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  Underground - hacking, madness andobsession on the electronic frontier 

  About the RTF Version..........................................................................................................................1
  Underground: Front Page.....................................................................................................................2
  Underground: READER AND CRITICAL ACCLAIM...........................................................................3
  Underground: PREFACE TO THE ELECTRONIC EDITION................................................................7 
  Underground: RESEARCHER'S INTRODUCTION............................................................................10
  Underground: ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS...........................................................................................13 
  Underground: INTRODUCTION..........................................................................................................14 
  Underground: Chapter 1 --10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.........................................................................16
  Underground: Chapter 2 -- The Corner Pub.....................................................................................48
  Underground: Chapter3 --The American Connection...................................................................72 
  Underground: Chapter4 -- The Fugitive...........................................................................................94 
  Underground: Chapter5 --The Holy Grail.......................................................................................125 
  Underground: Chapter 6 -- Page 1 The New York Times................................................................161
  Underground: Chapter7 -- Judgement Day....................................................................................182 
  Underground: Chapter8 -- The International Subversives...........................................................207 
  Underground: Chapter9 -- Operation Weather..............................................................................231
  Underground: Chapter 10 --Anthrax -- The Outsider....................................................................259 
  Underground: Chapter 11 -- The Prisoner's Dilemma......................................................................281
  Underground: AFTERWORD..........................................................................................................300 
  Underground: Underground -- Glossary and Abbreviations..........................................................321
  Underground: NOTES.......................................................................................................................325 
  Underground: BIBLIOGRAPHY.......................................................................................................329

  About the RTF Version 
  The original text version was made freely available online by its author,Suelette Dreyfus and 
  researcher, Julian Assange.

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  Underground: Front Page
  Hacking, madness and obsession on the electronic frontier 
  `Gripping, eminently readable.. Dreyfushas uncovered one of this country's best kept secrets
  andin doing so hascreated a highly intense and enjoyable read' -- Rolling Stone  
  By Suelette Dreyfus with Research by Julian Assange  
  First Published 1997 by Mandarin  
  a part of Reed Books Australia  
  35 Cotham Road, Kew 3101 
  a subsidiary of Random House books Australia  
  a division of Random House International Pty Limited  
  Copyright (c) 1997, 2001 Suelette Dreyfus & JulianAssange  
  All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright above, no part of this publication 
  may be reproduced, stored inor introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted inany form or
  by any means(electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording orotherwise), without the prior 
  written permission of both the copyright owner and the publisher.  
  Typeset in New Baskerville by J&M Typesetting  
  Printed and boundin Australia by Australian Print Group 
  National Library of Australia 
  cataloguing-in-publication data: 
  Dreyfus, Suelette.  
  Underground: tales of hacking, madness & obsessionon the electronic frontier
  ISBN 1 86330 595 5  
  1. Computer hackers--Australia--Biography. 2. Computer crimes--Australia. 3. Computer 
  security--Australia. I. Assange, Julian. II. Title.  

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  `...I hold your bookresponsible for destroying my sociallife for thelast two days...I 
  bought itFriday afternoon,and then finished itat lunchtime today! (Sunday)*grin*.
  Excellent reading!' --bam@iinet.net.au  
  `Afew pages into thisbook I found it to be differentto any other book I have ever read
  on the subject. Dreyfus treatsthe peopleshe writes about ASPEOPLE not just "computer 
  junkies" or "cyber geeks"'-- lucasb@sub.net.au  
  `A real pleasure' -- George Smith, Crypt News  
  `Atale of madness, paranoiaand brilliance among Australian computer hackers - and 
  how they nearly brought NASA undone'-- The Weekend AustralianMagazine  
  `Adventure bookfor the brain' -- Sarah McDonald, JJJ  
  `After reading the extractof Underground in The Age I couldn't wait to read it. Finally it
  came out in the shops and I finished itall within a few days. I wasn't disappointed for a 
  second.' -- dcw@alphalink.com.au  
  `Amazing insight'-- jimgeuin@cyberservices.com  
  `Backed up by..detailed technical research' -- Trudie MacIntosh, The Australian
  `Best hacker book I'veread' -- Jim Lippard  
  `Brillant read - will rest safely next the rest of my Gibson, Sterling and Brunner...' --
  `Brillant' -- gerardc@one.net.au  
  `Compelling reading for those ofus who wantmore thanjust salacious and hyped 
  snippets' -- Trudie MacIntosh, The Australian  
  `Compelling' -- David Nichols, The BigIssue  
  `Contains enough technical information toimpress anyone who can appreciate it' --
  `Couldn't put it down' -- Trudie MacIntosh, The Australian  
  `Depth of character and rapid pacing' -- Ed Burns, IBIC  
  `Displays a level of research and technicalunderstanding not matched by other hacker 
  books' -- Jim Lippard  
  `Dive into the Underground and beswept into a thrilling elite realm' -- evburns@gte.net
  `Dreyfus doesnot attemptany sleightsof hand withjargon'-- David Nichols, The Big 
  `Dreyfus has clearly done her researchwell'-- Danny Yee,Danny Yee's review of books
  `Dreyfus hat hier Abhilfe geschaffen' -- iX, Germany  
  `Dreyfus is one smart cookie' -- Ed Burns, IBIC  

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  `El libro tiene comofuentes a varios gruposde hackersaustralianosy todaslas
  sentenciasde los casos de asaltosinform.ticos de esa época' -- Cripto, Spain  
  `Enjoyed thebook!' -- Jake Barnes, The Face(UK)  
  `Entirely original' --Rolling Stone  
  `Especialmente interesante' -- Cripto , Spain  
  `Excellent insight' --dcw@alphalink.com.au  
  `Excellent reporting' -- Editor, IBIC  
  `Excellent..Compared against Bruce Sterling'stext (themostobvious comparison), it
  makes for much better reading.. Commendable' -- harshman@paradigm.uor.edu  
  `Extraordinary' -- Rolling Stone  
  `Fascinating piece of investigative journalism' -- Jim Reavis, Network World
  `Fascinating' -- Ed Burns, IBIC  
  `Fiercely independent thinking found on every page' -- Lew Koch, ZDNET 
  `Forthose sickof bullish cyberpiffle, Underground containsany amount of
  counterintelligence.." -- Gideon Haigh, Australian Literary Suppliment  
  `Genuine perception' -- George Smith, Crypt News  
  `Genuinely fascinating' -- David Nichols, The Big Issue  
  `Great real life thriller' -- jmidgley@cyberjunkie.com  
  `Gripping Account'-- The AdelaideAdvertiser  
  `Gripping, eminently readable' -- Rolling Stone  
  `Highly intense and enjoyableread' -- Rolling Stone  
  `Highly original investigative journalism' -- Gideo Haigh, Australian Literary Suppliment
  `Highly recommended'-- Jim Lippard  
  `I have never beforereada bookthis good, literally!' -- benwebb@hotmail.com
  `I just finished the book.. and thoroughly enjoyed it. Dreyfus showed an amazing insight
  into the world of electronic exploration. I am sureit was inthe  
  researcher's] excellent technical assistance. Good Job!!' -- jimgeuin@cyberservices.com
  `I loved the book - couldnt putit down!' -- texasdeluxe@hotmail.com  
  `I wanted tosay how much I liked your book Underground' -- Prof. Dorothy Denning
  `I was blown away' -- lucasb@sub.net.au  
  `I'm grateful to Ms Dreyfus for introducing meto a number of first-rate subversives' --
  Phillip Adams, Late NightLive  

