Computer underground Digest Fri, Mar 6, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 10 Editors: Jim Thomas and G
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)
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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.
- directed information seeking
- 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 alt.sex.bondage 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-
- lack of qualification of the contributors, thus abundance of noise and
- 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-
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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org+berlin.de
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
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
Opinionated, and proud of it!
Date: Sat, 29 Feb 92 09:44:34 PST
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
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
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.
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
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:
Katten, Muchin, & Zavis
525 West Monroe Street
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
So, if you feel it is apropos, I enclose *MY* Reply to "Bear"...
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
>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
>No problem, except he then claims you can lie and still become
>registered -- which he proceeds to do on camera.
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
>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?
>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
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.
// Mb //
"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
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 $1000 damages can
be levied PER addressee! And, damages can be recovered from
individuals, state, and city. Thus, the San Jose police carelessly
(wantonly?) broke federal laws.
Before unsealing Bob's stuff, they agreed to only review GIFS,
tapes, photos and to leave the records alone. After they began
(finally) to actually look at their cache, the cops returned Bob's
gear and stated that he had 'NOTHING ILLEGAL' in his posession! All
the material in Bob's fine Amateur collection (save some great
old-time 60's and 70's sexual memorabilia) is comparable to similar
but slicker professional material obtainable from local Adult
What perpetuated this obnoxious and frightening attack on the AA
BBS? It is still a secretive mystery. Bob does NOT know who his
accuser is. I recall that as an UN-AMERICAN act! But, he hunches it is
related to a bizarre local male adult who posed as a 14 year old on
America On-Line and entrapped others to send him sexy stuff of 14
year olds. When he got some, he turned in America on Line. The reason
Bob suspects him is that he lives only a few miles from AA in Fremont,
and is clearly in the lunatic fringe.
So, kiddies.. Be aware that as the WAR on drugs backs down in
defeat the troops and philosophies are going to be used to make WAR on
sex for pleasure.. And the spectre of 'KIDDIE PORN' is so odious to
many Americans, that self defense will bankrupt many harmless people.
We in the Adult BBS community are lucky to have such a brave Sysop
as Bob Thomas.. And lucky that reason and law worked THIS time!
Send Bob a lil help ($. 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 (email@example.com)
Subject: File 7--Two Cornell Students Charged in Virus Attacks (NEWSBYTES Reprin
>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
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
End of Computer Underground Digest #4.10
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank