Computer Underground Digest Volume 1, Issue #1.26 (Aug 2, 1990)

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**************************************************************************** >C O M P U T E R U N D E R G R O U N D< >D I G E S T< *** Volume 1, Issue #1.26 (Aug 2, 1990) ** **************************************************************************** MODERATORS: Jim Thomas / Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.bitnet) ARCHIVISTS: Bob Krause / Alex Smith USENET readers can currently receive CuD as alt.society.cu-digest. COMPUTER UNDERGROUND DIGEST is an open forum dedicated to sharing information among computerists and to the presentation and debate of diverse views. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ DISCLAIMER: The views represented herein do not necessarily represent the views of the moderators. Contributors assume all responsibility for assuring that articles submitted do not violate copyright protections. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ CONTENTS: File 1: Moderators' Corner File 2: GURPS: Review of Steve Jackson's Cyperpunk Game (Gordon Meyer) File 3: Cyberspace Subculture in Real Life (Mike Godwin) File 4: Update on RIPCO BBS and Dr. Ripco (Jim Thomas) File 5: The Current TAP (TAP Editors) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ---------------------------------------------------------------------- ******************************************************************** *** CuD #1.26, File 1 of 5: Moderators' Comments *** ******************************************************************** Date: 28 July, 1990 From: Moderators Subject: Moderators' Corner ++++++++++ In this file: 1) Keith Henson's Address 2) FTP Information 3) Len Rose Update +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ KEITH HENSON'S ADDRESS +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ In CuD 1.25, we printed an article by Keith Henson. For those wanting to know how to contact him for more information or to make donations, his address is: HKHENSON@CUP.PORTAL.COM +++++++++++++++++++++++++ FTP INFORMATION +++++++++++++++++++++++++ Some users have had problems obtaining files from the FTP site. Remember that it is case sensitive, and the directories are not immediately obvious without the directory list. To prevent abuse of the system, we furnish the file list only to subscribers of CuD. A second FTP site will be available in a few weeks. +++++++++++++++++++ LEN ROSE UPDATE +++++++++++++++++++ As of Friday, Aug. 3, Len Rose's case awaits trial in federal court in Baltimore. According to one source, Len was offered an arrangement in which he could plead guilty to one count of computer fraud and receive at least some prison time, but would have his computer equipment returned, or take the case to trial and take his chances. Len is currently represented by a public defender because of lack of resources to retain a specialist in computer crime cases. He remains unemployed, and has moved into a motel with his family. He told us that, because his equipment and crucial files were seized, his business was essentially shut down and he was deprived of his livelihood. This means that he not only cannot support his family, but cannot retain legal counsel of his choice. He said he was feeling isolated and "abandoned" and wasn't sure what his legal options were. We will present a detailed update of Len's situation in CuD 1.27. Len's public defender can be contacted at (301)-381-4646. ******************************************************************** >> END OF THIS FILE << *************************************************************************** ------------------------------ ******************************************************************** *** CuD #1.26: File 2 of 5: GURPS Review (by Gordon Meyer) *** ******************************************************************** Date: Fri, 20 Jul 90 01:19 CDT From: Gordon Meyer Subject: GURPS: Review of Steve Jackson's Cyperpunk Game ***************************************************************** * Fear and Loathing in the Secret Service * * A synopsis of GURPS Cyberpunk * * Gordon Meyer * * (with apologies to Hunter S. Thompson) * ***************************************************************** On March 1, 1990 the United States Secret Service raided the offices of Steve Jackson Games (SJG) in Austin, Texas. The raid was in conjunction with an ongoing investigation into the activities of a computer underground group known as the Legion Of Doom. In the process of the raid at Steve Jackson the agents seized files, computer equipment, and other assorted materials, including the soon-to-be-released book entitled GURPS CYBERPUNK. As of this writing (July 19, 1990) the majority of the material seized has been returned, but the four month lag time cost the company much in revenue and development time. The financial impact has been said to have caused lost income in the several thousand dollars range, and the layoff of nearly half the SJG staff. In spite of the difficulties of re-creating the book from notes, draft copies, and comments from beta testers, SJG released GURPS Cyberpunk approximately ten weeks ago. Sales thus