Computer underground Digest Fri, Mar 6, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 10 Editors: Jim Thomas and G

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Computer underground Digest Fri, Mar 6, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 10 Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET) Associate Editor: Etaion Shrdlu CONTENTS, #4.10 (Mar 6, 1992) File 1--Re: "Bury Usenet" (CuD 4.09) File 2--Re: "Bury Usenet" - Opinionated, and Proud of It File 3--Reply to: Opinionated, and Proud of It File 4--Apology to Craig Neidorf File 5--Re: Stupid Reporter Tricks (CuD, 4.09) File 6--Amateur Action BBS bust account from NixPix File 7--Two Cornell Students Charged in Virus Attacks (NEWSBYTES Reprint) Issues of CuD can be found in the Usenet news group, on CompuServe in DL0 and DL4 of the IBMBBS SIG, DL1 of LAWSIG, and DL0 and DL12 of TELECOM, on Genie, on the PC-EXEC BBS at (414) 789-4210, and by anonymous ftp from (,, and To use the U. of Chicago email server, send mail with the subject "help" (without the quotes) to NOTE: THE WIDENER SITE IS TEMPORARILY RE-ORGANIZING AND IS CURRENTLY DIFFICULT TO ACCESS. FTP-ERS SHOULD USE THE ALTERNATE FTP SITES UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. COMPUTER UNDERGROUND DIGEST is an open forum dedicated to sharing information among computerists and to the presentation and debate of diverse views. CuD material may be reprinted as long as the source is cited. Some authors do copyright their material, and they should be contacted for reprint permission. It is assumed that non-personal mail to the moderators may be reprinted unless otherwise specified. Readers are encouraged to submit reasoned articles relating to the Computer Underground. Articles are preferred to short responses. Please avoid quoting previous posts unless absolutely necessary. DISCLAIMER: The views represented herein do not necessarily represent the views of the moderators. Digest contributors assume all responsibility for ensuring that articles submitted do not violate copyright protections. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed Mar 4 22:07:34 1992 From: sanio@NETMBX.NETMBX.DE(Erhard Sanio) Subject: File 1--Re: "Bury Usenet" (CuD 4.09) >Computer underground Digest Fri, Feb 28, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 09 Why (and how) bury Usenet? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ In a provocative essay, Steve Weinberg states that USENET under his opinion has failed its goals and "does improve our productivity and our quality of life about as much as TV does". He describes USENET as "a noble but failed experiment" and suggests to abandon it and research other directions in order to improve communications and quality of life. As a preliminary remark, it is either hard or barbaric to bury something or somebody unless he/she/it is dead. And, before discussing the justification of the criticism on how USENET works and how far it fulfills its goals, it is necessary to state that USENET is not only up and alive, but enjoys steady, merely explosive growth from its modest beginnings (in North Carolina many years ago, more exactly, in 1978) until now. According to recent readership statistics, about 73 million articles are read per month by 2.1 million readers, while the number of articles read is increasing by 2 million and and the number of readers by 135.000 every month during the last 6 months. Granted, quantity does not indicate all, at least it demonstrates the popularity and lasting interest of the USENET community in the medium. One may assert that the same holds true for other phenomena of modern civilization which are likely to unfold unwanted side-effects anyway while not or poorly fulfilling the goals they were designed for, such as cars, TV, drugs etc. . That would mean a slight shift of the discussion: which goals was USENET designed to fulfill, which ends does it serve in reality, which harmful unwanted effects does it possibly produce, which are the reasons for its still growing popularity, and finally, what sentence should be judged on it and who can or should execute it in case that the sentence is death? 1. Goals of USENET Clearly, computer-based communication on a world-wide scale is the primary goal of USENET, no matter whether one likes to characterize it as a confe- rencing system or whatever. That means, it should be easy to access, and the flow of information should reach the audience within an acceptable time, where "acceptable" clearly depends on the technological possibilities along with some cost considera- tions. The medium should be - at least to the widest amount possible - inde- pentent of hardware, operating systems, and transportation media. One might tend to believe that the statements above are trivial and tailored to what USENET - different from several other conferencing systems - is indeed able to do. But in fact, they are some of the factors for the popularity and the distribution of the medium, but on the other hand clearly some of the reasons for its flaws, which shall not be denied. Steve defines "three general uses" such a system should fulfill otherwise he is