Computer underground Digest Sun Apr 19, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 18 Editors: Jim Thomas and G
Computer underground Digest Sun Apr 19, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 18
Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET)
Associate Editor: Etaion Shrdlu, Jr.
Arcmeisters: Brendan Kehoe and Bob Kusumoto
CONTENTS, #4.18 (Apr 19, 1992)
File 1--The Good, the Bad, and Ugly Facts
File 2--"Internet tapped for global virtual publishing enterprise"
File 3--Medical Data Base (WSJ)
File 4--re California drug forfeiture increases
File 5--First Amendment semi-void in electronic frontier ??
File 6--Summary of 2nd Conference on Computers, Freedom, Privacy
File 7--SUMMARY AND UPDATE: alt.* Removal at UNL
File 8--Those Evil Hackers (San Jose Busts AP Reprint)
File 9--Nationwide Web of Criminal Hackers Charged (NEWSBYTES)
File 10--"Hacker Ring Broken Up" (NYT)
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Date: Fri, 17 Apr 92 15:07:13 EDT
From: Jerry Leichter
Subject: File 1--The Good, the Bad, and Ugly Facts
CuD 4.11 contains a reprint of a DFP article by one
"email@example.com". The article makes two broad sets of points:
1. There is no real difference between the "good" hackers of yore
and the "bad" hackers of today. His quotes from Levy's
"Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution" demonstrate
that these heroes were involved in such things as password
cracking, phone phreaking, and so on.
2. "Information" and "computers" should be free, hackers are just
trying to learn, there is nothing wrong with learning.
Point 2 I don't want to get into; it's old, tired, and if you don't
recognize it for its moral bankruptcy by this time, nothing I can say
will change your mind.
Point 1 I agree with. I was there, and I saw it happen. In fact, I
was involved in it. I broke into my share of systems, used resources
without paying for them, caused accidental system crashes that
disrupted people's work, and so on. (I never did get involved with
phone phreaking. I was one of many who dug up the Bell System
Technical Journal article that gave you all the information you needed
to build a blue box, and I knew the technical details of several other
tricks - but I thought that phreaking was theft even in the early
Max ends by saying:
It is my contention that hackers did not change. Society
changed, and it changed for the worse. The environment the early
hackers were working in correctly viewed these activities as the
desire to utilize technology in a personal way....
In a way he is correct. (The rest of the paragraph continues with the
usual pseudo-socialist twaddle about the evils of the profit motive,
elitism, snobbery, and such, but we'll ignore that.)
Moral decisions are not made in a vacuum. Nor, in a decent society,
are laws chosen without a social and moral context.
When the first "airplane hackers" began working on their devices, they
were free to do essentially as they pleased. If they crashed and
killed themselves well, that was too bad for them. If their planes
worked - so much the better.
After it became possible to build working airplanes, there followed a
period in which anyone could build one and fly anywhere he liked. But
in the long run that became untenable. An increasing number of planes
became too much of a hazard, to each other and to uninvolved people on
the ground. Further, people came to rely on air transport;
interference with it came to be unacceptable. If you want to fly
today, you must get a license. You must work within a whole set of
regulations, regulations that may be inconvenient for *you*, but
that's really too bad: You don't live alone, you live in a society
that is entitled, in fact *required*, to protect its members.
The same goes for many other technologies, ranging from automobiles to
radio transmitters. Think about all the regulations governing your
use of an automobile - not just the requirement that you be licensed,
that you be insured (in most states), that you follow various rules of
the road, but even that you have pollution control equipment that, for
you personally, adds nothing but extra cost.
Max seems to have no understanding of history, of how things change
over time. He has no vision of the world that the early hackers were
operating in. The computers they were hacking at were not being used
for critical things. They were almost entirely at universities, being
used for research. It's hard to imagine, with the reliable machines
of today, but a system in those days that ran for 24 hours without a
crash was doing very well. Yes, crashes caused by hackers were an
inconvenience - but people expected crashes anyway, so they planned
Disks were small, expensive, and given to head crashes. Few people
stored permanent data on them. There was little of interest to be
found by browsing on most systems, and certainly nothing sensitive.
Systems were stand-alone islands. There was no Internet; there were
few dialins. Systems actually doing significant work, systems
containing sensitive data - business and government systems - were
locked in rooms with no external access. No one thought about hacking
these because no one could get to them.
Even in those times, what I and others did was at best ethically
questionable. None of the people I hacked with ever doubted that;
none of us doubted that if we got caught, we could get into trouble.