far have been good, according to author Loyd Blankenship, and the reaction has been positive to "the most realistic cyperpunk game on the market". WHAT IS GURPS CYBERPUNK? This "review" is being written for the purpose of exploring a book that was confiscated, prior to publication, by the United States Secret Service. It is not a critique of the book itself. My intent is to discuss GURPS Cyperpunk in a framework that examines what it contains in general, not in specific, and most certainly not from the perspective a Role Playing Game aficionado. When the Secret Service confiscated GURPS Cyberpunk they remarked it was actually a "handbook for computer crime" (p.5). Thus giving us an excellent ideal-type by which we can (with tongue-in-cheek) define the essential elements, if not the specific contents, of a government identified "crime manual". GURPS Cyberpunk is but one module of the General Universal Role Playing System ("GURPS"). Role Playing Games (RPG) are complex simulations where players role play the actions and persona of a character in a mythical world. Many RPG's are written for one specific setting, such as "Dungeons and Dragons" (not a SJG product by the way) where play takes place in a medieval world of magic, wizards, and (naturally) dragons. GURPS, on the other hand, is an award-winning system whereby nearly any type of world or setting can be simulated based on the same set of GURPS rules and guidelines. GURPS Cyberpunk is a supplement to the GURPS Basic Set, giving the players specific rules and background material needed to play a game that takes place in a "cyperpunk" setting. CYBERPUNK? A discussion of "cyberpunk", as a genre and movement in and of itself, would eclipse this review. For our purposes we'll define cyberpunk as a science fiction genre where the world is presented as gritty, corrupt, and unfair, yet infused with rampant high technology being used for personal and corporate gain. Loyd Blankenship, the author of GURPS Cyberpunk and managing editor at SJG, describes it like this: The cyberpunk future is vibrant - pulsating with life, from the streets to the high-rises. Paradoxically, however, that life is cheap, perhaps because there's so much of it - there might be twenty million people in Tokyo or New York. Cyberpunk is a style defined by two elements. The first is interaction of man with technology. Computers are as common as dishwashers in the cyberpunk future, and the dividing line between man and machine is sometimes blurred....The second element found in most cyberpunk work is that of struggle. The world is divided into two groups - the haves and the have-nots - with a vast chasm between them. Those with power wish to keep it; those without, want to get it. (p.4) In discussing the role playing aspects of a cyberpunk world Blankenship writes: The conventional gaming morality of good versus evil has a limited role in the genre. What are the reference points? Characters in cyberpunk literature are constantly committing unethical, illegal or immoral acts, but they sometimes do so for purposes we could define as "good." Conversely, a repressive government may define behavior as "good" that stifles the human spirit and grinds individuals into the dust. In cyberpunk, there are rarely blacks and whites, but there are many shades of gray. (pp.4-5) If one considers GURPS Cyberpunk to be a literary work, rather than a "mere" rule book for gaming, it becomes a valuable reference work for exploring the cyberpunk genre. Blankenship has even thoughtfully included a selected bibliography of distinctive cyperpunk novels and movies. Those interested in learning more about the cyberpunk future will find bibliography quite helpful. THE GURPS CYBERPUNK WORLD. The book is divided into six sections, covering each element that the "Game Master" (the person who, in essence, referees and directs the game for the other players) should consider when planning his game or scenario. These sections, which will be discussed in turn, are: Characters Cyberwear Technology and Equipment Netrunning World Design Campaigning CHARACTERS: The inhabitants of the GURPS Cyberpunk world, and thus the personas players can choose to adopt in game play, are many and varied. Consistent with the overall theme of the genre they primarily consist of low-life and/or corrupt individuals interested mostly in personal gain. Some of the characters types discussed in the book include Assassins (which can be associated with a particular mega-corporation or freelancers), Bodyguards, Brokers (legitimate resellers, black marketeers, etc), Celebrities, Cops (corrupt and otherwise), Corporate (good, bad, or indifferent the corporate worker will always put company and career interests first. These characters are also known as "suits"), Drifters, Mobsters, Reporters, and Slicers (doctors who specialize in installing artificial supplements to the human body. See "cyberwear" below). There are many more roles and occupations that players can adopt. The GURPS Cyberpunk world is rich in options and offers something at every level of social strata. CYBERWEAR: In the cyberpunk world science and medicine have met, mated, and forever changed the meaning of "cosmetic surgery". In this section the various "optional equipment" players can purchase or obtain for their characters is discussed. Cybernetic implants or replacement parts, such as eyes with infrared or microscopic abilities, are available providing the player has enough money and chutzpah to risk the surgery. The cyberpunk body shops offer everything from razor sharp retractable blades that fit under your fingernails, to ROM chips and computer interfaces grafted directly onto the cerebral cortex. This section is a must read of "gadget freaks" of the future! TECHNOLOGY AND EQUIPMENT: This section discusses the weapons (such as slugthrowers, lasers, and grenades), equipment (such as ROM burners, batteries, vehicles), and drugs (both legal and illegal), that are found in the game's world. The accessories found here are consistent with the overall theme, and in many cases represent logical extensions of present day technology. NETRUNNING: The unifying concept of most Cyberpunk stories is the existence of a world-wide computer network, know simply as "the net". As GURPS Cyberpunk points out, certainly the seeds for this network were already in place in the late 1980's. The fact that so many of your are able to receive CuD on a timely basis is testimony to this. GURPS Cyberpunk extrapolates the present net into a future where it is a pervasive element of everyday life. "Netrunners", the player characters who are specialists in the art of penetrating the security of computers on the net, can be highly valued members of the player team. The net and it's computers play such a large role in the cyberpunk society that the skills of a "hacker" are often needed to successfully complete a scenario. (Other player character types available are "console cowboys" or "interface jocks" who are essentially netrunners-for-hire, plying their skills at freelance system penetration.) Because so much of the cyberpunk future depends on computer interaction the bulk of the "Netrunning" chapter is dedicated to describing the equipment and layout of the net. The computers described in GURPS Cyberpunk are futuristic, but not unrealistically so. They range from "dedicated computers" performing one task, to "Megacomputers" which can control the traffic, sewage, power, and all other maintenance functions for an entire city. The net itself is, in some ways, much like the existing networks of today. It consists of Government, Banking, Military, Educational, and Private systems linked together through interconnections and gateways. Three different types of nodes are available for "jacking into" the net (public, normal, and secure) with each protected (or not protected in some cases) with various degrees of "ICE" (Intrusion Countermeasure Electronics), the security software of the future. The net is accessed using a "cyberdeck", a small dedicated computer that connects directly to the users neural system allowing the network and its data to be visualized as it is transversed. Thus when a netrunner is jacked in she is virtually cut-off from the outside, totally immersed in the experience of using the net. For the netrunner, the visual experience of being "jacked in" is one where the information is "seen" floating in space before ones eyes. The image, which is being electronically projected onto the optical nerve, can be one of three styles. Marquee style, where all information appears in text form, "Icon style" similar to the graphical user interface used in today's machines, or "Environmental style" where the net appears to be a complete and fully defined landscape with nodes, computers, and data appearing as physical structures which can be entered and explored (perhaps somewhat like that presented in the movie TRON). If a Netrunner wishes to penetrate the ICE protecting a corporate computer he can use one of several techniques which may (depending on luck and the attributes or skills the character has) prove successful. Some of the techniques discussed in the GURPS manual include guessing passwords, bluffing information out of inside sources (also known as "social engineering"), and using specialized Cyberdeck programs to distract or disable the security system. If a Netrunner character successfully obtains access they must then take actions to secure their goal...whatever that goal may be. The GURPS Cyberpunk manual includes a brief discussion of several things the player may attempt such as copying or downloading information, monitoring other users, remote execution of programs, and searching a database. Note that these discussions are quite brief, and merely explain in conceptual and atmospheric terms what each action might entail. For example, here are two such sections in their entirety: Creating New Accounts: This can only be done from a superuser account. A fictitious entry is made in the system user file - the creator chooses whether to set it up as a normal account or as a superuser. Normal users are less powerful, but tend to attract less attention; a new superuser can do anything, but may be noticed quickly. If the netrunner can accomplish his goal with a normal account, or if he has confidence in his Promote program, he should stick with