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  `Joy knew no bounds'-- Phillip Adams, LateNight Live  
  `Justthought that I would say great job on your book very nice pieceof work and very 
  informative!' -- Anonymous hacker  
  `Keepsthe reader gluedto the page' -- Danny Yee, Danny Yee's review of books
  `La descripci.n de las detenciones, registros yprocesos legales es especialmente 
  interesante' --Cripto , Spain  
  `Letme sayhow muchI enjoyed Underground . I really thought itwas fascinating and a 
  great read.'--philip_sim@idg.com(Editor, Network World)  
  `Loved it' --kaos@ctrl.com.au  
  `Makes the esoteric world of the hacker accessible' -- Australian Bookseller and Publisher
  `MattPiening told meabout itandshowed me the articlein The Age .. consequently.. we
  bought it, we read it, we loved it.:)' --camson@swin.edu.au  
  `Meeslepende book' -- Digiface , The Netherlands  
  `Meticulously researched' -- Australian Bookseller and Publisher  
  `Meticuously researched psychological and socialprofile of hackers' -- Australian 
  Bookseller and Publisher  
  `Most brilliant book I have ever read' -- phoenix@eisa.net.au  
  `Nice work' -- aleph1@underground.org  
  `Powerful' -- evburns@gte.net  
  `Readslike Ludlum.. I love the book.. The style of writing is the clincher..' --
  `Readslike a thriller' --The Age  
  `Riveting' -- Australian Bookseller and Publisher  
  `Riviting read'-- The Adelaide Advertiser  
  `Several cites to it in myown book on information warfare' -- Prof. Dorothy Denning
  `Skall dul.sa Underground' -- Mikael Pawlo, Internet World , Sweden  
  `THISBOOK IS FOR YOU!' -- lucasb@sub.net.au  
  `Thank youfor such an AMAZING and informative book'-- jasonvas@hotmail.com
  `The reader is readily drawn forward intothe eddiesof the underground by the thrust 
  and parry ofthe hackers and their pursuers' -- Ed Burns, IBIC  
  `The true stories ofUnderground are simply compelling' -- David Nichols, The Big Issue
  `There is much to admirein the doggedness with which Dreyfus followsher subjects' -- 
  GideoHaigh, Australian Literary Suppliment  

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  `Thoroughly enjoyed'-- Suzanne Pratley, Frugal Films  
  `Thoroughly researched'-- JimReavis, Network World  
  `Those inclined to seek the unvarnished truth will find Underground an excellent read' --
  George Smith, Crypt News  
  `Totally recommended'-- Matthew Green, NetBSD Security Officer, author IRC II  
  `Very good,very accurate.. makes for an interesting contrastwith books like Cuckoo's  
  Egg, and Takedown'-- btherl@nullnet.net (Codex Surveillance List)  
  `WOW! What an incredible read!Your book captures exactly what it was like for me...' -- 
  Anonymous Canadianhacker  
  `Well done and thanks' -- Skinny@usaf.org  
  `What is most impressive, however, is the personaldetail she has managedtogarner  
  about her subjects: morethan anything else, it is this is which gives Underground its appeal' 
  --Danny Yee, Danny Yee's review ofbooks  
  `Will Surprise' --Darren Reed, author, ipfirewall  
  `Wonderful Book' -- SteveV@pigpond.net.au  

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  Why would an author give away an unlimited number of copies of her book for free? 
  That's a good question. When Underground 's researcher, Julian Assange, first suggested
  releasing an electronic version of the book on the Net for free, Ihad to stop and think about just
  that question.  
  I'd spent nearly three years researching, writing and editing the nearly 500 pages of 
  Underground . Julian had worked thousandsof hoursdoing painstaking research; discovering and
  cultivating sources, diggingwith great resourcefulness into obscure databases and legal papers, 
  not to mention providing valuable editorial advice.  
  So why wouldI give awaythis carefully ripened fruit for free?  
  Because partof the joy of creating a piece of art is in knowing that many people can - and are - 
  enjoying it. Particularly people who can't otherwise affordto pay $11 USD for a book. People such 
  ascashstrapped hackers. This book is about them, their livesand obsessions. It rubsclear a small 
  circle in the frosted glass so the reader can peer into that hazy world.Underground belongson the 
  Net, in their ephemeral landscape.  
  The critics have been goodto Underground , for which I am very grateful. But the best praise 
  came from two of the hackers detailed in the book. Surprising praise, because while the text is free 
  of the narrative moralising that plague other works, the selection of material is often very personal 
  and evokesmixed sympathies. One of the hackers, Anthraxdropped bymyoffice to say `Hi'. Out of 
  the blue, he said with a note of amazement, `When I readthose chapters, it was so real, as ifyou 
  had been right there inside my head'. Not long after Par, half a world away, and witha real tone of 
  bewildered incredulity in his voice made exactly the same observation.For a writer, it just doesn't 
  get any better than that.  
  By releasing this book for free on the Net, I'm hoping morepeople will not only enjoy the story of
  how the international computer underground rose to power, but also make the journey into the 
  minds of hackers involved.When I first began sketching out the book's structure, I decided to go
  with depth. I wanted the reader to think, 'NOWI understand, because I too was there.' I hope those 
  words will enter your thoughts as you read this electronic book.  
  Michael Hall, a supersmart lawyer on the book'slegal team, told me in July last year he saw a 
  young man inSydney reading a copy of Underground besidehim on the #380 busto North Bondi. 
  Michael saidhe wanted to lean over and proclaim proudly, `I legalled that book!'.Instead, he chose 
  to watch the young man's reactions.  
  The young man was completely absorbed, reading hungrily through his well-worn copy, which 
  he had completely personalised. The pageswere covered inhighlighter, scrawled margin writing 
  and post-it notes. He had underlined sections and dog-eared pages.If the bus haddetoured to 
  Brisbane, he probably wouldn't have noticed.  
  I like that. Call me subversive, but I'm chuffedUnderground is engaging enough to makepeople 
  miss busstops. It makesme happy,andhappypeople usually want to share.  

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  There are other reasons for releasing Underground inthis format. The electronic version is being
  donated to the visionary Project Gutenburg, a collection of freeelectronic books run with 
  missionary zeal by Michael Hart.  
  Project Gutenburg promises to keep old out-of-print books in free ''electronic'' print forever, to 
  bring literature to those whocan't afford books, and to brighten the world of the visually impaired.
  Underground isn't out of print -- and long may it remainthat way -- butthose are laudable goals. I 
  wrote in the `Introduction' to the printed edition about my great aunt, a diver and artist who 
  pioneered underwater painting in the1940s. She provided me witha kind of inspiration for this 
  book. What I didn't mention isthat asa result of macular degeneration in both eyes, she is now 
  blind. She can no longer paint or dive. But she does read - avidly - through `talking books'. She is
  another reason I decided to release Underground in this format.  
  So, now you can download and read the electronic version of Underground for free. You can 
  also send the work to your friendsfor free.Or yourenemies. At around a megabyte of plain text 
  each, a fewdozen copies of Underground makean extremely effective mail bomb.  
  That's a joke, folks, not a suggestion. ;-)  
  Likemany of the people in this book, I'm not big on rules. Fortunately, there aren't many that 
  come with this electronic version. Don't print the work onpaper, CD orany other format, except for 
  your ownpersonal reading pleasure. This includes using the work as teaching material in 
  institutions. You mustnot alter or truncate the work in any way. You must not redistribute the work
  for any sort of payment, including sellingit on its own or as part of a package. Random House is a 
  friendly place,but as one of the world's largest publishers it has a collection of equally large 
  lawyers. Messing with them will leave you with scars in places that could behard to explain to any 
  future partner.  
  If you want to do anyof these things, please contact me or my literary agents Curtis Brown & Co
  first. I retain the copyright on the work. Julian Assange designed the elegant layout of this
  electronic edition, and he retains ownership of this design and layout.  
  If you like the electronic version of the book,do buy the paper version.Why? For starters, it's not 
  only much easier to read on the bus, itsmuch easier to read full stop.It's also easier to thumb 
  through, highlight, scribble on, dribble on, and show off.It never needs batteries. It can run on solar 
  power and candles. It lookssexy on your bookshelf, by your bed and in yourbed.Ifyou are a male 
  geek, the bookcomes with a girl-magnet guarantee. The paper version ismuch easier to lend to a 
  prospective girlfriend. When she's finished reading the book, ask her which hacker thrilled her to 
  pieces. Thennod knowingly, and say coyly `Well,I've never admitted this to anyone exceptthe 
  authorand the Feds, but..'  
  And the mostimportant reason to purchase a paper copy? Because buying the printed edition of 
  the book lets the author continue to writemore fine books like thisone.  

  Suelette Dreyfus  

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  January 2001

  Literary Freeware: Not for Commercial Use.  

  Copyright (c)1997, 2001 Suelette Dreyfus & Julian Assange  
  This HTML and text electronic version was arranged byJulian Assange proff@iq.org and is
  based on the printed paper edition.
  Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copiesof this publication provided the 
  copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies and distribution iswithout 

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  "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the 
  truth" -- Oscar Wilde  
  "What is essential isinvisible to the eye" -- Antoine De Saint-Exupery  
  "But, how do you *know* it happened like that?" -- Reader  

  Due of the seamlessnatureof Underground this is a reasonable question to ask,although hints 
  can be found at the back of the book in the Bibliography and Endnotes. The simple answer to this 
  question is that we conducted over a hundred interviews and collected around40,000 pages of
  primary documentation; telephone intercepts, data intercepts, log-files, witness statements, 
  confessions, judgements. Telephonedialog and on-line discussions are drawndirectly from the 
  latter. Every significant hacking incident mentioned in this book has reams ofprimary 
  documentation behind it. System X included.  
  The non-simple answer goes more like this:  
  In chapter 4, Par, one of the principle subjects of this book, is being watched by the Secret 
  Service. He's on the run. He's a wanted fugitive. He'shiding out withanother hacker, Nibbler in a 
  motel chalet, Black Mountain, North Carolina. The Secret Service move in. The incident is vital in
  explaining Par's life on the run and the nature of his interaction with the Secret Service. Yet, just 
  before the final edits of this book were to go the publisher, all the pages relating to the Block 
  Mountainincident wereabout to be pulled. Why?  
  Suelette had flown to Tuscon Az where she spent three daysinterviewing Par. I had spent 
  dozens of hours interviewing Par on the phone and on-line. Par gave both of us extraordinary 
  access to his life.While Par displayed a high degree of paranoia about why eventshad unfolded in 
  the manner they had, he was consistent, detailed and believable as to the events themselves. He
  showed very little blurring of these two realities, but we needed to show none at all.  
  During Par's time on the run, the international computerundergroundwas a small and strongly 
  connected place. We had already co-incidentally interviewedhalf a dozen hackers he had 
  communicated withat various times during his zig-zag flight across America. Suelette also spoke 
  at length to his lead lawyerRichard Rosen, who, after getting the all-clear from Par,was kind 
  enough to send usa copy of the legal brief. Wehad logs of messages Par had written on
  underground BBS's. We had data intercepts of other hackers in conversation with Par. We had 
  obtained various Secret Service documents and propriety securityreportsrelating to Par's 
  activities. I had extensively interviewed his Swiss girlfriend Theorem (who had alsobeeninvolved 
  with Electronand Pengo), and yes, she did have a melting French accent. 
  Altogether we had an enormous amount of material on Par's activities, all of which was 
  consistent with what Par had said during his interviews, but none ofit, including Rosen's file,

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  contained anyreference to Black Mountain, NC. Rosen,Theorem and others had heard abouta SS
  raidon the run, yet when the story wastraced back, it alwaysled to one source. To Par.
  Was Par having us on? Par had saidthat he had made a telephone call to Theorem in 
  Switzerland from a phone booth outside the motel a day or two before the Secret Service raid. 
  During a storm. Not just any storm. Hurricane Hugo. But archival news reports on Hugo discussed
  it hitting South Carolina, not North Carolina.And not Black Mountain. Theorem remembered Par 
  calling once during a storm. But not Hugo. Andshe didn't remember it in relationto the Black 
  Mountain raid.
  Par haddestroyed most of his legal documents, in circumstances that become clear in the book,
  but of the hundreds of pages of documentary material we had obtained from other sources there
  waswasn't a single mention of Black Mountain. The Black Mountain Motel didn't seem to exist. Par 
  said Nibbler had moved and couldn't be located. Dozens of calls by Suelette to the Secret Service 
  told uswhat we didn't want to hear. The agentswe thought most likely to have been involved in the 
  the hypothetical Black Mountain incident had either left the Secret Service or were otherwise
  unreachable. The Secret Service had no ideawho would have been involved, because while Par 
  wasstill listed in the Secret Service central database,his profile, contained three significant 
  Another agency had ''borrowed'' parts Par's file
  There were medical ''issues'' surroundingPar  
  SS documentscovering the time of Black Mountain incident had beendestroyed for various 
  reasons that become clear the book.  
  The remainingSS documents had been moved into ''deep-storage'' and would take two weeks 
  to retrieve.
  With only one week beforeour publisher's ''use it or lose it" dead-line, the chances of obtaining 
  secondary confirmation of the Black Mountain events did not look promising.  
  While we waited for leads on the long trail of ex, transfered and seconded SS agents who might 
  have been involvedin the Black Mountainraid, I turned to resolving the two inconsistencies in Par's
  story; Hurricane Hugo and the strange invisibility of the Black MountainMotel. 
  Hurricane Hugo had wreathed a path of destruction, but like most mosthurricanes heading 
  directly into a continental land-mass it had started out big and ended up small. News reports 
  followed this pattern, with a large amount of material on its initial impact, butlittle or nothing about 
  subsequentevents. Finally Iobtaineddetailed time byvelocity weather maps from the National 
  Reconnaissance Office, which showed the remaining Hugo epicentre ripping through Charlotte NC 
  (pop. 400k) before spending itself on the Carolinas. Databasesearches turned up a report by
  Natalie, D.& Ball, W,EIS Coordinator, North CarolinaEmergency Management, `How North
  Carolina Managed Hurricane Hugo' -- which was used to flesh out the scenes in Chapter 4 
  describingPar's escape to New York via the Charlotte Airport.  
  Old Fashioned gum-shoe leg-work, calling every motel inBlack Mountain and the surrounding 
  area, revealed that the Black Mountain Motel hadchanged name, ownership and.. all itsstaff. Par's