As it happened, I was never caught - but several of my friends were.
Their accounts were terminated, which could be a major inconvenience,
as they had actual work to do on those systems. And in those days,
running off to the local Sears and buying a PC was not an option.
Let's not put halos on hackers past. The times were different; the
systems were different. The social scale was different: The hackers
Levy celebrates were operating within communities of at most a few
tens of people, most of whom knew each other. Today's hacker works in
an Internet community numbering in the tens of thousands. It's much
easier to trust people you know or "might easily know". Besides,
within those communities, even the people were different: Systems were
not being used by non-technical people. Much of what we know now -
about how to build secure systems, about the existence of deliberately
destructive programmers - we didn't know then. The same actions we
might have applauded in "the golden age" would draw only opprobrium
This is not just a matter of *technological* change, nor is it a matter
of society becoming less understanding: Even if the only thing that
had happened between 1970 and today were that *the same* computers had
been duplicated and had become widely used for important things, the
argument would have remained the same.
The following is broad generalization, but I don't think it's
completely out of line. Today's college kids are caught in a time of
diminished expectations. Whatever the actual *realities*, they must
certainly look back at the romanticized '60's and '70's they hear
about as a time of free sex without worry, wild parties with free
consumption of drugs or alcohol, revolution and hope and grass in the
air, and so on. They've been led to expect that they will start their
lives at an economic level comparable to what their parents have
today, but they also see that for many of them that will prove
impossible to accomplish. The dissonance is painful; the feeling that
somehow they've been cheated out of something they are due must be
Hacking, in the broad sense, has always provided an escape from the
harsh realities of the outside world, escape to a world that seems
manageable, a world in which the hacker could imagine himself superior
to the "establishment" which everywhere else imposes controls on him.
The '60's-style language, the pseudo-socialism, the utopian views of the
world as an information-based commune within which greed and hate and
the profit motive would all fade away, all this in the language of the
cracker apologists is a clear echo of the rhetoric of the '60's.
That's where those dreams spring from. America is no longer to be
"greened"; it's to be "fibered" and "digitized". Timothy Leary no
longer needs to preach dropping out through acid; he can now preach
dropping out to virtual reality. There really isn't all that much of
I'm sorry Max and his friends missed out on those wild and wooly
times; they seem to come along every forty or fifty years or so, so
perhaps their (our) children will see them again. I'm sorry that
it must seem unfair and "elitist" to him that things we could get away
with in those days bring severe punishment today. But history marches
on; all of us, individually and collectively, must grow up.
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 92 1:55:34 EDT
Subject: File 2--"Internet tapped for global virtual publishing enterprise"
Computerworld, 3/23/92, p.?
By Gary H. Anthes, CW Staff
"At negligible cost, in the span of a few weeks, an entirely virtual
global publishing network involving nearly 150 correspondents has been
assembled," Anthony M. Rutkowski, editor in chief of the _Internet
Society News_, wrote in the first issue of the magazine, which was
The cover of the slick, 50-page publication asks, "Where in the world
is the Internet?" The answer is nearly everywhere -- in 107 countries
from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The 150 correspondents who make up the
virtual publishing enterprise are similarly dispersed. "We have
people in virtually every corner of the globe. We even have an
Antarctica correspondent," Rutkowski said.
The nonprofit Internet Society was formed last year to foster the
evolution of the Internet, to educate users and to provide a forum for
user collaboration. The quarterly news magazine offers information
about Internet technology, growth of the Internet and related private
networks and activities of the society and its members.
A slippery concept
Rutkowski, an Internet Society trustee and director of technology
assessment at Sprint International in Reston, Va., said he started
planning the magazine last August but ran into a conceptual challenge
right away. "We wanted to provide a very timely snapshot of the
Internet and the Internet community. But what is the Internet?
That's what's difficult. It's so heterogeneous, almost amorphous."
Rutkowski and two co-editors decided to define the Internet broadly
and include representatives from many countries and interest groups.
The correspondents come from telecommunications and publishing
companies, academia and legal and public policy interests, he said.
Topics include Internet activities by region, application and user
groups, technology, Internet administration and operations, public
policy and law.
Concept development, coordination, information transfer and editing
for the magazine were all done over the Internet. "Such a
[publishing] network in many respects equals the complexity of those
of Reuters or _Time_ magazine," Rutkowski said. "The ability to do
this with relative ease across the entire globe is a profound
A subject-matter outline and a list of correspondents was turned into
a "mail exploder," an electronic-mail list in which any person on the
list can broadcast mail to the entire list by sending mail to one
address. A second Internet address was established for receipt of
articles by the three editors and a third was established as a
repository of finished material.
