Computer underground Digest Sun Mar 28 1993 Volume 5 : Issue 23
Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET)
Archivist: Brendan Kehoe
Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala
Copy Eater: Etaion Shrdlu, Senior
CONTENTS, #5.23 (Mar 28 1993)
File 1--Response to Virus Writing Contest (#5.21)
File 2--Akron BBS Sting Update
File 3--Akron Beacon Editorial on Akron Bust
File 4--Getting information to and from the White House
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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 93 13:03:09 PST
Subject: File 1--Response to Virus Writing Contest (#5.21)
This note is in reference to the current issue of CuD and the all the
discussion of Mark Ludwigs' virus writing contest.
Let's just say I decided to have a bomb making contest. This is for
the purely scientific purpose of studying how bombs work, and allowing
people to study different ways to defuse bombs. I am going to award
some cash to the winner and publish the plans for making the bomb in
my soon-to-be-released book called "The Little Black Book of Bomb
So, the book gets published and sells lots of copies. Mark Ludwig
arrives home one day to find that his place of residence has been
destroyed by a huge bomb. It just so happens that the type of bomb
used is the same award winning explosive device as I published in my
Surely, Mr. Ludwig would not hold me responsible for the destruction
of his home caused by someone who decided to implement the plans I
presented purely for "scientific research purposes".
Roy Batchelor / Burn This Flag BBS / San Jose, CA / 408-363-9766 /
Date: 24 Mar 93 01:16:36 EST
From: David Lehrer <71756.2116@COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: File 2--Akron BBS Sting Update
Akron Anomaly BBS trial issue:
Distributed with permission of The Akron Beacon Journal
POLICE SAY THEY WERE TAKING A BYTE OUT OF CRIME MUNROE FALLS
MAN WAS ARRESTED FOR HAVING X-RATED PICTURES ON HIS COMPUTER
BULLETIN BOARD; HIS PARENTS BELIEVE THE STING OPERATION WAS
Akron Beacon Journal (AK) - MONDAY March 22, 1993
By: CHARLENE NEVADA, Beacon Journal staff writer
Edition: 1 STAR Section: METRO Page: A1
Word Count: 1,538
When the police cars pulled up to David Lehrer's quiet Munroe Falls
street last June, it was a little like they were swooping
down on a major criminal.
Police Chief Steve Stahl went to the door and told Lehrer that he
had a search warrant to seize computer equipment belonging to Lehrer's
son, Mark. The chief told the elder Lehrer that there was
reason to believe Mark Lehrer, then 22, was using the computer and a
modem to disseminate matter harmful to juveniles.
Essentially, the chief said, it appeared that there were dirty
pictures on a popular computer bulletin board operated by the
younger Lehrer and that teen-agers could use their own computers to
view the dirty pictures.
The police went through the Lehrers' home -- seizing,
labeling and photographing anything and everything that fit on the
computer. It was just like on a police television show, only it was
happening in Munroe Falls and the accused was a college student
Greg Lehrer, Mark's younger brother, remembers asking one
of the officers: 'Why don't you go out and find some real criminals?'
That was nine months ago.
Some might still ask that question.
The case of the State of Ohio vs. Mark Lehrer was closed last week
when Lehrer stood before a judge in Summit County and pleaded
guilty to one rather strange misdemeanor: attempted possession of a
Lehrer and his family said the plea bargain was a way to put the
matter behind them without risking a jury trial and more legal
expenses. They consider the whole episode a witch hunt by Munroe Falls
David Lehrer has said from the beginning that Munroe Falls police
only wanted to appropriate his son's high-power computer -- which they
labeled a criminal tool -- for their own use.
Within the computing community, the case caused so much outrage
that some lawyers and accountants set up a defense fund to help
Lehrer. More than $1,500 came from all over the country.
Munroe Falls Police Chief Steve Stahl is about as unhappy
over the resolution as the Lehrers.
Stahl wanted a felony conviction. The chief denied being on a witch
hunt for criminals in a relatively crime-free suburban community.
Lehrer's attorney, Don Varian, said the prosecutor offered to
plea bargain because prosecutors would have had problems going to
trial: 'They would have lost and they knew it,' he said.
On this much everyone agrees: Between last June and last week, the
case took lots of strange turns.
THE AKRON ANOMALY
It started one day last spring when Munroe Falls police got a tip
from a Kent State University student who said he was concerned
that obscene material was available to juveniles through a computer
bulletin board known as the Akron Anomaly.
The Akron Anomaly was the baby of Mark Lehrer, a University of
Akron student. Lehrer has been into computers since he was in grade
school and his dad brought the first one home. Among people who
love computers, bulletin boards are a way to share ideas and programs.
Bulletin board users are a little like yesterday's ham radio
The operator of a computer bulletin board is usually someone
who has lots of games, pictures and programs to share.
Others can sign onto their own computers -- and with the aid of a
modem and telephone line -- tap into the bulletin board and copy the
As computers go, Lehrer had a V-8 engine, a 486 IBM clone
with 500 megabytes of memory. (The whole Bible could be stored in
1 1/2 of those megabytes.)
Lehrer works at a computer store in Stark County. He was allowed
to buy accessories and upgrades at discount. His system -- not
including discs --was valued at about $3,000.
The bulletin board was so successful that early last year a
local computer group called it one of the best around.
Those who wanted to use the bulletin board more than 45 minutes
a day were asked to pay $15 a year, which Lehrer applied to his phone
The board had an adult section with X-rated pictures and movies.
Those who wanted access to the adult section had to send Lehrer
a copy of a driver's license and get a special clearance.
Computer users don't just take things from a bulletin board.
They contribute, too.
Programs and pictures sent to the Anomaly were received in sort
of an 'in' basket. Lehrer then sorted them and filed them by category.
The X-rated stuff -- which Lehrer said was less than 2 percent
of the available files -- was put into the restricted-entry
adult category. According to Stahl, some of the X-rated files
wound up in the clean section.
One in particular troubled Stahl. It was labeled '69,' a slang
term for oral sex, and had three X's behind it.
To Stahl, that meant dirty. And since it wasn't in a
restricted-access section, anyone could see it.
But since Munroe Falls didn't actually have any outraged
parents complaining, the police set up a sting operation.
Working on the advice of prosecutors from the Cuyahoga Falls
Municipal Court, police found a 15-year-old volunteer and had
him apply for membership under a fake name. They sat him down at a
computer and had him press the button to access one of the X-rated
files. Then he left because his parents didn't want him viewing the
Lehrer was charged with disseminating matter harmful to
juveniles and possession of criminal tools -- his computer.
At a preliminary hearing last June, Cuyahoga Falls Municipal
Judge James Bierce warned that more evidence would be needed to
convict Lehrer. Nonetheless, the matter was bound over to the grand
And that's where it died. Just why isn't clear. Grand jury
proceedings are secret.
Stahl said the grand jury didn't actually get to see the pictures.
Varian has his own theory.
The police didn't have an independent witnesses saying they or
their children were offended, Varian said. All they had was the
15-year-old kid who was set up. That meant the jury would have had to
look at the issue of entrapment. Jurors might not have liked that.
But the matter didn't end with the grand jury no-billing the
issue of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.
New charges surfaced.
When authorities seized Lehrer's computer, they also took
those shopping bags full of floppy discs. And apparently among them
were some sex pictures in which the subjects could have been under 18.
So Lehrer was indicted for pandering obscenity involving minors.
It didn't matter that the pictures came from a disc and weren't on
line or available through the bulletin board.
The new charges made David Lehrer, Mark's father, suspect even
more that there was a hidden agenda.
POLITICS AT WORK?
Lehrer chairs the city's charter review commission. Last
May, the commission voted not to make the police chief's job
classified, which would have afforded Stahl a great measure of job
Plus, after the bust, Susan Lehrer -- Mark's mother --
visited the chief. She took notes. She said Stahl talked about how
her son's computer could be used in police work.
Stahl denied his actions were politically motivated. He also
denied wanting to get the computer, which is now in the hands
of state law enforcement officials.
The chief said he decided it would be wrong to ignore the case
just because Mark Lehrer's father held a public position.
Stahl denied digging through the floppies to find more to charge
Lehrer with. The Bureau of Criminal Investigation did that, he said.
COMPUTER GONE FOR GOOD
Mark Lehrer acknowledged having some adult files in the
unrestricted area. With 10,000 files to deal with, he said, it was a
Summit County Prosecutor Lynn Slaby said that it would have been
tough to convict Lehrer on the kiddie porn charges because proving
the ages of the people in the pictures would have been tough.
Varian said the women looked in the range of 16 to 20.
To salvage the case, prosecutors offered the plea bargain. Lehrer
said he agreed to it because expert witnesses -- people to
testify the people in the picture weren't under 18 -- would
have cost $6,000.
Most importantly, he said: 'I didn't want to go to trial for
child pornography. Juries sometimes convict people unfairly.'
He got no jail time, no probation and a small fine. But he had to
give up his computer.
'We did not endorse the plea agreement,' Stahl said. He said he
still believes that Lehrer is guilty of disseminating matter
harmful to juveniles.
The chief said he isn't on an obscenity crusade. 'We're not
Ravenna,' he said, referring to that city's anti-porn-crusading mayor,
To Lehrer -- who sees an empty room instead of a sophisticated
computer -- it's been a nightmare and the end of a great hobby.
'Being hit with child pornography charges' was far from just, he
says. 'It's scary what people -- police and prosecutors -- can do to
PHOTO: LEW STAMP
Beacon Journal - David Lehrer (left) and his son Mark
question why Munroe Falls police targeted Mark's computer
bulletin board, the Akron Anomaly.
DESCRIPTORS: DAVID LEHRER; MARK; MUNROE FALLS POLICE; SEARCH WARRANT;
COMPUTER EQUIPMENT; COLLEGE STUDENT; OBSCENE; JUVENILE;
Date: 27 Mar 93 07:36:29 EST
From: David Lehrer <71756.2116@COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: File 3--Akron Beacon Editorial on Akron Bust
"Munroe Falls carryout"
The following is an editorial published in the Akron Beacon Journal on
Wednesday, March 24, 1993. This editorial is copyrighted by the Akron
Beacon Journal, and commercial use or resale of this article is
forbidden. Permission to post this editorial in its entirety has been
generously granted by Mr. David B. Cooper, Associate Editor.
The 9-month long Mark Lehrer/Akron Anomaly BBS felony trial situation
terminated on March 8, 1993.
Topic: Published articles about the Akron Anomaly BBS 'sting'
directed by Munroe Falls, Ohio police chief Steve Stahl on June 18,
1992. All published articles concerning this 'sting' and associated
battles will be distributed immediately upon permission being granted
by the author(s).
Responses are encouraged!
>From the Beacon: "We welcome your letters and the chance to publish as
many as possible."
"We ask that letters be original, concise and legible and bear
the writer's full signature, address and daytime phone number."
"All letters are subject to editing. We withhold names only for good
reason. The same conditions apply to letters sent by fax."
"Please address your letters to Voice of the People, Akron Beacon
Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, Ohio 44309-0640."
"If you want to send your letter by fax, use our fax number:
MUNROE FALLS CARRYOUT
Akron Beacon Journal (AK) - WEDNESDAY March 24, 1993
Edition: 1 STAR Section: EDITORIAL Page: A14
Word Count: 313
Editorial / Our Opinion
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution was written to safeguard
ordinary citizens against unreasonable search and seizure.
Recently, however, law-enforcement officials have taken to seizing
possessions of convicted and suspected criminals, particularly drug
In the case of 23-year-old Munroe Falls resident Mark Lehrer,
police confiscated a sophisticated, $3,000 computer setup, programs
and disks on the suspicion that he might be letting kids look at
dirty pictures. That charge was never proved. In fact, it appears
that police received only one or two complaints about his computer
bulletin board, none from area parents. Lehrer contends a
clerical error put the pornography into files accessible to all the
bulletin board's users, not just adults. Police enlisted a
15-year-old, falsified his identity for a membership and then helped
the teen call up a possibly offending program.
But, when the Summit County grand jury refused to indict the
University of Akron computer whiz on the original charges, Munroe
Falls police filed other charges based on the possibility that
some of the programs in Lehrer's private collection contained
pictures of minors.
Lehrer did plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of 'attempted
possession of criminal tools' -- his computer -- based on those
No one downplays the seriousness of crime in our society, whether
it's in the suburbs or inner cities. None argue that children should
be able to view pornography.
But in the absence of compelling evidence that Lehrer was
trying to peddle child porn to kids, either at the outset of this
case nine months ago or now, it could appear that the police acted
hastily in confiscating the computer. Such actions invite questions
as to whether the police were protecting against a child pornographer
or using the intimidating powers of the police and judicial system
to help themselves to a nice hunk of expensive machinery. dl
DESCRIPTORS: MUNROE FALLS; MARK LEHRER; POLICE; BIOGRAPHY; CHILD
PORNOGRAPHY; EVIDENCE; OBSCENITY
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1993 08:08:53 -0800 (PST)
From: booloo@FRAMSPARC.OCF.LLNL.GOV(Mark Boolootian)
Subject: File 4--Getting information to and from the White House
GETTING INFORMATION TO AND FROM THE WHITE HOUSE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Updated March 12, 1993
A. HOW TO SIGN UP FOR ELECTRONIC RELEASES FROM THE WHITE HOUSE:
The White House Communications office is distributing press releases
over an experimental system developed during the campaign.
You can sign up to receive press releases on this experimental system
by using the automated computer server. You will be carried forward
onto the system that replaces it. However, it would be appreciated if
you used this service sparingly at this time. The present system was
not designed to handle high levels of message traffic. In due course,
a more powerful system will be available.
You can also find copies of the press releases in certain on-line
bulletin board groups devoted to discussions of either national
politics in general or President Clinton in particular.
1. On USENET/NETNEWS, electronic publications are found on a variety of
2. On CompuServe: GO WHITEHOUSE
3. On America Online: keyword WHITEHOUSE or THE WHITEHOUSE or CLINTON
4. On The WELL: type whitehouse
5. On MCI: type VIEW WHITE HOUSE
If you don't have access to the these accounts or if you would prefer
to receive the releases via e-mail, then the next section details how
to sign up for this service. The server is not set up to answer
e-mail letters, comments or requests for specific information. To
reach this server, send e-mail:
The server works by reading the subject line of the incoming message
and taking whatever action that line calls for. If you want to sign up
to automatically receive press releases, then your subject line would
begin with the word RECEIVE. You can then specify what kind of
information you are interested in receiving. The categories of
Get releases related to the economy such as budget
news, technology policy review, etc.
Get releases related to foreign policy such as
statements on Bosnian airdrop, Haitian refugee
Get releases related to social issues like
National Service (Student Loan) program,
abortion, welfare reform, etc.
All speeches made by the President and
important speeches made by other
Transcripts of press conferences released by
the White House Communications office, as well
as the President's remarks in photo ops and
other Q&A sessions.
ALL All of the above
So, if you wanted to sign up to get releases related to the economy your
e-mail message would look like this:
Subject: RECEIVE ECONOMY
When you send a signup message to the clinton-info server, it sends
you back a status message letting you know what distribution streams
you are signed up for. If you ever want to check on what groups you
are signed up for send the following message:
You can stop receiving e-mail releases by sending a REMOVE message to
the clinton-info server. The word REMOVE would be followed by whatever
distribution stream you wanted to drop. If you wanted to stop
receiving message about the ECONOMY then your mail would look like
Subject: REMOVE ECONOMY
You could substitute SOCIAL, FOREIGN, SPEECHES, NEWS or ALL for
ECONOMY in the above message and you would be dropped from that
distribution list. If you send the subject line REMOVE ALL, then you
will be taken off the e-mail distribution system all together and will
not receive further releases of any kind.
You can also ask for help from the automated server. Send an e-mail
query as follows:
The server will respond by sending you a detailed form that will guide you
through the process of signing up for the various distribution streams.
B. ARE THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS RELEASES BEING ARCHIVED.
Yes. Various sites are archiving the press releases. What follows is an
incomplete list of some of the sites containing the documents that have
been released to date. This FAQ will be updated to reflect new sites as
they become known.
1. SUNSITE.UNC.EDU /HOME3/WAIS/WHITE-HOUSE-PAPERS
2. FTP.CCO.CALTECH.EDU /PUB/BJMCCALL
3. FTP MARISTB.MARIST.EDU
4. CPSR.ORG /CPSR/CLINTON
5. FedWorld BBS 703-321-8020 8-N-1
Notes: The following are notes on how to log in and get
information from the above sites.
1. Office FOR Information Technology at University of
North Carolina Maintains the full collection of White
House electronic release available for search with WAIS.
:database-name "/home3/wais/White-House-Papers" :ip-
:description "Server created with WAIS release 8 b5 on
Feb 27 15:16:16 1993 by email@example.com
These are the White House Press Briefings and other
postings dealing with William Jefferson Clinton and
Albert Gore as well as members of the President's
Cabinet and the first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton,
Chelsea, Socks and others in Washington DC. Dee Dee
Meyers and George Stephanopoulos. Other good words:
United States of America, Bill Al Tipper Democrats USA
US These files are also available via anonymous ftp
from sunsite.unc.edu The files of type filename used in
the index were:
Folks without WAIS clients or gophers that act as WAIS
clients may telnet to sunsite.unc.edu and login as swais
to access this information via WAIS.
2. No special instructions.
3. The CLINTON@MARIST log files which contain all the official
administration releases distributed through the MIT servers
are available via anonymous FTP. These logs contain in
addition to the official releases, the posts that comprise the
ongoing discussion conducted by the list subscribers.
To obtain the logs:
FTP MARISTB.MARIST.EDU - the logs are in the CLINTON directory
and are named CLINTON LOG9208 thru CLINTON LOGyymm where yymm
stands for the current year and month. Problems should be
directed to my attention: URLS@MARISTC.BITNET or
Posted by Lee Sakkas - owner, CLINTON@MARIST
4. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility is
providing all Clinton documents on technology and privacy
at the CPSR Internet Library, available via
FTP/WAIS/Gopher at cpsr.org /cpsr/clinton (and in other
folders as relevant). For email access, send a message
with the word "help" at the 1st line of text to
5. The White House Forum (GO WHITEHOUSE) on CompuServe is devoted
to discussion of the Clinton administration's policies and
activities. The forum's library consists of news releases and
twice daily media briefings from the White House Office of
Media Affairs. CompuServe members can exchange information
and opinions with each other in the 17 sections in the forum's
message area. The message board spans a broad range of
topics, including international and United Nations activities,
defense, health care, the economy and the deficit, housing and
urban development, the environment, and education and national
6. On America Online the posts are sent to the White House Forum,
located in the News & Finance department of the service and
accessible via keywords "white house" and "clinton." The
White House Forum on America Online contains the press
releases from the White House, divided into the categories
"Press Briefings," "Meetings & Speeches," "Foreign Policy,"
"The Economy," "Technology," "Health Care," and
"Appointments." The area features a message board so you can
discuss the releases with other AOL members, and a searchable
database for easy retrieval of releases in the topic that
7. MCI Mail users can access daily information on the
administration's programs provided by the White House through
MCI Mail bulletin boards. The available boards are: WHITE
HOUSE ECONOMIC, WHITE HOUSE FOREIGN, WHITE HOUSE SOCIAL, WHITE
HOUSE SPEECHES and WHITE HOUSE NEWS. A listing of these
boards can also be obtained by simply typing VIEW WHITE HOUSE
at the COMMAND prompt.
C. SENDING E-MAIL TO THE WHITE HOUSE
The White House e-mail system is under construction. This is a new
project and suffers from all of the problems common to a startup
operation. The Communications office is currently working on defining
what this system will do, as well as trying to come up with equipment
and staffing to make sure that it works. E-mail messages are
currently being printed out and responses are being sent out via US
Nobody wants this new venture to work more than the staff that has
devoted so many hours to getting it up and running. But much time and
effort will be required before the system is truly interactive. In
the mean time, they will need a little patience from the electronic
community. If you send a message to the White House, please include a
US Post office address for replies.
You can send e-mail to the following accounts:
GO: WHITE HOUSE finds White House forum
America OnLine: clinton pz
KEYWORD: WHITEHOUSE finds White House area
MCI TO: WHITE HOUSE
VIEW WHITE HOUSE views bulletin boards
Please send corrections, deletion and additions to this faq to:
End of Computer Underground Digest #5.23