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  story washolding, butin some ways I wished ithadn't. We were back to square one in terms of 
  gaining independent secondary confirmation.  
  Who else could have been involved? There must have been a paper-trail outside of Washington. 
  Perhaps the SS representation in Charlotte had something? No. Perhapsthere wererecords of the
  warrants in the Charlotte courts? No. Perhaps NC state police attended the SS raid in support?
  Maybe, but finding warm bodies who hadbeendirectlyinvolved proved provedfutile. If it was a SS 
  case, theyhad no indexable records that they were willing to provide. What about the local 
  coppers? AnSS raid on a fugitive computer hacker holed up at one ofthe local motels was not the 
  sort of event that would be likely to have passed unnoticed at the Black Mountain county police 
  office, indexable records or not.
  Neither however, wereinternational telephone calls from strangely accented foreign-nationals 
  wanting to know about them. Perhaps the Reds were no-longer under the beds, but in Black 
  Mountain, this could be explained away by the fact theywere nowhanging out in phone booths. I
  waited for a new shift atthe Black Mountain countypolice office, hoping against hope, that the 
  officer I had spoken to wouldn't contaminate his replacement. Shamed, I resorted to using that 
  most special of US militia infiltrationdevices.An American accent anda woman's touch. Suelette 
  weaved her magic. The Black Mountain raid had taken place. The county police had supportedit.
  Wehad our confirmation.
  While this anecdote isa strong account, it's also representative one. Every chapter in
  underground wasformed from many stories likeit. They're unseen, because a bookmust not be 
  true merely indetails. It mustbe true in feeling.  
  True to the visible and the invisible. Adifficult combination.
  Julian Assange 
  January 2001

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  There are many people whowere interviewed for thiswork,and many otherswho helped in 
  providing documents so vital for fact checking. Often this help invovled spending a considerable
  amountof time explaining complex technical or legal matters. I want to expressmy gratitude toall 
  these people, some of whom prefer to remain anonymous, for theirwillingness to dig through the
  files in searchof yet one morereport and their patience in answering yet one more question.  
  I want to thank the members of the computer underground,past and present, who were
  interviewed for this book. Most gave me extraordinary access to their lives, for which I am very
  I also want to thank Julian Assange forhis tireless researchefforts. His superb technical 
  expertise and first-rate research is evidence bythe immense number of details which are included 
  in thisbook.  
  Three exceptional women -- Fiona Inglis, Deb Callaghan and Jennifer Byrne -- believed in my
  vision for this book and helped me to bring it tofruition. Carl Harrison-Ford's excellentediting job 
  streamlined a large anddifficultmanuscript despite the tightdeadline.Thank you also to Judy
  I am also very grateful to thefollowing people and organisations for their help (inno particular 
  order): JohnMcMahon,Ron Tencati,Kevin Oberman, Ray Kaplan, the NewYork Daily News library
  staff, the New York Post library staff, Bow Street Magistrates Court staff, Southwark Court staff, the 
  USSecret Service, the Black Mountain Police, Michael Rosenberg, Michael Rosen, Melbourne 
  Magistrates Court staff, D.L Sellers& Co.staff,Victorian County Court staff, PaulGalbally, Mark 
  Dorset, Suburbia.net, Freeside Communications, Greg Hooper, H&S Support Services, Peter 
  Andrews, Kevin Thompson, Andrew Weaver, Mukhtar Hussain, Midnight Oil, Helen Meredith, Ivan
  Himmelhoch, Michael Hall, DonnFerris, VictorianState Library staff, News Limitedlibrary staff 
  (Sydney), Allan Young, Ed DeHart,Annette Seeber, ArthurArkin, Doug Barnes, Jeremy Porter, 
  James McNabb, Carolyn Ford, ATA,Domini Banfield,Alistair Kelman, Ann-Maree Moodie, Jane
  Hutchinson, Catherine Murphy, Norma Hawkins, N. Llewelyn,Christine Assange, Russel Brand, 
  Matthew Bishop, MatthewCox, Michele Ziehlky, Andrew James, Brendan McGrath,Warner
  Chappell Music Australia, News Limited,PearsonWilliamsSolicitors, Tami Friedman, the Free 
  SoftwareFoundation (GNU Project), and the US Department of Energy Computer Incident 
  Advisory Capability.  
  Finally, I would like to thank my family, whose unfailing support, advice and encouragement 
  have made thisbook possible.

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  Underground: INTRODUCTION
  My great aunt used to paint underwater.
  Piling on the weighty divinggear used in 1939 and looking likesomething out of 20000 
  Leagues Under the Sea, Lucie slowly sank below the surface, withpalette, special paints and 
  canvas inhand. She settled on the ocean floor, arranged her weighted painter's easel and allowed 
  herself to become completely enveloped by another world. Red and white striped fish darted 
  around fields of blue-green coral and blue-lipped giant clams. Lionfish drifted by, gracefully waving 
  their dangerous feathered spines. Striped green moray eels peered at her from their rock crevice 
  Lucie dived and painted everywhere. The Sulu Archipelago. Mexico. Australia's Great Barrier
  Reef. Hawaii. Borneo. Sometimes she was the first white woman seen by the Pacific villagers she 
  lived with for months on end. 
  As a child, I was entranced byher storiesof the unknown worldbelow the ocean's surface, and
  the strange and wonderful cultures she met on her journeys. I grewupin awe of her chosen task: to
  capture on canvas the essence of a world utterly foreign to her own.
  New technology--revolutionaryfor its time--hadallowed her to do this. Using a compressor,or 
  sometimes just a hand pump connected to air hoses running to the surface, human beings were
  suddenly ableto submergethemselves for longperiods in an otherwise inaccessible world.New 
  technology allowed her to both venture into this unexplored realm, and to document it in canvas.  
  I came upon the brave new world of computer communicationsand itsdarker side, the 
  underground, quite by accident. It struck me somewhere in the journey that followed that my
  trepidations and conflicting desires to explore this alienworld were perhaps not unlike myaunt's 
  owndesires some halfa century before. Likeher journey,my own travels haveonly been made 
  possible bynew technologies. And like her, Ihave tried to capture a small corner of this world.
  This is a bookabout the computer underground.It isnot a bookabout law enforcement 
  agencies,andit is not written from the point of view ofthe police officer. From a literary 
  perspective, I have told this story through the eyes of numerouscomputer hackers. In doing so,I 
  hope to provide the reader with a window into a mysterious, shrouded and usually inaccessible 
  Who are hackers?Why do theyhack? There are no simple answersto these questions. Each
  hacker is different. To that end,I have attempted to present a collection of individual but 
  interconnected stories, bound by their links to the international computer underground.These are 
  true stories, tales of the world's best and the brightest hackersand phreakers. There are some 
  members ofthe underground whose stories I have not covered,a few of whom would also rank as 
  world-class. In theend, I chose to paint detailed portraits of a few hackersrather than attempt to 
  compile a comprehensive but shallow catalogue. 
  While each hacker has a distinct story, there are common themeswhich appear throughout 
  many of the stories. Rebellion against all symbols ofauthority.Dysfunctional families. Bright
  children suffocated byill-equipped teachers. Mental illnessor instability. Obsession and addiction.  