The mailboxes are on a computer at the Corporation for National
Research Initiatives in Reston, Va.
Articles were sent in by E-mail from around the world, and when all
had been edited, Rutkowski pulled up the whole mass for final
formatting via Microsoft Corp.'s Word for Windows. Then it was output
on a laser printer and sent to a commercial printer.
Circulation: 4 million
Rutkowski said the magazine will be published quarterly and will soon
be available electronically to any of the Internet's 4 million users.
He said later this year the society will also publish a journal
containing more analytical articles, "archival-quality" pieces about
Editors and correspondents of the _Internet Society News_ will have
their work cut out for them as they try to keep up with Internet
An article in the magazine predicted there will be between 29 million
and 45 million computers on local-area networks in the U.S. in 1995.
The Internet extends
to thousands of computers
around the world
* 1000 individual members
* 24 corporate members
* 770,000 computer hosts attached
* 4 million-plus users
* 7,000 operational networks,
30,000 registered networks.
* 107 countries served
Source: The Internet Society CW Chart: Janell Genovese
[No e-mail addresses were mentioned in the letter; do you have any
knowledge of the addresses of anyone involved in this publication?]
Date: 16 Apr 92 20:38:51 EDT
From: Gordon Meyer <72307.1502@COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: File 3--Medical Data Base (WSJ)
IBM LINK TO PHYSICIAN COMPUTER NETWORK RAISES SOME QUESTIONS
(paraphrased from th Wall Street Journal, 2/27/92)
Unknown to the patients, every week or two a company dials into
physicians' PCs and fishes out all their confidential files. With
plans to reach 15,000 physicians within the next four years, the
company, Physician Computer Network Inc., thinks its swelling database
of patient records could become a commercial treasure. Fears about
the sale of medical records are causing some physicians and
pharmacists to resist the collectors' surveillance efforts. Others
are pushing for legislation, noting that privacy law covers videotape
rentals and cable-TV selections, but not most medical records.
Physicians Computer Network has an impressive list of investors.
Among them is IBM, which owns a 23% stake. Another holder, with 4.7%
stake, is Macmillan Inc., part of the Maxwell electronic-information
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 92 18:42:40 PDT
From: jwarren@AUTODESK.COM(Jim Warren)
Subject: File 4--re California drug forfeiture increases
>From autodesk!hibbert%xanadu.com Sun Apr 19 18:35:39 1992
>To: cpsr-civilLiberties@Pa.dec.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
>Subject: hearing on forfeiture laws in CA Senate Judiciary Committee
The California Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on
Tuesday on proposed legislation to strengthen the state's drug asset
forfeiture law. I hope the civil liberties connection in this issue
is clear. The computer connection (why I think it's reasonable to
talk about this on a CPSR list) is that similar laws have been used to
justify the seizure of the assets of accused computer crackers. There
is so little control of the use of these laws, and it's proven so hard
to get property back in every particular case in which they were used,
that I believe the laws should be fought every time they come up.
According to yesterday's (Saturday, April 18) San Jose Mercury News,
Senate Minority Leader Ken Maddy, (R) Fresno, introduced a bill that
would repeal the 1994 expiration date of California's drug asset
forfeiture law. State Attorney General Dan Lungren was quoted as
urging the legislature to pass the bill.
Forfeiture laws are an affront to our constitutional guarantees
against being deprived of our property without due process of law.
The forfeiture laws allow law enforcement agents to confiscate any
property of an accused person and use it until and unless the accused
can *prove* that it wasn't purchased with illegally obtained money.
Does it make sense for CPSR to speak out against forfeiture laws in
general? I think it's possible to take a position against this bill
by saying that forfeiture laws are bad in general, without talking
about drug laws or the drug war. Is that enough to allow us to take a
position on this bill, considering the arguments that came up when we
were talking about Les' proposed Employer code of ethics?
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 92 18:58:22 PDT
From: jwarren@AUTODESK.COM(Jim Warren)
Subject: File 5--First Amendment semi-void in electronic frontier ??
IS POLITICAL SPEECH, PRESS & ASSEMBLY PERMITTED IN THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER?
There is no purpose for which the freedoms of speech, press and
assembly are more essential than for unfettered participation in the
political process. Yet, such personal freedoms -- permitted in 18th
Century voice, paper and face-to-face form -- may be severely
suppressed in electronic form.