a standard account. The decker should keep in mind that everything he does is probably being logged - unless he has a very trustworthy Erase program, he should plan on abandoning an account after using it for any noticeable scams. Each week there is a chance that the fake account will be discovered by routine system administration. The GM [game master] should secretly roll 3d [dice] for each bogus account. If the machine is public a result of 4 or less indicates discovery; this increases to 6 or less on a normal machine and 8 or less on a secure machine. Increase these numbers by 2 if the fake account has superuser privileges. Possible actions upon discovery range from simple deletion of the account to heavy Alarming and a Trace program. (pp.79-80) TRANSFERRING COMMODITIES: With the advent of electronic fund transfers, money is shuffled by communication lines instead of armored trucks. By shuffling the appropriate numbers a good netrunner can give himself "legitimate" access to millions of dollars in cash, precious metals, products or anything else that is used in commerce. Transferring commodities is simple - the exact appearance depends on the Environmental Interface being used [marquee, icon, etc. see above discussion], but the decker basically "picks up" the commodity with a Computer hacking roll [of the dice], and then "carries" it with him to another node, or uses a Transfer program to move it. What really happens is that he netrunner steals the routine codes and invoice number for the valuta, then erases them from the true owner's system. he must then arrange for delivery. (p.82) Other topics included in this chapter include detailed instructions on how the GM can determine the structure of the network before the game begins by using dice to randomly decide such things as number of nodes, contents of the systems, complexity of the security, and so on. This information is later used in game play when a netrunner player attempts to access individual nodes on the net. Finally, throughout this chapter (and much of the book) there are numerous "sidebar" articles containing background and supportive information which is intended to add to the realism of the game. The sidebar topics in this chapter include a discussion of Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), Types of pseudonyms used by netrunners, Tempest surveillance equipment, Data encryption, The Social Consequences of Neural Interfaces, Phreaking, Strange Protocols, Trashing, and a list of current (1990) network names around the world. As an example here is the complete entry for "Chat Systems": One of the most popular types of system on the net will be realtime conference centers - commonly called chat systems. These are nodes with a high number of incoming lines which allow users to communicate (both publicly and privately) with each other. Hackers commonly use chat systems to discuss targets, or to trade information. The anger is that one is never sure of the identities of the other callers. Hacker chat systems on current networks (such as Altgers or tchh in West Germany and QSD in France) have evolved elaborate protocols for hackers to deal with each other. These include the use of coded phrases to initiate conversation, avoidance of "real" names, and many other methods to ensure security. The second danger of a chat system is that the users must trust the management. Any time that a netrunner is using an unfamiliar chat system, the GM should roll 3d. On a 7 or less, the conversation is being monitored and possible recorded. What happens after that is up to the GM. (p.69) The other sidebar topics follow a similar pattern. The topic is discussed briefly, with some historical and a smattering of specific information thrown in, then the specific instructions on how this information can be incorporated into game play. THE REST OF THE BOOK: The remaining chapters in the book are "World Design" which discusses considerations such as political climate, economic system, Urban Settings, etc., and "Campaigning" which covers others items the GM will want to consider such as setting the atmosphere, pace of the game, group dynamics, and determining the theme. CONCLUSION: The bulk of this overview has focused on the "netrunning" chapter since it is the information contained therein that the Secret Service was probably most interested in. Having placed the chapter within the framework and intent of the book as a whole it become obvious that the discussion of "hacking" is far from the instructional text book the government believed it to be. What GURPS Cyberpunk has done is to take a pre-existing science fiction genre (cyberpunk) and create descriptions and guidelines that allow role playing gamers to adopt accurate and realistic scenarios. The question remains, however, if GURPS Cyberpunk has given away any so-called "Secrets of the Computer Underground". The answer is most certainly that it has not. Even the sidebar discussions about access levels and backdoor programs reveal little more than "Superusers have the most power of any account" and "Some programs may have secret passwords that bypass regular system security". Hardly information one couldn't