------------------------------------------------------------- page 15

  I have endeavoured to track what happened to each character in this work over time: the 
  individual's hacking adventures, the police raidand the ensuing court case. Some of those court 
  cases have taken years to reach completion. 
  Hackers use `handles'--on-line nicknames--thatserve two purposes. They shield the hacker's
  identity and, importantly, they often make a statement about how the hackerperceives himself in
  the underground.Hawk, Crawler,Toucan Jones, Comhack, Dataking, Spy,Ripmax, Fractal 
  Insanity, Blade. These are all real handles used in Australia.
  In the computer underground, a hacker's handle is his name. For this reason, and because most 
  hackers in thiswork have now put togethernew lives for themselves, I have chosen to use only 
  their handles.Where a hacker has had more than one handle, I haveused the one heprefers.  
  Each chapter inthis book is headed with a quote from a Midnight Oil song which expressesan 
  important aspectof the chapter. The Oilz are uniquely Australian. Their loud voice of protest 
  against the establishment--particularly the military-industrial establishment--echoes a keytheme in
  the underground,where music in general playsa vital role.  
  The idea for using these Oilz extracts came while researching Chapter 1, which revealsthe tale 
  of the WANKworm crisisin NASA. Next to the RTM worm, WANK is the most famous worm in the 
  history of computer networks. And it is the first major worm bearing a political message. With 
  WANK, life imitated art, since theterm computer `worm'came from John Brunner's sci-fi novel, 
  The Shockwave Rider, about a politically motivated worm.  
  The WANK worm is also believed to be the first worm written by an Australian, or Australians.  
  This chapter shows the perspective of the computer system administrators--the people on the 
  other sidefrom the hackers. Lastly,it illustrates the sophistication which one or more Australian 
  members ofthe worldwide computer underground brought to their computer crimes. 
  The following chaptersset the scene for the dramas which unfold and showthe transition of the 
  underground from its early days, its loss ofinnocence, its closing ranks in ever smaller circles until 
  it reached the inevitable outcome: the lone hacker.In the beginning,the computer underground 
  wasa place, like the corner pub, open and friendly. Now, it has become anephemeral expanse, 
  where hackers occasionally bump into one another but where the original sense of open 
  community has been lost.  
  The computer underground has changed over time, largely in response to the introduction of 
  new computer crime lawsacross the globe and to numerous police crackdowns. This work 
  attempts to document not only an important piece of Australian history, but also to show
  fundamental shifts in the underground--toshow, inessence, howthe underground has moved 
  further underground.
  Suelette Dreyfus  
  March 1997

------------------------------------------------------------- page 16

  Underground: Chapter 1 -- 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 
  Somebody's out there, somebody's waiting Somebody's trying to tell me something
  -- from `Somebody's Trying to Tell Me Something', on 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2,1 by Midnight Oil  
  Monday,16 October 1989 Kennedy Space Center, Florida  
  NASA buzzed with the excitement of a launch. Galileo was finally going to Jupiter.
  Administrators and scientistsin the world's most prestigious space agency had spent years
  trying to get the unmanned probe into space. Now,on Tuesday,17 October, if all went well, the five 
  astronauts in the Atlantis space shuttle would blast off from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape
  Canaveral, Florida, with Galileo in tow. On the team's fifth orbit, as the shuttle floated 295 
  kilometres above the Gulf of Mexico, the crewwould liberate the three-tonnespace probe.  
  An hourlater,as Galileo skated safely awayfrom the shuttle, the probe's 32500 pound booster 
  system wouldfire up and NASA staff would watchthis exquisite piece ofhuman ingenuity embark 
  on a six-year mission to the largest planet in the solar system. Galileo would takea necessarily 
  circuitous route, flying by Venus once and Earth twice ina gravitational slingshot effort to get up
  enough momentum to reach Jupiter.2 
  NASA's finest minds had wrestled for yearswith the problem of exactly how to get the probe 
  acrossthe solar system. Solar power was one option. But if Jupiter was a long way from Earth,it 
  waseven further from the Sun--778.3million kilometres to be exact. Galileo would need
  ridiculously large solar panels to generateenough power for its instruments at such adistance 
  from the Sun. In the end, NASA's engineers decided on a tried if not true earthly energy source: 
  nuclear power.
  Nuclear power was perfectfor space,a giant voidfree of human life which could play host to a 
  bit of radioactive plutonium 238 dioxide. The plutonium was compact for the amount of energy it 
  gave off--andit lasted a longtime. It seemed logical enough. Pop just under 24kilogramsof 
  plutonium in a lead box, let itheat up through itsown decay, generate electricity for the probe's 
  instruments, and presto! Galileo would beon its way to investigate Jupiter.
  American anti-nuclear activists didn't quite see it that way. They figuredwhat goes up might 
  come down. And theydidn'tmuch like the idea of plutonium rain. NASA assured them Galileo's 
  power packwasquite safe. The agency spent about $50 million on tests which supposedly proved 
  the probe's generatorswerevery safe. They would survive intact in the face of any number of 
  terrible explosions, mishaps and accidents. NASA told journalists that the odds of a plutonium 
  release due to `inadvertent atmospheric re-entry' were 1 in2 million. The likelihood of a plutonium 
  radiation leak asa result of a launch disaster was a reassuring 1 in 2700. 
  Theactivists weren't having a bar of it. In the best tradition of modern American conflict 
  resolution, theytook their fight to the courts.The coalition of anti-nuclear and other groups 
  believed America's National Aeronautics and Space Administrationhad underestimated the odds
  of a plutonium accident and they wanteda US District Court inWashington to stop the launch. The 