willing to condemn and discard it. Those are: - directed information seeking - browsing - collaboration . On a general level, USENET fulfills the first of them simply by its hierar- chical organization. Newsgroups spawn and die according to the need felt by the community of users and are automatically propagated (Again, that is nothing trivial - there are different strategies in other systems mostly based on central organization, personally, I don't feel them superior under any aspect). When traffic and variety of subjects are felt to exceed some limit, groups are broken down into subgroups. And to a considerably high amount, the discipline advised rather than imposed is held by the majority of users. It is not very likely to find a contribu- tion to C programming in or an article dealing with abortion in comp.lang.c . A lot of general information is held in a set of regularly reposted articles, lots of them of much higher quality than most one can expect from average magazines no matter whether computer magazines or general ones. Browsing may be hard in high-traffic boards, especially when the subject information is poor or dated during a longer-lasting discussion thread. Most newsreaders offer some possibilities of pattern-matching, either over header-lines such as subject, summary, keywords, and references alone or over the full text, additionally. The ease of use of those features may be questioned, sometimes even the usefulness. But not only that the above is a challenge for designers of newsreading software rather than a general weakness of the medium, it is at least inappropriate to deny the presence of information browsing tools which often supersede what e.g. some mainframe databases offer. Collaboration, finally, is hard to define in this context. Steve describes it (for the purposes of his essay) referring "to a group of people sharing what they know and posing questions to each other .. so as to increase the knowledge and ability of everyone involved." To deny that the above takes place among the USENET community sounds odd to me and contradicts my personal experience. Sure, there is some point in criticising that it is sometimes hard to achieve, especially on high-traffic subjects. Anyway, a fair amount of what I know about networking, several aspects of the US cultural and political life, and several other topics of personal interest I owe to the "collaboration" of a large number of members of the USENET community, where it would have been hard, in several cases impossible for me to obtain the information from other sources. Often, the public discussion on the USENET is accompanied by private email exchange, that kind of privately pursueing more off-topic aspects is suppor- ted by newsreading software and encouraged by experienced users, especially those performing voluntary and gratuitous administrative work. 2. Flaws of USENET Defending the abilities and the use of the medium in general should not seduce to discarding the whole of the criticism as pointless and unfounded. Steve indeed hits some valid points of resentment while he sometimes, under my opinion, tends to exaggerate and partially raises claims not in order to get them fixed, but to back his preoccupation towards condemnation of the medium. Complaints refer to: - the asynchronous nature of USENET, which makes it hard to keep track of a particular discussion - poor language abilities and rude language of the posters - "low bandwidth", meaning messages in 80-column ASCII opposed to multi- media communication - lack of qualification of the contributors, thus abundance of noise and polemics - risks of censorship in moderated groups . The problem of the asynchronous nature of the net is indeed present, but highly improved during the last years. Caused by an increasing number of internet connections and other high speed links, the average time of dis- tribution has decreased significantly. As an inhabitant of the borderlands of net civilization, I enjoyed the meantime of an article to reach the majority of the USENET community to come down from a bit less than a week to much less than a day in average during the last 4 years. Much more mutual patience was necessary (and not always achieved) to cope with redundance, misunderstandings etc. due to dated comments on dated articles. Therefore, the need of including major parts of the messages referred to has decreased, too (though not all posters have understood the technique of reasonable quoting, sure). Asynchronity is a general property of any kind of communication which is not just on-line, and to discard computer conferencing just because it is asynchronous (and will always be) is incomprehensible. That asynchronous nature is part of the strength of the system as well. Reasonable contributors have the opportunity to obtain information, think about, eventually do some additional research, and then respond. Such a procedure is likely to contribute to the quality of a response compared to one given immediately under pressure of realtime communi- cation. Steve's comments on poor mastership of written language sound a bit arrogant and elitist to me. While it is true that