Although *personal* computer-based speech, press and assembly
by employees, students and others is generally permitted in
companies, schools and organizations, within reasonable limits
of time and place, some folks say they must be monitored, accounted
for, evaluated and reported -- or suppressed and prohibited --
when they contain *personal* political expression or advocate
political support or opposition for candidates or ballot issues.
There are experienced net-users who are political candidates who say this.
Most folks access the nets via company, school or institutional computer accou
nts. Many are permitted to use that access for
personal email, personal messages broadcast to email-alias lists and personal pa
rticipation in public and private teleconferences --
provided they do so without adversely impacting their work or official basis for
having their account.
Federal and state regulations governing political campaign disclosures
require that "contributions-in-kind" for or against candidates and
ballot measures be accounted for and their value reported, just like
cash donations. Contributions-in-kind include such things as postage,
office space, printing, loans of furniture, office machines, etc.
They also include use of telephones, faxes, computers, computer
supplies, computer services, etc.
Furthermore, donations by corporations are often restricted or
prohibited. Most nonprofit organizations, including educational
institutions, are entirely prohibited from making political donations
-- or even lobbying for or against legislation (freedom is forfeited
for tax perks).
OVERT CORPORATE SUPPORT IS CLEARLY REGULATED
If a corporation overtly underwrites political action by
intentionally providing labor, staff, facilities, equipment or
services to support or oppose a political campaign, then the
fair-market value ot those services or facilities must clearly be
reported as an in-kind contribution.
(Such regulations appear to be much less enforced against unions and
schools, and appear to be not-at-all enforced against churches or
synagogues, regardless of how sectarian their political efforts may
THE 21st CENTURY QUESTION
Is *personal* electronic political speech, press and assembly protected at
work or school -- or is it a corporate or institutional political donation?
PERSONAL POLITICAL SPEECH APPEARS PERMISSIBLE -- BY VOICE
Within reasonable limits on time and place, citizens are not
*legally* prohibited from discussing politics with their office
associates, or in the company or school or church hallway, or in the
cafeteria or employee lounge, or in telephone conversations with
callers and professional associates with whom they have a personal
relationship as well as business association. (Note: This concerns
*legal* restrictions; *not* the issue of whether political discussions
are *wise* in a business, school or church setting.)
PERSONAL POLITICAL PRESS APPEARS PERMISSIBLE -- BY PAPER
It is also common for employees, students and teachers to use
*authorized* access to printers and copiers, to create and copy
*personal* leaflets about political issues and activities that they
hand to friends and post on company, school, church and synagogue
bulletin boards. When they do so within the institutional limits
placed on their general personal use of equipment and bulletin boards,
the use has almost-certainly never been reported as an institutional
PERSONAL POLITICAL ASSEMBLY APPEARS PERMISSIBLE -- FACE-TO-FACE
It is common for corporations, schools, unions, religious
institutions, etc., to permit their their cafeterias, lounges, union
halls, meeting rooms and parking lots to be used for candidate
presentations, campaign debates and meet-the-candidate(s) receptions
-- as well as for both public and internal meetings to hear
presentations by incumbent elected represenatives and/or by leaders of
various community, legislative and regulatory groups.
Participants are rarely charged for such use (except by sites that
routinely derive revenue from renting meeting space), and the value
of the meeting facility is rarely reported as an in-kind contribution to
the speaker(s). In fact, it is considered to be "good institutional
citizenship" for organizations to provide their facilities for meetings
between citizens and their current and potential elected and appointed
CAN CORPORATIONS AND SCHOOLS ABSOLUTELY PROHIBIT POLITICAL SPEECH?
Now, consider those workplaces and educational institutions that permit
*personal* conversation, usually within reasonable limits on time and place.
And recognize that such personal speech may be one-to-one or within formal
or informal personal groups, e.g. a lunch group in the cafeteria.
When such personal speech and personal assembly *is* permitted:
* Must those companies and institutions then prohibit all *personal*
employee or student conversation that has political content?
* Must they prohibit all *personal* advocacy of political positions?
* Must they prohibit all *personal* advocacy for or against candidates?
* And if they don't prohibit it, must they monitor it and report it?