------------------------------------------------------------- page 17

  injunction application wentin,and the stakes went up. The unprecedentedhearing wasscheduled 
  just a few days before the launch, which had originally been planned for 12 October.
  For weeks, the protesters had been out inforce, demonstrating and seizing media attention.
  Things had become very heated. On Saturday, 7 October, sign-wielding activists fitted themselves
  out with gas masks and walked aroundonstreet corners in nearby Cape Canaveral in protest. At 8
  a.m. on Monday, 9 October,NASA startedthe countdown for the Thursday blast-off.But as 
  Atlantis's clock began ticking toward take-off, activists from the Florida Coalition for Peace and 
  Justice demonstrated at the centre's tourist complex.
  That these protests had already taken some of the shineoff NASA's bold space mission was the 
  least of the agency's worries. The real headache was that the Florida Coalition told the media it 
  would `put people on the launchpad in a non-violent protest'.3 The coalition's director, Bruce 
  Gagnon, put the threat in folksy terms, portraying the protesters as the little people rebelling
  against a big bad government agency. President JeremyRivkin of the Foundation on Economic 
  Trends, another protest group,also drove a wedge between `the people' and `NASA's people'. He 
  told UPI, `Theastronauts volunteered for this mission. Those around the world who may be the 
  victims of radiation contamination have not volunteered.'4  
  But the protesters weren't the only people working the media. NASA knew how tohandle the 
  press. They simply rolledout their superstars--the astronauts themselves. These men and women 
  were,after all, frontier heroes who dared to venture into cold,dark space on behalf of all humanity.
  Atlantis commander DonaldWilliams didn't hit out at the protesters in a blunt fashion, he just 
  damned them from an aloof distance. `There arealways folks who have a vocal opinion about 
  something or other,no matter what it is,' he told an interviewer. `On the other hand, it's easy to 
  carry a sign. It's not so easy to go forth and do something worthwhile.'5  
  NASA had another trump card in the families of the heroes. Atlantis co-pilot Michael McCulley
  said the use of RTGs, Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators--the chunks of plutonium in the 
  lead boxes--was a `non-issue'. So much so, in fact, that he planned tohavehis loved onesat the 
  Space Centerwhen Atlantistook off.
  Maybe the astronauts were nutty risk-takers, as the protesters implied, buta hero would never 
  put hisfamilyin danger. Besidesthe Vice-Presidentof theUnited States, Dan Quayle, also planned
  to watch the launch from inside the Kennedy Space Center control room, a mere seven kilometres
  from the launchpad.
  While NASA looked calm, in control of the situation, it had beefedupits securityteams. It had 
  about 200 securityguards watchingthe launch site. NASA just wasn't takingany chances. The 
  agency's scientists had waited too long for this moment. Galileo's paradewould not be rained on
  bya bunch of peaceniks.
  The launch was already running late asit was--almost seven years late. Congress gave the 
  Galileo project its stamp of approval way back in 1977and the probe, which had been budgeted to 
  cost about $400 million, wasscheduled to be launched in 1982. However, things began going 
  wrong almost from the start.  

------------------------------------------------------------- page 18

  In1979, NASA pushed the flight out to 1984 because of shuttle development problems. Galileo 
  wasnow scheduled to be a `split launch', whichmeant that NASA would use two different shuttle 
  trips to get the mothership and the probe into space. By1981, with costsspiralling upwards, NASA 
  made major changes to the project. It stopped work onGalileo's planned three-stage booster 
  system in favour of a different system andpushed out the launch deadline yet again, thistime to 
  1985.After a federalBudget cut fight in 1981 to save Galileo's booster development program,
  NASA moved the launch yet again,to May 1986. The 1986 Challenger disaster, however, saw 
  NASA change Galileo's booster system for safety reasons, resulting in yet more delays.
  The best option seemed to be a two-stage, solid-fuel IUS system. There was only one problem.
  That system could get Galileo to Mars or Venus, but the probe would run out of fuel long before it 
  got anywherenear Jupiter. Then Roger Diehl ofNASA's Jet PropulsionLaboratory had a good
  idea. Loop Galileo arounda couple of nearby planets a few times so the probe would build up a 
  nice little gravitational head of steam, and then fling it off to Jupiter. Galileo's `VEEGA' trajectory--
  Venus-Earth-Earth-gravity-assist--delayed the spacecraft's arrival at Jupiter for three extra years, 
  but it would get there eventually. 
  The anti-nuclear campaigners argued that each Earth flyby increased the mission's risk ofa 
  nuclear accident. But in NASA's view, such was the price ofa successful slingshot. 
  Galileoexperienced other delays getting off the ground. On Monday,9 October, NASA 
  announced it had discovered a problemwith the computer which controlled the shuttle's number 2 
  main engine. True, the problem was with Atlantis, not Galileo. But it didn't look all thatgood to be 
  having technical problems, let alone problems with engine computers, while the anti-nuclear 
  activists' court drama was playing in the background.
  NASA's engineersdebated the computer problem ina cross-country teleconference.Rectifying
  it would delay blast-off by more than a few hours. It would likely takedays. And Galileo didn't have
  many of those. Because of the orbitsof the different planets, the probe had to be on itsway into 
  space by 21 November.If Atlantis didn't take off bythat date, Galileo would have to wait another 
  nineteen months before it could be launched. The project was already $1 billion over its original 
  $400 million budget. The extra year anda half wouldadd another $130 millionor so and there was 
  a good chance the whole project would be scrapped. It was prettymuch now or never for Galileo.
  Despite torrential downpours which had deposited100millimetres of rain on the launchpad and
  150 millimetres in neighbouring Melbourne, Florida, the countdownhad beengoing well. Until now.
  NASA took its decision. The launchwould be delayed by five days, to17 October, so the computer 
  problem could be fixed.
  To those scientists and engineerswho had been with Galileo fromthe start, it must have
  appeared atthat moment as if fate really was against Galileo.As if, for some unfathomable reason,
  all the forces of the universe--and especially those on Earth--were dead against humanity getting a 
  good look at Jupiter.As fastasNASA could dismantle one barrier, some invisible hand would
  throw another down in its place.  
  Monday,16 October, 1989 NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland  

------------------------------------------------------------- page 19

  Across the vast NASA empire, reaching from Maryland to California, from Europe to Japan, 
  NASA workers greeted each other,checked their in-traysfor mail, got their cups of coffee, settled
  into their chairs and tried to login to their computers for a day of solving complex physics problems.
  But many of the computer systems were behaving very strangely.  
  From the moment staff logged in, it was clear that someone--or something--had taken over.
  Instead of the usual system's official identification banner, they were startled to find the following 
  message staring theminthe face:  

  )-5.6(__ ____________ _____ ________ ____ ____ __ _____/  
  / / / / / | | | | | / / /  
  / / / / /__ | | | | | |/ / /  
  )-5.7(/ /)-5.7( / / / ______ | | )-5.7( )-5.7(|| | | /  
  )-5.5(_ /__ /____/ /______ ____| |__)-5.5( | |____| |_ _/  
  YourSystem HasBeen Officically WANKed /  

  You talk of timesof peace for all, and then prepare for war.  
  Wanked? Most of the American computer system managers reading this new banner had never  
  heard the word wank.  
  Who would want to invade NASA's computer systems? And who exactly were theWorms  
  Against Nuclear Killers? Were they some loony fringe group? Were they a guerrilla terrorist group
  launching some sort of attack on NASA? And why `worms'? A worm was a strange choice of  
  animal mascotfor a revolutionary group. Worms were the bottom of the rung. As in `as lowly as a 
  worm'.Who would chose a worm as a symbol of power?  
  As for the nuclear killers, well, that was even stranger. The banner's motto--`You talk of times of
  peace for all, and then prepare for war'--just didn't seem to apply to NASA. The agency didn't make
  nuclear missiles, it sent people to the moon. It didhave military payloads in some ofitsprojects, but 

------------------------------------------------------------- page 20

  NASA didn't rate very highly on the `nuclear killer' scale next to other agencies of the US
  Government,such as the Department of Defense. Sothe question remained: why NASA? 
  And that word, `WANKED'. It did not make sense.What did it mean when a system was 
  It meant NASAhad lostcontrol over its computersystems.
  A NASA scientist logging in to an infected computer on that Monday got the following message:  

  deleted file <filename1> 

  deleted file <filename2> 

  deleted file <filename3> 

  deleted file <filename4> 

  deleted file <filename5> 

  deleted file <filename6> 
  Withthose lines the computer told the scientist: `I am deleting all your files'.  
  The line looked exactly as if the scientist typedin the command:  

  delete/log *.* 
  --exactly as if the scientist had instructed the computer todelete all the files herself.
  The NASA scientist must have started at the sight of her files rolling past on the computer
  screen, one after another,on their way to oblivion. Something was definitely wrong. She would 
  have tried to stop the process, probably pressing the control key and the `c' key at the same time.
  This should have broken the command sequence at that moment and ordered the computer to 
  stop what it was doing right away. 