many messages are carelessly written, some even practise excessive use of rudeness, four-letter-words etc., this is not true for a big quantity of polite, reasonable, and qualified contributions. One should as well take in account that a good engineer and programmer ought not necessarily be an ingenious writer and master of orthography and grammar, further that a growing number of authors aren't native English speakers and writers (like me, btw.). The overwhelming majority of USENET readers and authors still comes from tightly computer-related areas such as CS departments of universities, computer and software business etc., I'll come back to that aspect below. That 80-column ASCII should be a considerable drawback for worldwide communication is beyond my experience and my understanding. Most of the information I obtained during my life in the fields of science and engineering was in that format, more or less. It is perfectly possible to communicate that way, humans did that for millennia and distributed the base of knowledge thereby. That multimedial tools might improve comfort, ease of use etc., is self-evident, though doubts are allowed that contents and quality of information exchanged depend on. Steve started his polemics with some comments on TV, clearly a multimedial means of distribution of information, according to his own words it did n o t contribute to more productivity and quality of life (the advertising industries might contradict), thus it is hard to see that "low bandwidth" is a valid complaint. Recently, the simple and universal format of the informations exchanged allows fast worldwide distribution with minimum hardware requirements for the end users. Therefore, I widely fail to see "the problem of low bandwidth". Clearly, additional exchange of graphical information may be useful and helpful, sometimes, but not on cost of propagation. Concerning Steve's accusation that in case of spreading distribution of graphical information "the main results would be an outbreak of pornography and a rash of garish signatures" I see some reason to feel myself as well as the whole of the USENET community insulted in a primitive and disgusting way. Steve should know how incredibly low the share of erotic material, only a small part of that real pornography, in the USENET distribution is, though tabloid journalism as well as fundamentalist and some feminist fanatics use to assert the contrary stubbornly ignoring any counterproof. Joining that crowd - even indirectly - is bad style and bad habit. Last and best founded complaint is that about a rather high amount of noise, the presence of lots of irrelevant and unqualified statements. Clearly there are lots of messages of questionable relevance, style and quality which make reading hard and time-consuming. Anyway, it is not just to characterize the whole or even the majority of contributions to USENET that way. Both quality and noise/signal ratio are highly dependant on traffic and topic of the given group as well as on the structure of the audience. In groups frequently accessed by newcomers, noise is often produced by lack of experience with the unwritten and written rules of the net. Under the circumstances of fast growth, that kind of noise is merely inevitable and the additional educational effort should be tolerated (and mostly is) by the more experienced part of the USENET community. In political groups, people frequently tend to loose temper and there are some who love to incite polemics or bore the rest by preaching on their beloved subject of faith, conviction or ideological preoccupation. It is true that the freedom and anarchic character of USENET makes it hard to lock out rowdies, clowns or unqualified people. Sure, "Anyone with access to a UNIX machine" (btw. not only a UNIX machine but every machine with access to the UUCP, the internet or similar domains and the according software) "can post a message .., no matter how unqualified the author may be". But the above sounds arrogant and elitist to me. Providing a worldwide, open forum for exchange of opinions and informations is a primary goal of the USENET which it fulfills fairly well and I fail to see how - without damaging that worldwide forum of free speech - "unqualified authors" should be sorted out. Though I would not characterize USENET as a democracy (because many decisions depend on the benevolent autocracy of computer owners and system administrators), it at least provides equal rights of publication and access for everybody (unless the sysadmin decides otherwise) thus faces similar problems democracy faces, where the right of free speech and the value of the vote do not depend on externally imposed quality considerations. Right, there is a problem in a medium which provides both information and discussion at the same time, as well as there are some people who constantly and malevolently violate the rules by rudity, fanaticism or tasteless comments. Anyway, the assertion that USENET generally fails to provide both information and discussion is far from truth. In fact, there is a considerable difference in quality as well as noise/signal ratio between the