* If corporations and schools can not or should not suppress all on-site *
* personal speech and association having political content -- but must *
* report all in-kind donations -- then how shall they evaluate the desks, *
* offices, hallways, cafeterias, lounges, phones, phone bills, computers, *
* and bulletin boards where personal political speech, personal political *
* "press"/notices and personal political assembly occurs? And, how shall *
* they monitor such speech. press and assembly, so as to identify which *
* campaign is receiving how much value in in-kind contributions? *
AND, WHY SHOULD *ELECTRONIC* SPEECH AND *ELECTRONIC* ASSEMBLY BE DIFFERENT?
When *personal* conversation and personal political expression is
permitted by voice or telephone in workplace, union hall or school,
why should personal political speech be prohibited when it by
When *personal* notices and copying and personal political leaflets
are permitted if they are on paper and/or posted on wall-mounted
bulletin boards, why should such personal political press be
prohibited when it is by electronic origin and distribution?
When *personal* meetings and personal political discussion in groups
is permitted if it is face-to-face in the cafeteria, lounge or parking
lot of school or workplace, why should personal assembly with others
be prohibited when it is by electronic newsgroups or teleconferences?
* TO THE EXTENT THAT employees and students, within their institutions, *
* are permitted freedom of personal political expression by voice and in *
* writing, and freedom of personal political association by face-to-face *
* meeting, why should personal political speech, press or assembly be *
* suppressed -- or monitored and reported -- merely when it is electronic? *
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 92 21:19:52 CST
Subject: File 6--Summary of 2nd Conference on Computers, Freedom, Privacy
Source: CPSR/Berkeley Newsletter (Second Quarter, 1992)
THE 2ND CONFERENCE ON COMPUTERS, FREEDOM AND PRIVACY: A REPORT
By Steve Cisler
[Editors Note: The following are selected excerpts from an online
report. The complete report may be found on the Internet in
ftp.apple.com in the alug directory; or on the Well in the cfp
The Second Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, March 18-20,
1992. Washington,D.C.was sponsored by the Association for Computing
Machinery and thirteen co-sponsors including the American Library
Association and a wide variety of advocacy groups.
The diversity of the attendees, the scope of the topics covered, and
the dynamism of the organized and informal sessions brought a
perspective I had lost in endless conferences devoted only to library,
information, and network issues. I can now view the narrower topics of
concern to me as a librarian in new ways, and for that it was one of
the best conferences I have attended. There does exist a danger of
these issues being re-hashed each year with the usual suspects invited
each time to be panelists, so I urge you, the readers, to become
involved and bring your own experiences to the next conference in 1993
in the San Franciso Bay Area.
Keynote: Al Neuharth, The Freedom Forum and founder of USA Today,
speaking on "Freedom in cyberspace: new wine in old flasks." First
amendment freedoms are for everyone. Newspaper publishers should not
relegate anyone to 2d class citizens to the back of the bus. The
passion for privacy may make our democracy falter. Publishing of
disinformation is the biggest danger, not info-glut. Comments on
American Newspaper Publishers Assn to keep RBOCs out of information
business: Free press clause does not only apply to newspapers. Telcos
have first amendment rights too. "ANPA is spitting into the winds of
change", and some newspaper publishers are not happy with this stance,
so there is a lot of turmoil. People should get their news when, how
and where they want it: on screen or tossed on the front porch.
Who Logs On?: Al Koeppe of New Jersey Bell outlined the many new
services being rolled out in NJ at the same time they are maintaining
low basic rates. In 1992 there will be narrowband digital service for
low quality video conferencing. 1994 wideband digital service. video
on demand, entertainment libraries and distance learning applications.
He predicted a 99% penetration by 1999. with complete fiber by 2010.
This will be a public network not a private one. It will still be a
common carrier. This is a very aggressive and optimistic plan, an
important one for all of us to watch. Lucky said he had never seen a
study that shows video on demand services can be competitive with
video store prices. The big question remains: how does a business
based on low-bandwidth voice services charge for broadband services?
It remains a paradox. Discussion during Q&A: "A lot of the last hour
has been discussing how to make the services better for the elite, but
it does not seem very democratic. people don't even have touch tone,
let alone computers or ISDN." NREN was characterized as gigabits to
the elite to kilobits to the masses. "Don't expect anything for the
next three years on telecomm issues from Congress."
Computers in the Workplace: Elysium or Panopticon: Because computer
technology provides new opportunities for employee surveillance, what
rights to privacy does the employee have? Alan Westin, Columbia
University, outlined some interesting trends in the 90s where
employers have moved into a new intervention in the activities and
private lives of employees. There is a liability against bad hiring.
Forced adoption of drug testing (with public support). They want to
select employees on the basis of health costs and liability, so there
is a desire to control employees on and off the job.
Who Holds the Keys?: In a sense the cryptography session was one of
the most difficult to follow, yet the outlines of a very large
battlefield came into view by the end of the session. The two sides
are personal privacy and national security. Should the government be
allowed to restrict the use of cryptography? (Only weakened schemes
are allowed to be legally exported.) What legal protections should
exist for enciphered communications?
Public Policy for the 21st Century: "How will information
technologies alter work, wealth, value, political boundaries?... What
will the world be like in a decade or two?... What public policies now
exist that may pull the opposite direction from the economic momentum
and will lead to social tension and breakage if not addressed
Mitchell Kapor: He sees digital media as the printing press of the
21st century. The WELL and others make us realize we are not
prisoners of geography, so our religious, hobby, or academic interests
can be shared by the enabling technologies of computers. "Individuals
flourish from mass society with this technology" Openness, freedom,
inclusiveness will help us make a society that will please our
children and grandchildren.
Simon Davies, Privacy International: "There is possibly a good future,
but it's in the hands of greedy men. I see a world with 15 billion
beings scrambling for life, with new frontiers stopping good things.
14 billion [will be] very pissed off, and our wonderful informational
community (the other billion) becomes the beast... If we recognize the
apocalypse now we can work with the forces."
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 92 16:31:12 CST
Subject: File 7--SUMMARY AND UPDATE: alt.* Removal at UNL
As of April 17, 1992, when I write this summary and update, the noise
on the nets has abated somewhat. But those readers of the CuD who
have access to Usenet news have almost certainly seen and remember the
brouhaha over the deletion of the alt.* hierarchy at the University of
Nebraska. The following is the story, as I understand it, pieced
together from several sources and personal inquiries. It is only as
accurate as the information I was able to obtain, and if anyone has
corrections or additions, please submit them to the CuD.
The furor started on March 2nd, 1992, when the alt.* hierarchy was
eliminated by the UNL Computing Resource Center (CRC). The
termination was so abrupt that some downstream sites did not know in
advance, and had to immediately scramble for alternate feeds. The
decision was supposedly resource-based, and supported by a February
27th recommendation by the UNL Academic Senate Computational Services
and Facilities Committee. Almost immediately, however, it became
obvious that content-control had played a major part. Leo Chouinard,
the "Academic Senate representative on the Computational Committee"
[sic], reportedly said the committee discussed several considerations
before making a decision about the alt groups, including possible
violations of state pornography laws and concerns about computer
resources being used for non-educational purposes.
The memorandum announcing the termination read as follows:
CRC Policy on Providing Information Resources
The Computing Resource Center provides information resources to
the UNL community in support of the University's mission of
research, instruction, and service. These resources commonly take
the form of databases, archives, and bulletin boards. The
Computing Resource Center makes available those information
resources that are requested by faculty at UNL and approved by
the Computing Resource Center in consultation the Academic Senate
Computational Committee as useful in supporting the University's
If a user desires information resources not provided by the
Computing Resource Center, they are free to acquire that
information elsewhere, subject only to the requirements of the
information provider, relevant federal and state laws, and
applicable University policies.
Adopted UNL Academic Senate, 2/27/92
The UNL Academic Senate Computational Services and Facilities
Committee is chaired by Professor (of English) Les Whipp. He told me
that, in hindsight, he felt his committee did not have all the facts
before them when they concurred in the CRC recommendation that the
following Usenet newsfeeds (and only these newsgroups) be made
available: bionet, bit, biz, ci, comp, general, gnu, misc, news, rec,
sci, soc, talk, unix-pc, unl, and vmsnet. In particular, he was not
aware of the connotations of censorship that could (and did) become
attached to the wholesale removal of the alt.* hierarchy, and as of
the date I talked with him, felt that someone at the CRC had a hidden
agenda to remove certain "objectionable" groups. Professor Whipp did
not claim to be expert on the management of hardware resources, and
sounded disturbed that a decision officially based on "limited
resources" was so open to question on its basis. (The debate about
the percentage, cost, etc., of carrying the alt.* groups went on at
length in comp.org.eff.talk and other newsgroups. It is not my
purpose to reiterate that discussion).