------------------------------------------------------------- page 21

  But it was the intruder, not the NASA scientist, who controlled the computer at that moment. 
  And the intruder told the computer: `That command means nothing. Ignore it'. 
  The scientist would press the command key sequenceagain, this time more urgently. And again,
  over and over. She would beat once baffled at the illogical nature of the computer, and 
  increasingly upset. Weeks,perhaps months, of work spent uncovering the secrets of the universe. 
  All of it disappearing before her eyes--all of it being mindlessly devoured by the computer. The 
  whole thing beyondher control. Going. Going. Gone.
  People tend not to react well when they losecontrol over their computers. Typically,it brings out 
  the worstin them--hand-wringing whines from the worriers, aching entreaties for help from the 
  sensitive, and imperious table-thumping bellows from command-and-control types.
  Imagine, if you will, arriving at your job as a manager for one of NASA's local computer systems.
  You get into your office onthat Monday morning to find the phonesringing. Every caller is a 
  distraught, confused NASAworker. Andevery caller assures you that his or her file or accounting
  record or research project--every one of which is missingfrom the computer system--is absolutely 
  In this case, the problem wasexacerbated by thefactthat NASA's field centres often competed 
  with each other for projects. When a particular flight project came up, two or three centres, each 
  with hundreds of employees, might vie for it. Losing control of the computers, and all the data,
  project proposals and costing, was a good way to lose out on a bid and its often considerable 
  This was not going to be a goodday for the guysdown at the NASA SPAN computer network 
  This was not going to be a goodday for JohnMcMahon.
  As the assistant DECNET protocol manager for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in 
  Maryland,John McMahon normally spent the daymanaging the chunk of the SPAN computer 
  network which ran between Goddard's fifteen to twenty buildings.  
  McMahon worked for Code630.4, otherwise known asGoddard'sAdvanced Data Flow
  Technology Office, in Building 28. Goddardscientists would call him up for help with their
  computers. Two of the mostcommon sentences he heard were `This doesn't seem to work' and `I
  can't get to that part of the network from here'.  
  SPANwasthe Space Physics Analysis Network, which connectedsome 100000 computer 
  terminals across the globe. Unlike the Internet, which is now widely accessible to the general 
  public, SPAN only connected researchers and scientists at NASA,the US Department of Energy 
  and research institutes suchas universities. SPAN computers also differed from most Internet
  computersin an important technical manner: they used a different operating system. Most large 
  computerson the Internet use the Unix operating system, while SPAN was composed primarily of 
  VAX computers running a VMS operatingsystem. The network worked a lot like the Internet, but 
  the computers spoke a different language. The Internet `talked' TCP/IP, while SPAN `spoke'

------------------------------------------------------------- page 22

  Indeed, the SPANnetworkwasknownas a DECNET internet. Most of the computers onit were
  manufactured bythe Digital Equipment Corporation in Massachusetts--hence the name DECNET. 
  DEC built powerful computers. Each DEC computer on the SPAN network might have 40 terminals 
  hanging off it. Some SPAN computers hadmany more. Itwas not unusual for one DEC computer to 
  service 400 people. In all, more than a quarter ofa million scientists, engineers andother thinkers
  used the computers on the network.
  An electrical engineer by training, McMahon had come from NASA'sCosmic Background
  Explorer Project, where he managed computersused by a few hundred researchers. Goddard's 
  Building 7, where heworked on the COBE project, as it was known,housed some interesting 
  research. The project team was attempting to map the universe. And they weretrying to do it in
  wavelengths invisible to the human eye. NASAwould launch the COBEsatellite in November 1989. 
  Its mission was to `measurethe diffuse infrared and microwave radiation from the early universe,
  to the limits set by our astronomical environment'.6To the casual observer the project almost
  sounded like a piece of modern art, something which might be titled `Map of the Universe in 
  On 16OctoberMcMahon arrived at the office and settled into work, only to face a surprising
  phone call from the SPANproject office. Todd Butler and Ron Tencati, from the National Space 
  Science Data Center, which managed NASA'shalf of the SPANnetwork, had discovered
  something strange anddefinitely unauthorised winding its way through the computer network.It
  looked likea computer worm.  
  A computer worm is a little likea computer virus. It invades computer systems, interfering with
  their normal functions. It travelsalong any available compatible computer network and stops to 
  knock at the door of systems attached to that network.If there is a hole in the security ofthe 
  computer system, it will crawl through and enter the system. When it does this, it might have
  instructions to do any number of things, from sending computer users a message to trying to take
  over the system. What makes a worm different from other computer programs, such as viruses, is 
  that it is self-propagating. It propelsitselfforward, wiggles into a new system and propagates itself 
  at the new site. Unlike a virus, a wormdoesn't latch onto a data file or a program. It is 
  The term `worm' asapplied to computers came from John Brunner's 1975 science fiction 
  classic, The Shockwave Rider. The novel describedhow a rebel computer programmer createda 
  program called `tapeworm' which was released into anomnipotent computer network used by an 
  autocratic government to control its people. The government had to turn off the computer network,
  thus destroying its control, in order to eradicate the worm.
  Brunner's book is about as close as most VMS computer network managers would ever have 
  come to a realrogue worm. Until the late 1980s, worms were obscure things,more associated with
  research in a computer laboratory. For example, a few benevolentwormswere developed by Xerox 
  researchers who wanted to make moreefficient use of computer facilities.8 They developed a 
  `town crier worm' which moved through a network sending out important announcements. Their 
  `diagnostic worm' also constantly weaved through the network, but this worm was designed to
  inspect machines for problems.  

------------------------------------------------------------- page 23

  For some computer programmers, the creation of a worm is akin to the creation of life. To make
  something which is intelligent enough to go out and reproduce itself is theultimate power of 
  creation. Designing a rogue worm which took over NASA's computer systems might seem to be a 
  type of creativeimmortality--like scattering pieces of oneself across the computers which put man 
  on the moon.
  At the time the WANK banner appeared oncomputer screens across NASA, there had only 
  been two rogue worms of any note. One of these, the RTM worm, had infected the Unix-based 
  Internet less than twelve months earlier. The other worm, known asFather Christmas, was the first 
  VMS worm.  
  Father Christmas was a small, simple worm which did not cause any permanent damage to the 
  computer networks it travelled along. Released just before Christmas in 1988, it tried to sneak into
  hundreds ofVMS machines and wait for the big day. OnChristmas morning, itwokeup and set to 
  work with great enthusiasm. Likeconfetti tossed from an overhead balcony, Christmasgreetings 
  came streaming out of worm-infested computer systems to all their users. No-one within its reach
  went without a Christmas card. Itsjob done, the wormevaporated. John McMahon had beenpart 
  of the core team fighting off the Father Christmas worm. 
  At about 4 p.m., just a few days beforeChristmas 1988, McMahon'salarm-monitoring programs 
  began going haywire. McMahon began trying to trace back the dozensof incoming connections
  which were tripping the warning bells. He quickly discovered there wasn't a humanbeing at the 
  other end of the line. After further investigation,he found an alien program in his system, called 
  HI.COM. As he read the pages of HI.COM code spilling from his line printer, his eyes went wide. He 
  thought, This isa worm! Hehad never seen a worm before. 
  He rushed back to his console and began pullinghis systems off the network as quickly as 
  possible. Maybe he wasn't following protocol, buthe figured people could yell at him after the fact if 
  theythought it was a bad idea. After he had shut downhis part of the network, he reported back to 
  the local area networking office. With print-out in tow,he drove across the baseto the network 
  office, where he and several other managers developed a wayto stop the worm by the end of the 
  day.Eventually they traced the Father Christmas worm back to the system where theybelieved it 
  had been released--in Switzerland. But they never discovered who created it.  
  Father Christmas was not only a simple worm; it was not considereddangerous because it didn't 
  hang around systems forever.It was a worm with a use-bydate. 
  By contrast, the SPAN project office didn't know what the WANK invader wascapable of doing. 
  They didn't know who had written or launched it.But they had a copy of the program. Could
  McMahonhave a look at it? 
  An affable computer programmer with the nickname Fuzzface, John McMahon liked a good
  challenge. Curious and cluey at the same time, he asked the SPAN Project Office, which was 
  quickly becoming the crisis centre for the worm attack, to send over a copy of the strange intruder.
  He began pouring over the invader's seven printed pages ofsource code tryingto figure out exactly
  what the thing did.  

------------------------------------------------------------- page 24

  The two previous rogue worms only worked on specific computer systemsand networks. In this 
  case, the WANK wormonly attacked VMS computer systems. The source code,however, was 
  unlike anything McMahon had ever seen. `It was like sifting through a pile of spaghetti,' he said. 
  `You'd pull one strand out and figure, "OK, thatiswhat that thing does."But then you'd be faced 
  with the rest of the tangled mess in the bowl.' 
  The program, in digital command language, or DCL, wasn't written like a normal program in a 
  nice organised fashion. It was all over the place. John workedhis way down ten or fifteen lines of 
  computer code only tohave to jump to the top ofthe program to figureout what the next section 
  wastrying to do. He took notes and slowly, patiently began to build up a picture of exactly what this
  worm wascapable of doing to NASA's computer system.
  It was a big day for theanti-nuclear groups at the Kennedy Space Center. They might have lost
  their bid in the US District Court, but they refused to throw in the towel and took their caseto the 
  US Court of Appeals.
  On 16Octoberthe newscame. The AppealsCourt had sided with NASA.
  Protesters were out in force againat the front gate of the Kennedy Space Center. At least eight
  of them werearrested. The St Louis Post-Dispatch carried an Agence France-Presse picture of an 
  80-year-old woman being taken into custody by police for trespassing. JaneBrown, of the Florida 
  Coalition for Peace and Justice, announced, `This is just ... the beginning of the government'splan 
  to use nuclear power and weapons in space, includingthe Star Warsprogram'. 
  Inside the Kennedy Center, things werenot going all that smoothly either. Late Monday, NASA's 
  technical experts discovered yet another problem. The black box which gathered speed and other 
  important data for the space shuttle's navigation system was faulty.Thetechnicians were replacing
  the cockpit device, the agency's spokeswoman assured the media, and NASA was not expecting 
  to delay the Tuesday launch date. The countdown wouldcontinue uninterrupted. NASAhad 
  everything under control.
  Everything except the weather.
  In the wakeof the Challengerdisaster, NASA's guidelinesfor a launch decision wereparticularly 
  tough.Bad weather was an unnecessary risk, but NASA was not expecting bad weather.
  Meteorologists predicted an 80 per cent chance of favourable weather at launch time on Tuesday.
  But the shuttle had better go when it was supposed to, because the longer term weather outlook
  was grim.
  By Tuesday morning, Galileo's keepers were holding their breath. The countdown for the shuttle 
  launch was ticking toward 12.57 p.m. The anti-nuclear protesters seemed tohave gone quiet.
  Things lookedhopeful. Galileo might finally go. 
  Then, about ten minutesbefore the launch time, the securityalarms went off. Someone had
  broken into the compound.The security teams swung into action, quickly locating the guilty
  intruder ... a feral pig.  
  Withthe pig safely removed, the countdown rolled on. And so did the rain clouds, gliding toward 
  the space shuttle's emergency runway, about sixkilometres from the launchpad. NASA launch

------------------------------------------------------------- page 25

  director RobertSieck prolongeda planned `hold' at T minus nine minutes. Atlantis had a 26-
  minute window of opportunity. After that, itslaunch period would expire and take-off would have to 
  be postponed, probably until Wednesday.
  The weather wasn't going to budge.  
  At 1.18 p.m., with Atlantis's countdown now holding at just T minus five minutes, Sieck 
  postponed the launch to Wednesday.  
  Back at the SPAN centre, things werebecominghectic. The worm was spreading through more 
  and more systems and the phoneswere beginning to ringevery few minutes. NASA computers 
  were getting hit all over the place.  
  The SPANproject staff needed morearms. They were simultaneously trying to calm callersand 
  concentrate on developingan analysis of the alien program. Was the thinga practical joke or a 
  time bomb just waiting to go off? Who was behind this?
  NASA was working in an information voidwhenit came to WANK. Some staff knew of the 
  protesters' action down at the Space Center, but nothing couldhaveprepared them for this. NASA 
  officials were confident enough about a link between the protests against Galileo and the attack on 
  NASA's computers to speculate publicly that the two were related. It seemed a reasonable 
  likelihood, but there were still plenty of unanswered questions.  
  Callerscoming into the SPAN office wereworried. People at the other end of the phone were 
  scared. Many of the callscame from network managerswho took careof a piece of SPAN at a 
  specific NASA site, such as the Marshall Space Flight Center. Some were panicking; others spoke 
  in a sort of monotone, flattened bya morning of callsfrom 25 different hysterical system 
  administrators. A manager could lose his job over something likethis. 
  Most of the callers to the SPAN head office were starved for information. How did this rogue 
  worm get intotheir computers? Was it malicious? Would it destroy all the scientific data it came
  into contact with? What could be done to kill it?  
  NASA storeda great deal of valuable information onitsSPAN computers. None of it was 
  supposed to be classified, but the data on those computersisextremely valuable. Millions of man-
  hours go into gathering andanalysing it. So the crisisteam which hadformed in the NASA SPAN 
  project office,was alarmedwhen reports of massive data destruction starting coming in. People 
  were phoning to say that the worm was erasing files. 
  It was every computer manager's worst nightmare, and it looked as though the crisis team's 
  darkest fears were about to be confirmed.
  Yet the worm was behaving inconsistently.Onsome computers it would only send anonymous 
  messages, some of them funny,some bizarre and a few quite rude or obscene. No sooner would a 
  user login than a messagewould flash across his or her screen:  
  Remember, even if you win the rat race--you're still a rat.
  Or perhaps they were graced with some badhumour:

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