technical, scientific and scholarly groups on the one and the general chatting and raving groups about sensible topics of dissent in the political, social and cultural fields on the other hand. One should take in account that the wast majority of the USENET community is young and stems from the several fields of computing. It will be hard to find a skilled lawyer or sociologist on the net, while it will be easy to find a considerable number of computer experts. Thus, the technical groups are still the best qualified ones. I often experienced that once a number of experienced people were present in some group of a given topic, the noise was considerably calming down. Most of the people are neither rude nor malevolent nor willing to appreciate those attitudes. Anyway, when looking out for reliable informa- tion on scholarly resp. scientific level, the university library is still the best place to look for, while at least for me is true that I obtained a lot of valuable hints and references from discussions on the USENET. Reducing noise is generally easy: most of the worst flames and off-topic messages stem from a small number of people of questionable psychic stability or missionaries resp. fanatics of any conviction, religion, or ideology. Newsreader software provides powerful tools to exclude messages of worth- less contents or from well-known clowns, beneath that, lots of noise take place in groups where not much else can be expected - the usual rule is "if you can't stand the heat, leave the kitchen". 3. The popularity of USENET Generalizing accusations of the net have a long tradition and the imminent death of USENET has been predicted more often than the end of the world. Irrespectively of the above, the net has gone on growing and winning popula- rity. With all its flaws, it has already become a part of modern culture which cannot be ignored. Frequently it has become a target of attacks and concerns of people who felt some reason to contain free worldwide flow of information, be it muslim fundamentalists objecting the propagation of Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses", be it feminist PorNo activists (latest some weeks ago in Germany), religious fundamentalists or others. Clearly, the USENET is not a fine and elitist forum of academic discourse, though it holds aspects of that in its more calm and remote places. Its 2000 groups hierarchy, often locally connected and gatewayed with national hierarchies or regional mailbox systems, has become some sort of roaring microcosmos of ideas, informations, chatting and raving. It is some sort of a virtual metropolis, not a decent village or upperclass suburbia Steve seems to dream from. As with real big cities, there is always presence of mud, crime, trouble and discomfort, lots of chaos and problems overdue to be fixed. There will always be people leaving in anger and frustration, but also new ones empha- tically rushing in and those staying in peace with the trouble and in love to the system as a whole despite its flaws. Nobody is forced to use the system, everybody might and should work to find improvements, even new and better solutions. USENET is clearly not the last word in computer conferencing - I doubt a bit it's computer conferencing at all. For a long time, USENET is here to stay, and it has opened an amount of worldwide communication which adds a new quality to world culture, possibly not at the top end, but at least in a way similar like cinema, (yes!) TV, pop music, comics, etc. did and do - and those also fuelled the warnings and mockings of cultural pessimists in the past. Those who like modern culture as it is are entitled to enjoy it. ++++++++ Dr. Erhard Sanio UNIX(tm) Systems Programmer/Consultant Tempelhofer Damm 194 D+1000 Berlin 42 ------------------------------ Date: Sat, 29 Feb 1992 01:49:04 -0600 From: TELECOM Moderator Subject: File 2--Re: "Bury Usenet" - Opinionated, and Proud of It Steve Steinberg rants about the 'insidious problem of moderator bias' at TELECOM Digest ... > However, there is the insidious danger of moderator bias. Oh wow! A real danger, huh? With newsgroups a dime a dozen, and anyone able to start a mailing list by simply doing so; an alt newsgroup by declaring it exists and a Usenet group with slightly more effort involved in a discussion and voting period, where is the 'insidious' danger in a private mailing list (which is what TELECOM Digest is) that you happen to have a personal grudge and bias about? That it happens to be distributed to Usenet as comp.dcom.telecom is coincidental to its real purpose. Why do you think alt.dcom.telecom was started? It is intended for people who don't want to post in a moderated group. Is that so difficult (even for you) to understand? The readers of the two groups (comp.dcom.telecom and alt.dcom.telecom) are virtually the same -- only the writers and articles differ. > The specter of this problem has risen in conjunction with the TELECOM > digest which is moderated by the rather opinionated Patrick Townsend. I quite agree with the sentiments of Oscar Wilde when he pointed out that he did not care what the newspapers said about him as long as they spelled his name correctly. Obviously you know all about TELECOM Digest; you've read it at great length; you've studied back issues in the Archives, all the numerous files there, etc ... at least I assume this to be the case since you deign to speak critically of it ... so how come you missed something as obvious as 'Townson' which appears in the masthead of every issue? And having opinions on topics is a mortal sin, is it? I suspect in your life that is true, but not in mine. My opinions may be correct, they may be incorrect, they may be open to a variety of interpretations, but I do think for myself ... try it sometime, see if you get a high like I do thinking for yourself, deciding what you believe and defending your beliefs. I find independent thought quite addictive. > Whether Townsend actually censors messages he disagrees with is not > important. Of course it is important! It is the crux of your whole complaint. How could you say something like this if you actually read the Digest for any period of time? > The perception -- and the possibility -- are there. How could there be such a perception by any reasonable person (I am not granting you that status) who actually READS the Digest? How could I sit here and distribute as many issues of the Digest as I do and still manage to censor anyone? If anything, I am told by a large number of readers I am too lenient in what I publish. They'd prefer to get five or ten messages daily instead of the forty to fifty I send out. But I can't do that and still feel good about TELECOM Digest. If I get a big overflow of messages on a topic, then the readers are going to get a larger than average mailing. I have to do it that way in order to reflect as nearly as possible what people are writing about, and find room somehow for the writers. If anything, I dare say I publish a lot more (in terms of numbers of messages and varieties of thought) in TELECOM Digest than most other moderators. Does PGN, who you praise as such a fine addition to the net print anywhere close to what all he receives? Please note I am not commenting on his work. I am commenting on what you said. You know, I think your problem is -- and if you were intellectually honest about it you would have said it yourself -- is you do not like my stance on many issues. For example, I think Caller-ID is a great service. I think most privacy issues are overblown and a figment in the imagination of the person complaining. I think in most instances of a dispute between a telephone utility and a subscriber, the telephone utility is correct and the subscriber is wrong. I have a lot of opinions -- which I do not hesitate to express freely -- that you probably don't like at all. I do not like phreaks or hackers (in the perjorative use of the term). I think they should be treated as criminals rather than folk heroes. The difference between you and I is I say what I think, while you mince around and whine about people who are opinionated. I suppose while I am opinionated, you are a font of wisdom, eh? In the future at least try to be more original in your complaints, and try saying what you *really think* instead of playing word games. Who knows, if you have something to actually say -- that is, an opinion of your own on something -- I might even print it in TELECOM Digest, a courtesy I would be surprised to see reciprocated in any publication under your control. Opinionated, and proud of it! Patrick Townson ------------------------------ Date: Sat, 29 Feb 92 09:44:34 PST From: G.Steinberg Subject: File 3--Reply to: Opinionated, and Proud of It Townson makes a number of good points in his reply, unfortunately few of them are germane to my argument against USENET. First, lets look again at what I said without it being broken up into pieces: "However, there is the insidious danger of moderator bias. The specter of this problem has risen in conjunction with the TELECOM digest which is moderated by the rather opinionated Patrick Townsend (sic). Whether Townsend actually censors messages he disagrees with is not important. The perception --and possibility-- are there." Townson gives five arguments against the above, none of which are on target. This is because the above paragraph must be interpreted within the context of my argument against Usenet which goes, partially, as follows: a) If anyone can post to a newsgroup, there is a lot of noise. b) If the newsgroup has a moderator, noise can be reduced. c) A moderators opinions could color the content of the digest. d) If the goal of USENET is to provide information than we want as little bias as possible. e) Therefore moderated newsgroups are not a good idea. Townson's arguments are as follows: 1: There is no danger because an alternate group with no moderator can be easily formed. This is completely orthogonal to my article on USENET. Sure, we can start an alternate group, but this just brings us back the noise problem and we will be no closer to a more effective USENET. 