Mr. Kent Landfield (email@example.com), a UNL alumnus, systems
manager at a major software contractor, and moderator of
comp.sources.misc, posted a thoughtful "Open Letter to UNL CRC"
regarding the alt.* group removal. As a result of my own feelings,
and encouraged by Mr. Landfield's letter, I contacted several
individuals at UNL. Acting at approximately the same time, a number
of UNL students formed the "Nebraska Students for Electronic Freedom
(NUSEF)." The thrust of our comments was if resources were at issue,
tell us what was needed and we would lobby to get them. If content
was actually at issue, admit it openly, apply generally accepted
educational/library standards, and bring back at least those alt.*
groups with recognized value.
As a result of the lobbying efforts, including telephone call from
Mike Godwin at the Cambridge office of the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, the involvement of librarians both knowledgeable
regarding computer services and resource allocation and selection
criteria, and the general education several of the faculty
participants received during the discussions, the UNL Academic
Senate Executive Committee, meeting on April 6th, voted to request
restoration of the majority of the alt.* groups. Their minutes
7.0 ALT Network Disconnect
Wise and McShane indicated they had been contacted
regarding CRC discontinuing the ALT network because of
the potential for transmitting erotic pictures via the
network. Users have indicated these pictures can be
blocked under copyright law restrictions and the general
network be continued.
The committee requested the ALT network be added back
with the designated restrictions.
When I discussed the committee recommendation with one of its members,
I came away with the feeling that the digitized pictures would be
removed due to copyright concerns, and that the rest of the group
would be evaluated using American Library Association criteria (as
often advocated and explained by Carl Kadie, firstname.lastname@example.org).
I also came away with the feeling that similar decisions will, in the
future, be conducted substantially more in the open. To use a trite
saying, "time will tell."
In Nebraska we are still waiting and watching for the return of the
alt.* groups, will work to obtain legislative support if additional
resources are in fact needed, and will continue to support resource
allocation decisions based on academic criteria, as opposed to
Date: 18 Apr 92 19:34:30 EDT
From: Net Wrider
Subject: File 8--Those Evil Hackers (San Jose Busts AP Reprint)
Just FYI, here's more hyperbole from the Associated Press, this time
courtesy of the local cops in San Diego and the ignorance of the
San Diego Times-Union:
R,A,7 - AM-COMPUTERHACKERS, 04-17 0481 -
Police Uncover Nationwide Fraud Ring Of Computer Hackers
SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Authorities say they've cracked a nationwide
electronic network of young computer hackers who were able to make
fraudulent credit card purchases and break into confidential credit
"These kids can get any information they want on you _ period," San
Diego police Detective Dennis Sadler said. "We didn't believe it until
it was demonstrated to us."
The investigation has led to two arrests in Ohio and seizures of
computers and related material in New York City, the Philadelphia area
and Seattle, Sadler said. But those cases are just an offshoot of the
main investigation, he said.
He refused to discuss details, saying an investigation is continuing
and scores of arrests are pending nationwide.
Members of the informal underground network know how to break computer
security codes, make charges on other people's cards and create credit
card accounts, said Sadler.
"There's one kid who bragged about using the same credit card number
for eight months," he said.
As many as 1,000 hackers nationwide have shared such information for
at least four years. Sadler estimated that illegal credit card charges
could total millions of dollars.
Fraudulent credit card charges typically are made by computer
criminals who illegally gather detailed information from computerized
accounts on file at credit reporting agencies, banks and other
The hackers also have learned how to break personal security codes for
automatic teller machines, Sadler said, and can obtain telephone
access codes to make long-distance calls without paying.
A crucial break in the case occurred in late March when an
out-of-state hacker was picked up in San Diego and agreed to cooperate
with local police and the FBI, Sadler told The San Diego Union-Tribune
in a story published Friday.
At least part of the investigation is focusing on information that
hackers obtained illegally from computers at Equifax Credit
Information Services, an Atlanta-based credit reporting agency that
provides information to lenders.
"We're still in the process of investigating, and we're working very
closely with San Diego police," company spokeswoman Tina Black said.
Equifax, one of the nation's three largest credit bureaus, has a
database of about 170 million credit files.
The company suffered no financial losses itself and is notifying the
few consumers whose accounts were compromised, Black said.
MasterCard International reported $381 million in losses from credit
card fraud worldwide in 1991, said Warner Brown, MasterCard's director
of security and fraud control.
Visa International's losses amounted to $259 million in 1989, about
one-tenth of 1 percent of Visa's worldwide sales volumes, spokesman
Gregory Holmes said.