obtain from many other sources, including mainstream books on computer security. In fact, one group that may find this book to be helpful in the real world is the computer security community. Various members of the CU have often suggested that computer facilities shred their trash, prohibit default passwords, and other simple security measures. If one concludes that this is indeed a handbook for breaking into computers then it follows that it is also a handbook on preventing hackers from doing so. The audience of role playing games is a difficult crowd to please. Successful games must offer excitement, intrigue, and logical consistency in detail and rules. As Blankenship noted while discussing GURPS Cyberpunk, "A role playing game requires the suspension of disbelief. The closer a game is to reality the easier it is to suspend." All things considered, Steve Jackson Games has done an admirable job of bringing realism and coherence to the cyberpunk world. POSTSCRIPT: Steve Jackson Games has set up a BBS for discussion and questions about its products. The Illuminati, once closed by the Secret Service as a part of the raid on SJG, is now back online and awaiting your calls. 512-447-4449 (2 lines, 2400 baud, 24 hours a day). Tell 'em CuD sent you. ******************************************************************** >> END OF THIS FILE << *************************************************************************** ------------------------------ ******************************************************************** *** CuD #1.26: File 3 of 5: Cyberspace & Real Life (M. Godwin)*** ******************************************************************** Date: 29 Jul 90 06:30:19 GMT To: alt-society-cu-digest@CS.UTEXAS.EDU From: mnemonic@WALT.CC.UTEXAS.EDU(Mike Godwin) Subject: Cyberspace Subculture in Real Life I think it ought to be of particular interest to sf-lovers and other folks interested in the interaction between technological advance and society that Craig Neidorf, the major Legion of Doom defendant, had his case discharged on Friday, when it became apparent that BellSouth, in their eagerness to help the federal government, apparently contrived an outrageously high valuation for the information that Neidorf and others are alleged to have "stolen." The case resonates with cyberpunk fiction for a couple of reasons. The first is obvious: the federal government's crackdown this winter and spring has been aimed at stamping out an underground subculture of technically proficient but non-mainstream computer hackers, a few of whom are genuinely amoral, but all of whom are regarded by government and industry as potential threats. The second concerns the extend to which a corporate entity, BellSouth, manipulated the government into terrorizing more than a hundred--and intimidating thousands more--computer hobbyists. It's an exercise of corporate dominance that an sf fan is tempted to describe as "Gibsonesque." Has justice triumphed? Only in a sense. Neidorf had the advantage of being the editor and publisher of PHRACK, which meant that his actions had First Amendment implications that even the technophobes can understand. But even with that advantage, it took a lot of effort to publicize the case, much of which is attributable to John Barlow and Mitch Kapor of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Neidorf's family has been emotionally and financially oppressed by the burden of his defense. Nor is this the only social cost exacted by the federal crackdown; it's also the case that countless BBSs and individual system owners have either ended or limited public access to their systems for fear of having their property seized as evidence. Gibson's future is shaping itself right now, and it behooves those of us who are interested in shaping that future to get involved right now. Those who are computer professionals should consider associating themselves with Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, a group that has received a grant from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. CPSR can be contacted by writing or calling the following people: Marc Rotenberg CPSR Washington Office 1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 1015 Washington, DC 20036 202/775-1588 Gary Chapman CPSR National Office P.O. Box 717 Palo Alto, CA 94302 415/322-3778 Two good background articles are John Barlow's "Crime and Puzzlement," which appears in the August issue of WHOLE EARTH REVIEW, and the Julian Dibell article "On Line and Out of Bounds," which appears in the July 24 issue of the VILLAGE VOICE. There was a small newspaper article on the dismissal of the Neidorf case in Saturday's NEW YORK TIMES; there should be an article of some sort on the dismissal in Monday's issue of NEWSWEEK. An on-line journal that is tracking these social and legal issues as they develop is the Computer Underground Digest, which is published by Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer at Northern Illinois University. You can subscribe to the digest by requesting a subscription from Thomas and Meyer at TK0JUT2@NIU.bitnet or TK0JUT1%NIU.BITNET@uicvm.uic.edu. --Mike Mike Godwin, UT Law School |"... and first I put my arms around him yes No longer a bar-exam nerd | and drew him down to me so he could feel my mnemonic@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu | breasts all perfume yes and his heart was (512) 346-4190 | going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes." ******************************************************************** >> END OF THIS FILE << *************************************************************************** ------------------------------ ******************************************************************** *** CuD #1.26: File 4 of 5: Update on RIPCO BBS & Dr. Ripco*** ******************************************************************** Date: Mon, 30 Jul 90 22:54 CDT From: Moderators (TK0JUT1.cs.niu.edu) Subject: Update on RIPCO BBS and Dr. Ripco One forgotten victim in the Sundevil sweeps has been Dr. Ripco, sysop of RIPCO bbs, which was considered one of the top CU hangouts and text file boards in the country. Dr. Ripco's equipment, including numerous disks, several computers, and telecom equipment, was confiscated by Secret Service agents with a seizure warrant on May 8. Although no computer-related charges have been filed, no equipment has been returned. When we caught up with DR a few days ago, he explained that local (Chicago) police who accompanied federal agents on the seizures found several pistols in the storage building where the computer equipment was located. Under a Chicago ordinance, possession of weapons is a misdemeanor, and DR was cited for failure to register the weapons. The guns were new, never fired, and still in their box. If we caught the details correctly, he entered a guilty plea, they took away the guns, and he was given six months supervision and will not have a record. The Doc indicated that he himself did not participate much in the modem world, and one reason he has been silent is because he isn't fully aware of all the digests and e-mail connections that exist, and depends for his news on local media (good luck on that one, DR) and word-of-mouth from friends. He has not yet retained an attorney to re-acquire his equipment, because he believed it would be given back relatively soon. Now, nearly three months after the seizure, he is concerned. DR indicated that, unlike the experience of others, the SS was relatively polite, if ignorant about technical matters. Although wearing bullet proof vests, their guns were not drawn and they did not attempt to hassle him (despite some snide comments by one agent). He emphatically indicated that the searches and confiscations were not necessary, because if they had contacted him, he would have cooperated fully. The Doc claimed that, to his knowledge, little illegal activity occured on the board. He thought that perhaps some of his files might be considered "bad taste," but they were not in his judgment illegal. Public message logs from mid-1988 to May 7, 1990, support his claim. Despite some posturing, few of the over 600 users abused the board. In many ways, the situation is like that of Steve Jackson, whose equipment was confiscated and board shut down because of some vague notion of "possible wrong-doing." RIPCO seems to have been targeted in part because of its longevity and in part because it had one of the better text file collection in country. It was a gathering point for many of the most active computer underground types, and the number was reportedly blocked by at least one telecom LD server because of phreaks calling. If we are correct in our reasons for why RIPCO was shut down, it further indicates the chilling effect of Sundevil. Providing textfiles as a resource is not illegal, nor, to date, has the government claimed that Dr. Ripco in fact did anything illegal. Yet, his equipment is gone and the modem world lost a fine board. The moderators emphasize to those who think that RIPCO was nothing more than a phreak/hacker board that it provided some of the best chat we have seen. Discussions ranged from current events to sophisticated philosophical issues. Despite the usual number of dolts one might expect in a community of over 600, the users were generally well-informed, articulate, and stimulating. The closing of RIPCO is symbolic for two reasons. First, as one of the longest running CU boards, it served as a cultural meeting place. The CU community is transitory, with participants coming and going as their interest fades and is rekindled. RIPCO served as place to reunite old friends and meet new ones. Although most of the "elite" CU didn't frequent RIPCO regularly, they would often "stop in" just to check their e-mail or see what the latest text files were. Thus, RIPCO was functional for entering and maintaining contact with the CU community as a whole. It is also interesting to note that RIPCO had long suffered under a sort of "common knowledge" that it was highly "infested" with law enforcement agents. This assumption was fed both by it's longevity and openess to the public. When it was closed down, the general CU reaction was one of sorrow (because it was such a familiar part of the community) and confusion (because of its reputation for being legal and above board). There was also some question as to why the "feds" would shut down what was assumed to be a source of information they were using to obtain leads into the activity of the CU. There is a chance that Dr. Ripco might resume the board, and we encourage him to do so. RIPCO was an asset to the modem world and many of us miss it. Dr. Ripco's account of his experience will appear in CuD 1.27. ******************************************************************** >> END OF THIS FILE << *************************************************************************** ------------------------------ ******************************************************************** *** CuD #1.26: File 5 of 5: The Current TAP (TAP Editors) *** ******************************************************************** From: TAP Subject: The Current Tap Date: Mon, 30 Jul 90 20:37:55 EDT TO: CuD Editors FR: Aristotle, TAP Editor. It had some to my attention that you may be confused about what TAP Magazine is all about. In this mail, I will aid you by explaining how TAP came into our hands and why it is printed. If you should have any further questions, feel free to e-mail the address that this is sent from. HOW WE CAME INTO PRINTING TAP. Since the first time I came into the techno-underground scene, I had always heard of a 'cool' magazine called TAP in New York. After searching for a set of issues, my friend and I came into purchasing a complete set. At that time I had been reading 2600 for about three years and my friend and I agreed that what the techno-underground needed was a publication (in hardcopy form), that would print article concerning all corners of the techno-underground. We liked 2600 and the other magazines (when they came out), but we just felt that info on telephones and computers was not enough. There are a multitude of ways someone can hack. To us, hacking computers, phones, cable systems, satellite systems, and LIFE, were all equally interesting. Well since there was no current magazine that we knew of which dealt with all the above things, we decided TAP had been the perfect magazine for the situation. After pondering on what we could do with it, we tried to contact the last editors. We admit that we did not get a hold of the past editor until we had complete an issue, Number 92. We did though, get in touch with both Cheshire Catalyst and Tuc after our first issue was done. Cheshire Catalyst was sent a copy for his 'approval' and he proceeded to give us permission to resume TAP where he had left off. Tuc expressed his approval after seeing 92 and speaking with us at Summercon 89, in St. Louis. Cheshire, at first, decided he would let us print but he would not openly admit that we had his permission until we were established as a reputable publication. Well, after we showed Tuc and Cheshire the magazine, Cheshire gave his full cooperation with our production of TAP and even offered some helpful words of wisdom on running TAP. I am not going to get into the debate of whether we are the original TAP, but I would like to say that you could not get any closer to the original than we are. TAP never had one consistent editor. Many people edited TAP and published it. The way we see it is that we are just following in the footsteps of the original editor. I suppose you could call it a tradition, TAP WAS HANDED DOWN TO ME PERSONALLY BY THE LAST EDITOR. WHAT TAP IS ALL ABOUT. TAP is printed for the sole purpose of promoting the free distribution of useful information concerning the techno-underground. Every so often we will print articles concerning politics or human rights but that is part of the flavor of TAP. If we decide that some info fits the format of the magazine, we print it. The staff of TAP has always believed in opposing any and all censorship. SUBSCRIPTION RATES. One of the major reasons for our deciding to print TAP was that there was a gaping hole in the market. The only popular hack/phreak publication that we could find was 2600. With 2600 asking $18 for four issues, we felt something had to be done for the people that could not afford something that expensive. Therefore, we decided to give TAP away. Everyone should have the ability to access TAP. Since TAP is free, we also decided against copyrighting our magazine. Anyone if free to copy any part of TAP at their own free will. The only thing we ask is that we get credit in their reproduction for what we produced. To get a copy of TAP, all a subscriber has to do is send us a 25 cent stamp to cover postage. We will pay all other costs. The price might go up to 50 cents soon as we are using larger envelopes which cost more to mail. If someone wants to get a subscription, he/she only needs to send the correct amount of postage for the amount of issues he/she wants to receive. We like to get subscriptions in lots of 10 or less issues. Anything over 10 issues is considered a donation. Back issues of all 100 issues are also being offered now. These will cost actual money. -marci yesowitch ******************************************************************** ------------------------------ **END OF CuD #1.26** ********************************************************************

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