2: I do not know enough about TELECOM digest. I read the TELECOM digest daily for a period of about six months, and occasionally since then. This was enough time for me to learn two things: Townson has strong opinions about some TELECOM issues and that some people felt that these opinions colored the content of the digest. Townson does not attempt to refute either of these points. These are the only points that I need for my argument. The fact that I misspelled his name is inexcusable. 3: It is good to have opinions, I should try it sometime. I found it rather ironic to be accused of not having opinions on a topic when clearly Townson is attacking me because of my opinions! I quite agree it is good to have opinions, in fact I believe we all have opinions. It is because of this that I think moderated newsgroups are problematic. 4: Townson does not actually censor messages. There is no way for me to know this. I have seen posts by several people who have claimed that their messages are routinely ignored due solely to the opinions in the messages. True or not, my argument does not rest on Townson's actual censoring. If a moderator can censor, and many people think he is, then the newsgroup is surely less trustworthy than an unmoderated one. 5: My comments were motivated by dislike for Townson's opinions. I merely used Townson's newsgroup because his moderation has become the most controversial. I don't think Townson would disagree with this. I certainly could have used CuD as my example, and pointed out that many people believe that the anti-hacker viewpoint is censored from the digest, but this perception is held by fewer people. In short, your response is highly defensive against a perceived personal attack when in fact I am attacking moderated newsgroups in general. Rewrite your response so it is more thoughtful and I would be pleased to print it in Intertek. Steve Steinberg ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 05 Mar 92 00:33:51 EST From: Keith Moore Subject: File 4--Apology to Craig Neidorf I would like to publicly apologize for any offense to Craig Neidorf that resulted from my CuD article of a few weeks ago. In all honesty, I intended the "article" as a private message to the editors of CuD, but neglected to include text to that effect in my mail message. I do appreciate the thoughtful responses from Craig and Mike Godwin regarding the nature of the legal expenses. I never meant to suggest that Craig was in any way "at fault" for the cost of his defense, nor to discourage people from donating money to offset his expenses. ((Moderators' note: And we apologize to Keith for printing what he intended as a private note. We generally consider informational or reasonable opinion pieces as submissions unless the author states otherwise. Keith's point raised the legitimate and very real concern, alluded to by the post of Mike Godwin and demonstrated by Craig's explanation of legal expenditures, of the costs of "justice:" Those with resources to fight questionable searches, seizures, or charges are better-able to challenge the injustice than those who lack the resources. It if frightening that, for Craig, the cost of justice was in six figures. To our minds, Keith's post underscored the importance of reconizing that--for better or worse--justice is not cheap. We thank Keith, Craig, and Mike for underscoring the importance of helping defray legal expenses. It is *VERY IMPORTANT* that contributors remember to make checks payable to the law firm of Katten, Muchin and Zavis, and *NOT* to Sheldon Zenner or Craig. KMZ is a firm of over 300 attorneys and hundreds of additional staff. At least a couple of people have sent letters and checks to Katten, Muchin, and Zavis, but they did not send them to Sheldon Zenner's attention or to Sheldon at KMZ. This makes it very difficult for proper bookkeeping, and a check or two may have been lost. People who don't receive a written thank you from Sheldon Zenner are people whose checks never made it to Craig's account for one reason or another. Checks must be made payable to Katten, Muchin, and Zavis. The checks must be sent to: Sheldon Zenner Katten, Muchin, & Zavis 525 West Monroe Street Suite 1600 Chicago, IL 60606-3693 Add a note specifying that the check is for the Craig Neidorf case, and write his name in the "memo" section. ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 3 Mar 92 02:47:16 MST From: mbarry@ISIS.CS.DU.EDU.CS.DU.EDU(Marshall Barry) Subject: File 5--Re: Stupid Reporter Tricks (CuD, 4.09) ((In response to "Stupid Reporter Tricks, File #6/CuD 4.09)): Part of the problem in this case is that "Bear" didn't bother to give ALL of the information. Having worked with Mr. Benemann on the story (and, in case it matters, having him at least "validate" that the information presented was accurate), there is more to this than was stated in the original text... So, if you feel it is apropos, I enclose *MY* Reply to "Bear"... ============= REPLY: From: Marshall Barry Organization: IBECC, A Colorado Non-Profit Organization >A local television reporter did a report on the 10pm news about >teenagers getting access to adult .gif files on computer bulletin >boards. > >He explains how many sites with adult gifs require proof-of-age >(e.g., copies of driver's license) for registration, but some >merely print a "you must be over 21 to register" message before >on-line registration. > >No problem, except he then claims you can lie and still become >registered -- which he proceeds to do on camera. So? He was making a valid point - that is, that ANYONE can lie... And the system he "lied" to asked for a Callback via a Callback Verification program. So, even though the "SysOp" had an invalid name and address, s/he/it had a valid telephone number. The point being made is that the PARTICULAR SysOp was doing an insufficient amount of verification. It is not enough to just call back (automatically) and use that as validation for being an adult, is it? >Isn't this a violation of Federal law regarding computer access? It could be. Of course, the SysOp is also not requesting a valid ID, just something which could be verified. The telephone number is valid, and as Kaizoku [Mb's note: Kaizoku was a "cracker" who agreed to be interviewed via modem... at the end of the interview, she apparently grabbed Mr. Benemann's home phone, address, etc. from the phone company and played it back to him - when he verified that it was, indeed him, she then promised to NOT turn off his utilities and forward his mail...] pointed out, graphically, it's almost trivial to acquire "reverse" information. Still, Federal law can only be invoked when access is across state lines. Colorado law is, at best, vague. The media, btw, enjoys a great deal of latitude in this case, as they are covering news and not actually delivering or revealing information which is acquired. Finally, by law, you may use any name you wish so long as there is not an attempt to defraud. Merely using an assumed name, especially when dealing with "adult material" is not a crime. >The sysop of the BBS clearly requested identifying information, >as is his right before granting system access, which the reporter >deliberately refused to provide yet accepted system access? Bah! Humbug. >This TV station is getting a bad reputation for overzealous reporters -- >a few years ago one star reporter actually paid for pit-bull fights >that she subsequently reported on. She was ultimately fired from the >station and charged with a felony. So, because of Wendy, anyone who does an expose is guilty of over-zealous reporting? Give me a break. Jim Benemann worked very hard to not present all BBSes in an "evil" light. If you noticed, (and since you're local, I can provide you with a tape, to refresh your memory), he said that most systems were positive, most systems were no longer easy for children (the important issue, not the "content" of the material) to acquire access. In fact, what he said (for the most part) was more than just a little positive. What is it that you are REALLY complaining about? That he gave an "assumed name and address"? Ever call a 900 number? Did you give YOUR real name? >I don't expect things to go this far in this situation -- but neither >do I want to sit by as the TV station implies it's okay to lie during >on-line registration for BBSes. Oh, come on. You log onto every BBS with your real name, address and telephone number, before you even see if it's the kind of system you'd want to give such information to? Sorry - I can't buy that. >Any comments or suggestions? You've seen 'em. I worked (one of many) with Jim Benemann on the story. I can show you what "reputable" news teams (including KABC in LA) do with these stories. I can show you videotape of "ads" for BBSes running on the screen while the voice-over says "these networks are homes to pedophiles, drug users and phone phreaks"... which (of course) has nothing to do with the "ads" on the screen. They (KCNC) even checked the information before airing it, and you can be sure that the SysOp of the "cracked" system is improving his security now... and not letting a call-back verifier program determine that someone is "over 18". >BTW, the reporter was Jim Benemann of KCNC in Denver.I can post >the Station Manager's name if other people wish to contact the station. So, what you want people to do is to call and complain about some of the least negative reporting we've gotten in the last 10 years. Great. // Mb // is also "If you're going to (mis)quote me, at least Spell my Name CORRECTLY!" Data: (303) 657-0126 +&+ (303) 426-1942 3/12/2400 baud Snail Mail: P.O. Box 486, Louisville, CO 80027-0486 ------------------------------ From: bei@DOGFACE.AUSTIN.TX.US(Bob Izenberg) Subject: File 6--Amateur Action BBS bust account from NixPix Date: Sun, 1 Mar 92 12:03:05 CST ((CuD Editor's Note - The following was written by the sysop of "NixPix BBS" in Aspen, Colorado, after a telephone interview with Bob Thomas, sysop of "Amateur Action")). The Amateur Action BBS Seige of '92 (02/29/92) (From a first-hand 'interview' with Nick) Cuzz there are so many false rumors circulating re this 'incident', I called Bob to get the straight story. Here 'tis! On Jan 20, 1992 at 7:30 AM, five armed San Jose Policemen stormed the house of Bob and Carleen Thomas, bearing a search warrant. The affidavit that permitted the search is still sealed, and a mystery to Bob, so he knows only what he could be searched for. No charges were pressed against him. The Search Warrant said: CA Penal Code section 311.2 (bringing of obscene matter into or distributing within state. And Penal code 311.11 (Possession or control of matter depicting sexual conduct of person under age of 14 . And Penal code 484-487.1 (Grand Theft- permits cops to take stolen goods if any are found). The entire family was in bed. The police charged into the frightened 11 & 14 yr old boys rooms... Their parents were impounded in their dining room as the gang took apart the BBS system and ransacked the house. Looking the protesting boys in the eye, they even grabbed their game computer. They were clearly after the computers, pictures, video tapes, machines. It was also clear they did not find what they were 'looking for'.. They carted off all computers, scanners, video gear, blank tapes.. The UPS and printer were too heavy!!! No explanation has been given for their seizing Bob's wifes underwear, purses, and shoes.... 5 1/2 hours of humiliation.. They also took Bob's business papers and effectively closed his Mom & Pop business. His battle costs have exceeded $15K! Bob hired an attorney and he got in touch with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (an organization specifically set up to protect our rights to privacy of information).. The Police had clearly broken the strict Fedral electronics privacy act.. This requires a SEPARATE Email search warrant for EACH Email recipient, or a $1000 damages can be levied PER addressee! And, damages can be recovered from individuals, state, and city. Thus, the San Jose police carelessly (wantonly?) broke federal laws. Before unsealing Bob's stuff, they agreed to only review GIFS, tapes, photos and to leave the records alone. After they began (finally) to actually look at their cache, the cops returned Bob's gear and stated that he had 'NOTHING ILLEGAL' in his posession! All the material in Bob's fine Amateur collection (save some great old-time 60's and 70's sexual memorabilia) is comparable to similar but slicker professional material obtainable from local Adult bookstores. What perpetuated this obnoxious and frightening attack on the AA BBS? It is still a secretive mystery. Bob does NOT know who his accuser is. I recall that as an UN-AMERICAN act! But, he hunches it is related to a bizarre local male adult who posed as a 14 year old on America On-Line and entrapped others to send him sexy stuff of 14 year olds. When he got some, he turned in America on Line. The reason Bob suspects him is that he lives only a few miles from AA in Fremont, and is clearly in the lunatic fringe. So, kiddies.. Be aware that as the WAR on drugs backs down in defeat the troops and philosophies are going to be used to make WAR on sex for pleasure.. And the spectre of 'KIDDIE PORN' is so odious to many Americans, that self defense will bankrupt many harmless people. We in the Adult BBS community are lucky to have such a brave Sysop as Bob Thomas.. And lucky that reason and law worked THIS time! Send Bob a lil help ($. I did, and I am stingy!) And join AA BBS at 408/263-3393 100% DST!. Nick , Horny Pixop and founder of NixPix. ------------------------------ From: John F. McMullen ( Subject: File 7--Two Cornell Students Charged in Virus Attacks (NEWSBYTES Reprin t) >From today's Newsbytes - from another writer. Note that, despite the wire services use of the word, "Hacker" never appears in Grant's story. Do I hear the cheers??? ======================================================================= ****Two Cornell Students Charged In Virus Attacks ITHACA, NEW YORK, U.S.A., 1992 Feb 26 (NB) -- Charges have been laid against two Cornell University students accused of planting a virus that locked up Apple Macintosh computers at Cornell, at Stanford University in California, and in Japan. David S. Blumenthal and Mark Andrew Pilgrim, both aged 19, were charged in Ithaca City Court with one count each of second-degree computer tampering, a Class A misdemeanor. The investigation is continuing and additional charges are likely to be laid, said Cornell University spokeswoman Linda Grace-Kobas. Both students spent the night in jail before being released on bail February 25, Grace-Kobas added. The MBDFA virus apparently was launched Feb. 14 in three Macintosh computer games: Obnoxious Tetris, Tetriscycle, and Ten Tile Puzzle. Apparently, Grace-Kobas told Newsbytes, a computer at Cornell was used to upload the virus to the SUMEX-AIM computer archive at Stanford University and an archive in Osaka, Japan. MBDFA is a worm, a type of computer virus that distributes itself in multiple copies within a system or into connected systems. MBDFA modifies systems software and applications programs and sometimes results in computer crashes, university officials reported. Reports of the MBDFA virus have been received from across the United States and from around the world, including the United Kingdom, a statement from the university said. (Grant Buckler/19920226/Press Contact: Linda Kobas, Cornell University, 607-255-2000) ------------------------------ End of Computer Underground Digest #4.10 ************************************


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