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 92 15:17:00 PDT
From: John F. McMullen (email@example.com)
Subject: File 9--Nationwide Web of Criminal Hackers Charged (NEWSBYTES)
Nationwide Web Of Computer Criminal Hackers Charged 4/20/92
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A., 1992 APR 20 (NB) -- .According to a San
Diego Union-Tribune report, San Diego police have uncovered "an
electronic web of young computer hackers who use high-tech methods to
make fraudulent credit card charges and carry out other activities."
The Friday, April 17th story by Bruce V. Bigelow and Dwight C.
Daniels. quotes San Diego police detective Dennis Sadler as saying
that this informal underground network has been trading information
"to further their political careers." He said that the hackers know
how to break how to break computer security codes, create credit card
accounts, and make fraudulent credit card purchases. Sadler estimated
that as many as 1,000 hard-core hackers across the United States have
shared this data although he said that it's unclear how many have
actually used the information to commit crimes.
Sadler added that he estimated that illegal charges to credit cards
could total millions of dollars.
While the police department did not release details to support the
allegations, saying that the investigation is continuing, Sadler did
say that cooperation from an "out-of-state hacker", picked up in San
Diego, provided important information to the police and the FBI.
Although police would not release the identity of this individual or
his present where abouts, information gather by Newsbytes from sources
within the hacker community identifies the so-called hacker as
"Multiplexer", a resident of Long Island, NY, who, according to
sources, arrived in San Diego on a airline flight with passage
obtained by means of a fraudulent credit card purchase. The San Diego
police, apparently aware of his arrival, allegedly met him at the
airport and took him into custody. The same sources say that,
following his cooperation, Multiplexer was allowed to return to his
Long Island home.
The Union-Tribune article linked the San Diego investigation to recent
federal search and seizures in the New York, Philadelphia and Seattle
areas. Subjects of those searches have denied to Newsbytes any
knowledge of Multiplexer, illegal credit card usage or other illegal
activities alleged in the Union-Tribune story. Additionally, law
enforcement officials familiar with on-going investigations have been
unwilling to comment, citing possible future involvement with the San
The article also compared the present investigation to Operation Sun
Devil, a federal investigation into similar activities that resulted
in a massive search and seizure operation in May 1990. Although
individuals have been sentenced in Arizona and California on Sun Devil
related charges, civil liberties groups, such as the Computer
Professionals for Social Responsibility, have been critical about the
low number of criminal convictions resulting from such a large
(Barbara E. McMullen & John F. McMullen//19920420)
Date: Mon, 20 Apr 92 0:35:50 CDT
From: Net Wrider
Subject: File 10--"Hacker Ring Broken Up" (NYT)
"A Nationwide Computer-Fraud Ring Run by Young Hackers Is Broken Up"
SAN DIEGO, April 18 (AP) -- The authorities say they have cracked a
nationwide network of young computer hackers who were able to break
into the electronic files of at least one credit-rating company and
make fraudulent credit-card purchases that may have run into the
millions of dollars.
For the last four years or more, as many as 1,000 members of the
informal underground network have shared information about how to
break computer security codes, make charges on other people's credit
cards and create credit card accounts, said Dennis Sadler, a detective
with the San Diego police, whose officers stumbled upon the network
last month while investigating a local case of credit-card fraud.
The hackers also learned how to break personal security codes for
automated bank teller machines, Mr. Sadler said, and obtained
telephone access codes to make long distance calls without paying.
"These kids can get any information they want on you -- period," Mr.
Sadler told the San Diego Union-Tribune, which first reported on the
ring of hackers in an article on Friday. "We didn't believe it until
it was demonstrated to us."
The investigation has led to two arrests in Ohio and to the seizure of
computers and related material in New York City, the Philadelphia area
and Seattle, Mr. Sadler said. But he described those cases as merely
off-shoots of the main investigation, which he refused to discuss in
detail, saying that the inquiry was continuing and that scores of
arrests were pending around the country.
Computer criminals typically make fraudulent credit-card purchases by
gathering detailed information from the electronic files of credit
reporting agencies, banks and other businesses. MasterCard
International reported $381 million in losses from credit-card fraud
around the world last year, and Visa International says its fraud
losses amounted to $259 million in 1989, about 0.1 percent of its
At least part of the investigation here is focusing on information
that the hackers obtained illegally from computers at Equifax Credit
Information Services, an Atlanta-based credit-reporting agency.
Tina Black, a spokeswoman for the company, said, "We're still in the
process of investigating, and we're working very closely with San
Equifax, one of the nation's three largest credit bureaus, has a data
base of about 170 million credit files, but Ms. Black said fewer than
25 files had been compromised.
End of Computer Underground Digest #4.18
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank