturbed -- the place had not been ransacked.
The puzzle becaming much stranger some five minutes later. Austin U. S. Secret Service Agent Al Soliz, accompanied by University of Texas campus-security officer Larry Coutorie and the ubiquitous Tim Foley, made their appearance at Izenberg's door. They were in plain clothes: slacks, polo shirts. They came in, and Tim Foley accused Izenberg of belonging to the Legion of Doom.
Izenberg told them that he had never heard of the "Legion of Doom." And what about a certain stolen E911 Document, that posed a direct threat to the police emergency lines? Izenberg claimed that he'd never heard of that, either.
His interrogators found this difficult to believe. Didn't he know Terminus?
They gave him Terminus's real name. Oh yes, said Izenberg. He knew *that* guy all right -- he was leading discussions on the Internet about AT&T computers, especially the AT&T 3B2.
AT&T had thrust this machine into the marketplace, but, like many of AT&T's ambitious attempts to enter the computing arena, the 3B2 project had something less than a glittering success. Izenberg himself had been a contractor for the division of AT&T that supported the 3B2. The entire division had been shut down.
Nowadays, the cheapest and quickest way to get help with this fractious piece of machinery was to join one of Terminus's discussion groups on the Internet, where friendly and knowledgeable hackers would help you for free. Naturally the remarks within this group were less than flattering about the Death Star.... was *that* the problem?
Foley told Izenberg that Terminus had been acquiring hot software through his, Izenberg's, machine.
Izenberg shrugged this off. A good eight megabytes of data flowed through his UUCP site every day. UUCP nodes spewed data like fire hoses. Elephant had been directly linked to Netsys -- not surprising, since Terminus was a 3B2 expert and Izenberg had been a 3B2 contractor. Izenberg was also linked to "attctc" and the University of Texas. Terminus was a well-known UNIX expert, and might have been up to all manner of hijinks on Elephant. Nothing Izenberg could do about that. That was physically impossible. Needle in a haystack.
In a four-hour grilling, Foley urged Izenberg to come clean and admit that he was in conspiracy with Terminus, and a member of the Legion of Doom.
Izenberg denied this. He was no weirdo teenage hacker -- he was thirty-two years old, and didn't even have a "handle." Izenberg was a former TV technician and electronics specialist who had drifted into UNIX consulting as a full-grown adult. Izenberg had never met Terminus, physically. He'd once bought a cheap high-speed modem from him, though.
Foley told him that this modem (a Telenet T2500 which ran at 19.2 kilobaud, and which had just gone out Izenberg's door in Secret Service custody) was likely hot property. Izenberg was taken aback to hear this; but then again, most of Izenberg's equipment, like that of most freelance professionals in the industry, was discounted, passed hand-to-hand through various kinds of barter and gray-market. There was no proof that the modem was stolen, and even if it was, Izenberg hardly saw how that gave them the right to take every electronic item in his house.
Still, if the United States Secret Service figured they needed his computer for national security reasons -- or whatever -- then Izenberg would not kick. He figured he would somehow make the sacrifice of his twenty thousand dollars' worth of professional equipment, in the spirit of full cooperation and good citizenship.
Robert Izenberg was not arrested. Izenberg was not charged with any crime. His UUCP node -- full of some 140 megabytes of the files, mail, and data of himself and his dozen or so entirely innocent users -- went out the door as "evidence." Along with the disks and tapes, Izenberg had lost about 800 megabytes of data.
Six months would pass before Izenberg decided to phone the Secret Service and ask how the case was going. That was the first time that Robert Izenberg would ever hear the name of William Cook. As of January 1992, a full two years after the seizure, Izenberg, still not charged with any crime, would be struggling through the morass of the courts, in hope of recovering his thousands of dollars' worth of seized equipment.
In the meantime, the Izenberg case received absolutely no press coverage. The Secret Service had walked into an Austin home, removed a UNIX bulletin-board system, and met with no operational difficulties whatsoever.
Except that word of a crackdown had percolated through the Legion of Doom. "The Mentor" voluntarily shut down "The Phoenix Project." It seemed a pity, especially as telco security employees had, in fact, shown up on Phoenix, just as he had hoped -- along with the usual motley crowd of LoD heavies, hangers-on, phreaks, hackers and wannabes. There was "Sandy" Sandquist from US SPRINT security, and some guy named Henry Kluepfel, from Bellcore itself! Kluepfel had been trading friendly banter with hackers on Phoenix since January 30th (two weeks after the Martin Luther King Day Crash). The presence of such a stellar telco official seemed quite the coup for Phoenix Project.
Still, Mentor could judge the climate. Atlanta in ruins, *Phrack* in deep trouble, something weird going on with UNIX nodes -- discretion was advisable. Phoenix Project went off-line.
Kluepfel, of course, had been monitoring this LoD bulletin board for his own purposes -- and those of the Chicago unit. As far back as June 1987, Kluepfel had logged on to a Texas underground board called "Phreak Klass 2600." There he'd discovered an Chicago youngster named "Shadowhawk," strutting and boasting about rifling AT&T computer files, and bragging of his ambitions to riddle AT&T's Bellcore computers with trojan horse programs. Kluepfel had passed the news to Cook in Chicago, Shadowhawk's computers had gone out the door in Secret Service custody, and Shadowhawk himself had gone to jail.
Now it was Phoenix Project's turn. Phoenix Project postured about "legality" and "merely intellectual interest," but it reeked of the underground. It had *Phrack* on it. It had the E911 Document. It had a lot of dicey talk about breaking into systems, including some bold and reckless stuff about a supposed "decryption service" that Mentor and friends were planning to run, to help crack encrypted passwords off of hacked systems.
Mentor was an adult. There was a bulletin board at his place of work, as well. Kleupfel logged onto this board, too, and discovered it to be called "Illuminati." It was run by some company called Steve Jackson Games.
On March 1, 1990, the Austin crackdown went into high gear.
On the morning of March 1 -- a Thursday -- 21-year-old University of Texas student "Erik Bloodaxe," co-sysop of Phoenix Project and an avowed member of the Legion of Doom, was wakened by a police revolver levelled at his head.
Bloodaxe watched, jittery, as Secret Service agents appropriated his 300 baud terminal and, rifling his files, discovered his treasured source-code for Robert Morris's notorious Internet Worm. But Bloodaxe, a wily operator, had suspected that something of the like might be coming. All his best equipment had been hidden away elsewhere. The raiders took everything electronic, however, including his telephone. They were stymied by his hefty arcade-style Pac-Man game, and l