Computer underground Digest Sun Dec 18, 1994 Volume 6 : Issue 106 ISSN 1004-042X Editors:

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Computer underground Digest Sun Dec 18, 1994 Volume 6 : Issue 106 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET) Archivist: Brendan Kehoe Retiring Shadow Archivist: Stanton McCandlish Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala Ian Dickinson Copy Reader: Laslo Toth CONTENTS, #6.106 (Sun, Dec 18, 1994) File 1--In Re CuD 6.103--AA BBS - Thomases are going to jail File 2--'puter Biz Woes File 3--"Terror on the Internet" (excerpt) File 4--Canadian Pol (Mike Harris) Roasted for Net-related Stunt File 5--EFF Office (and BBS) moving! File 6--Electronic Submission: Ranter & Spiegel Interview (satire) File 7--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 25 Nov 1994) CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN THE CONCLUDING FILE AT THE END OF EACH ISSUE. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Fri, 09 Dec 1994 12:52:28 -0600 From: Jason Zions Subject: File 1--In Re CuD 6.103--AA BBS - Thomases are going to jail The best response is to isolate Tennessee like the censoring cancer that it is. As a BBS operator, refuse to authorize access from anyone calling from their area codes or presenting a mailing address in Tenn. Cut them out of the web as it exists. Internet access (i.e. ftp archives) is a thornier problem; based on IP address it's impossible to tell the geographic locus of a peer in a TCP connection. Then again, the legal waters are extremely murky here; no Internet service provider has yet been found to be a common carrier, so an obscenity action would likely be first directed at the service provider. Also, I suspect a court of appeals would be sympathetic to the fact that an internet archive provider cannot take *any* steps to ascertain the "community standards" that apply in the place the user connects from since that information is simply unavailable. The truly paranoid would map an incoming IP address back to a domain name and check it against a list of domains known to be in Tennessee and refuse the connection if it appeared in the list. You might want to read "Cyberspace and the Law", a new book by attorneys Ed Cavazos and Gavino Morin; it's published by MIT press, ISBN 0-262-53123-2. It covers obscenity in some detail, includes the relevant federal laws, and talks about some of the things you should look out for. I met Ed at the "Sysops and Legal Liability" conference in Austin Texas last Saturday; he impresses me as someone who actually understands and keeps up with this stuff. ------------------------------ Date: Sat, 17 Dec 1994 13:47:41 -0800 From: dbatterson@ATTMAIL.COM(David Batterson) Subject: File 2--'puter Biz Woes Downsizing, Gen-Xing and Greed are Hurting the Computer Industry Copyright 1994 by David Batterson CEOs and members of the boards of major computer firms (hardware, software, peripherals and online services) point proudly how they have streamlined operations, cut costs by laying off staff and/or hiring new people at lower salaries (such as in public relations/marketing), and greatly increased corporate profits in the process. Great job, right? Well, not necessarily. This insatiable quest to get the maximum amount of productivity along with the minimum expenditure for staffing/training can result in BIG problems. Meanwhile, the gigantic greed of the 90s exceeds that of Ivan Boesky, Michael Milkin, etc. of the now infamous 80s. "Greed is good" is still the slogan of today. ITEM - Intel's Problem Intel's debacle over the seemingly minor Pentium chip flaw is a prime example of where a company can be penny wise, and pound foolish. By not only refusing to immediately fix the problem with the Pentium but to attempt a cover-up of the problem, Intel saw its stock price take a slide South, and its quality-control credibility eroded. Intel CEO Andrew Grove was quoted as saying that the company had a "PR problem" on its hands. No kidding, dude. I guess that's why he gets paid the big bucks: he can state the obvious--after the fact. While CEOs love to bask in the glory of success, when there's a problem situation, they immediately look for someone to point the blame at. Guess what, Mr. Grove? As CEO, you are not only ultimately responsible for the quality of your product, but also for your company's public relations policy. If there is a problem at Intel, it is with Andy Grove. As Harry Truman used to love to say: "the buck stops here." Of course, it's also a popular ploy to blame the messenger. ["If those @)_&*()$ computer & business writers/TV commentators would just play nice."] After all, Intel spends millions advertising with those publications and TV networks. Well, those same media people helped propel the Pentium to the top of the CPU charts. You loved us then, Andy. Why the change of heart? Lost too much value in your stock holdings lately? Worried that you may soon be out of the top job at Intel? You probably will. ITEM - Annoying Research Via Phone A major computer industry market research firm in Oregon [you can figure out which one] refuses to catch up with the changing world of communication. Since they have ALWAYS done it that way, they continue to conduct most of their market surveys by phone. So what's wrong with that? What's wrong is that MOST industry pros simply do NOT want to be bothered with phone surveys; in fact, many firms have a strict policy that says their employees cannot participate. And why should they? It's a win-lose situation. Such market research firms get big bucks from their clients, while those who do agree to participate usually get nothing for their efforts except a "thank you." Top engineers, programmers, executives, etc. are paid high salaries, and cannot spend their time providing free input for surveys that do not benefit them at all. Thousands of people get annoyed at continuing calls from these market research leeches, but it doesn't stop the barrage of phone abuse. While many computer industry people ask the market research firms to instead fax, mail or e-mail the survey, few of them will do so. Occasionally some will do a survey on disk, which is mailed back after completion of the survey. That's a step in the right direction. But an e-mailed (or online) survey would be the best way to go. PRODIGY already has online opinion polls, with instant results available for viewing, so it could be done easily enough. Online market research is unintrusive, is digital in nature [no inputing by data collectors is required], and surveys can be done according to the respondent's time schedule, NOT the market research firm's. This major market research firm has its head stuck in the sand, as do many other ones. ITEM - Poor Product PR A major printer manufacturer has a PR contact who is lax about returning calls from computer writers. Too busy to return a call from a person who will give the company FREE publicity in a magazine or newspaper? That's unprofessional and simply inexcusable behavior. The company retains a very professional PR firm that is--of course- powerless to make the company more responsive. The company PR person finally calls back (after complaints to the PR firm) and promises a review unit. The review unit not only doesn't ship, but the PR person doesn't even make an effort to notify the computer reviewer that the printer is unavailable. [He has to find out the bad news by calling the shipping dept.] Perhaps the company saved $$$ by hiring this person on the cheap. Was it a wise expenditure of money?--absolutely not! Excellent PR people (like quality lawyers, doctors, accounts and journalists) do not come cheap--nor should they. The company probably spends more on executive frills each year than they spend on this PR/marketing person. Dumb policy. ITEM - Younger Isn't Better Companies throughout the computer industry have downsized, and somehow think that hiring "Gen-X" individuals is a better way to go. Employees 40 and over are being relegated to the elephant boneyard, when they are just starting to reach their prime years of productivity and success. Yes, but the twentysomething crowd works much cheaper, they say. First of all, many older Americans WILL work for those same lowered salaries, as good jobs are still elusive for many in spite of the recession being over (yeah, right). Older workers tend to be more loyal, have a better work ethic, have fewer absences, and can learn new skills generally just as well as younger workers. [This 51-year-old, bright (unemployed) writer is more computer-literate than the vast majority of Americans.] While the GOP yearns to return to the days of (failed) Reaganomics, the computer merchants of greed better take a hard look at the rampant age discrimination going on at thousands of companies across the U.S. This is a reprehensible business practice, and hopefully a multi-billion-dollar class action suit by a powerful group like AARP will make corporate American sit up and take notice. Age discrimination in American must stop now! ITEM - Microsoft Plays Hardball Microsoft (and its greedmonger Bill Gates) feels they have to not only dominate the worldwide software industry, but also multimedia, online banking, and who knows what next. Perhaps the US. Justice Dept. will stop Microsoft's acquisition of Intuit [it should if Janet Reno has any integrity left], but I will be surprised if it does so. Unfortunately, the new Right is on a roll these days, and they somehow have the impression that Gates is a benevolent prince (rather than a King Midas). The recent revelation about a bug in the Windows 3.1 Calculator module is no surprise. Windows has been buggy from its first incarnation, as has been most of Microsoft's software over the years. [Remember MS-DOS 5.0?] Microsoft simply doesn't care. Their philosophy is to get their products out the door "as is" and rake in the dough. Any problems can be fixed later. Increasing revenue at a torrid pace is the prime motivation at MS, not overall customer satisfaction. That's great for profits; but it's NOT great for the computer industry as a whole. ITEM - Flawed Industry Leaders Hayes was the high flyer in modem production. Remember, all modems came to be known as "Hayes-compatible." Now the company has declared bankruptcy (Chapter 11) due to cash flow problems and inability to fill their orders. Like so many who become rich and famous in this crazy computer biz, Dennis Hayes got a little too big for his britches, and thought he could do no wrong. Likewise with Phillipe Kahn, CEO of Borland. Kahn overpaid to acquire competitor Ashton-Tate, and has never recovered. He thought he could match Lotus, but it was not to be. He's another person done in by an inflated ego, surrounding himself with "yes" people, too much money and corporate arrogance. Yes, Monsieur Kahn, you CAN be wrong. Surprise, surprise. John Sculley appeared on TV, predicting Apple's Newton would be a smash. Sculley obviously knew it was a dog that should not should have gone to market, but he chose to put one over on the American public. They didn't buy the pitch this time, and Sculley was forced out. 1995 Computer Industry Plans The 'puter biz CEOs might start thinking about how they are going to change their ways in '95 and beyond. Considering short-term profits ONLY is not the best way to go. Getting rid of age 40+ workers is not a good plan. A company policy of selling buggy software just sucks. Promoting unqualified, unprofessional administrative people to key marketing and public relations positions is downright stupid, and not cost-effective. Hiring customer service/tech support people at "chump change" wages is not a useful business practice either. If you want to get and keep good customers, pay these employees better, train them and treat them well. Let them share in the fruits of success, empower them with decision-making and (most of all) LISTEN to their ideas. Some of the best ideas in companies flow up from the bottom, not vice versa. ### The writer contributes freelance articles to WIRED, CONNECT, Portland Computer Bits, Bay Area Reporter (S.F) and other publications. Comments are welcome via: dbatterson@attmail.com. These are the opinions of this person only, and I'm proud to put my real name on them. If you don't like what I say, too bad. I feel I have succeeded if I touch a nerve. ;-) ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 8 Dec 1994 07:41:52 -0500 (EST) From: anonymous Subject: File 3--"Terror on the Internet" (excerpt) The lead of a story in this week's TIME. Available on America Online today and www.timeinc.com tomorrow. Also at a newsstand near you. TERROR ON THE INTERNET A pair of electronic mail bombings underscores the fragility of the world's largest computer network BY PHILIP ELMER-DEWITT Thanksgiving weekend was quiet in the Long Island, New York, home of Michelle Slatalla and Josh Quittner. Too quiet. The phone didn't ring all weekend -- which is unusual for a pair of working journalists. Nor did they hear the familiar beep of electronic mail arriving from the Internet, although Quittner tried several times to log on. It wasn't until their tenant complained about a strange message on their answering machine that the couple investigated and discovered all was not well in their electronic cocoon. "We'd been hacked," says Quittner, who writes about computers -- and hackers -- for the newspaper Newsday, and will start writing for TIME in January. Not only had someone jammed his Internet mailbox with thousands of unwanted pieces of E-mail, finally shutting down his Internet access altogether, but the couple's telephone had been reprogrammed to forward incoming calls to an out-of-state number, where friends and relatives heard a recorded greeting laced with obscenities. "What's really strange," says Quittner, "is that nobody who phoned -- including my editor and my mother -- thought anything of it. They just left their messages and hung up." It gets stranger. In order to send Quittner that mail bomb -- the electronic equivalent of dumping a truckload of garbage on a neighbor's front lawn -- someone, operating by remote control, had broken into computers at IBM, Sprint and a small Internet service provider called the Pipeline, seized command of the machines at the supervisory -- or "root" -- level, and installed a program that fired off E-mail messages every few seconds. Adding intrigue to insult, the message turned out to be a manifesto that railed against "capitalist pig" corporations and accused those companies of turning the Internet into an "overflowing cesspool of greed." It was signed by something called the Internet Liberation Front, and it ended like this: "Just a friendly warning corporate America; we have already stolen your proprietary source code. We have already pillaged your million dollar research data. And if you would like to avoid financial ruin, get the ((expletive deleted)) out of Dodge. Happy Thanksgiving Day turkeys." ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 15 Dec 1994 16:59:18 -0500 From: eye@INTERLOG.COM(eye WEEKLY) Subject: File 4--Canadian Pol (Mike Harris) Roasted for Net-related Stunt ((MODERATORS' NOTE: Due to end-of-year space constraints, we deleted the actual posts in question, but they are available from eyeW's gopher site. In fact. All eyeW's are available there, and we encourage readers to check them out. We're aware of no other E-periodical like it. It's a highly impressive collection of North American art news, Net-commentary, and tidbits of international interest)). The following is of interest in that it involves both the use of anonymous mailers and the fact that governments are coming online in a more personal sense. For non-Canadians, I remind you that Ontario has an economy equivalent in size to California (i.e., big). As the ruling powers merge with the net.community, there are bound to be lots of incidents like the following. I think we were lucky in this instance that some rather net.savvy individuals advise Ontario's premier. It won't be the same everywhere. (The actual spoof posts mentioned herein are included after the article itself.) kkc eye ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ eye WEEKLY December 15 1994 Toronto's arts newspaper .....free every Thursday ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ EYE.NET EYE.NET MIKE HARRIS: ROASTED ALIVE Clueless PC leader mercilessly flamed for net-related political stunt by K.K. CAMPBELL On Dec 8, PC [the "Progressive Conservatives" an Ontario opposition party] leader Mike Harris stood in the Legislature and introduced a copy of a post to the newsgroup ont.general -- a public forum where anything of general interest to Ontarians is discussed. The post in question was signed "Bob Rae." [Bob Rae is the premier of Ontario.] It talked about the sexual orientation of [attorney general] Marion Boyd, the [sex killer] Karla Homolka case, and a few other things. Harris wasn't claiming Rae actually wrote it, he was suggesting it was proof of a serious "security violation" in government computer systems. Simultaneously, the PCs issued a press release entitled "Our Premier: Roadkill on the Information Highway." We regularly warn Our Faithful Readers about eyeNET's Rule#1: When strangers approach wielding the "highway metaphor," run. Do not speak with them. Do not make eye contact. Here's yet more proof. Last week, eyeNET predicted many new and entertaining adventures could result from Ontario's premier getting online. We expected the shenanigans would come from anonymous net.weenies and assorted loons, not Mike Harris. ARTIFICIAL BOB It began innocently on Sunday Dec 3, at 1:22:41 a.m. (EST), when an anonymous individual posted a message called "Greetings to People of Ontario's Information Highway" to ont.general . It was faked so the "From:" line said "premier@govonca.gov.on.ca", Rae's office. Ontarians read it. Ontarians ignored it. The general response was best summed up by Toronto's Val Dodge (val@io.org), who wrote: "Am I the only one getting tired of [these spoof posts]? OK, the first couple were funny, but this is getting really tedious." No one thought it was from Rae. No one thought it was from "hackers invading government computers." Netters just looked at the PATH line and could see the post worked its way to Ontario from a California computer. On top of that, in the header it plainly says: "This message is NOT from the person listed in the from line. It is from an automated software remailing service..." Fake posts are part of net.life, but this one wasn't even a "forgery" (a real attempt to pretend to be someone else), it was a "spoof" (an "imitation" no one is expected to believe). A parody. Hardly a "security violation" -- unless Harris thinks all political impersonators represent "security violations." What if terminally dense Americans thought impersonator Dana Carvey really _was_ George Bush? Oh my GAWD! Call the cops! Rae's staff had noticed the fake post. Like the rest of the net.community, they just ignored it. After all, even the stupidest elements of the net community hadn't been fooled... why worry? They didn't account for Mike Harris. Five days later Harris issued his now famous "Roadkill" press release which includes the line "Internet Bob: the hacker is hacked." PC press secretary, Peter Varley, told eye the Conservatives weren't trying to score political points. They sincerely thought this harmless post was a "threat to Ontario's security" -- though Varley couldn't explain why Harris attempted to grandstand. And it's exactly that attempt to make political points from the matter that most angers Ontario netters. Sensationalization and playing on the ignorance of the press (which was as rampant as ever). The PCs swear they never saw the very explicit disclaimer in the fake Rae post because the newsreader of the person who "slipped" them this oh-so-dangerous document edited out most header information. It's plausible -- many newsreaders chop stuff from headers (headers contain info to help direct and organize posts for ease of reading). But ignorance hardly excuses Harris. In our conversation, Varley, trying to save face, actually suggested the simple ability to make a spoof post (and fool Mike Harris, I guess) is still a "security threat." So what are they asking Rae to do about it? Call in the OPP and stormtroop around cyberspace? THE NET STRIKES BACK The net.community's responses in ont.general have been a virtually unanimous condemnation of Harris. Several threads (i.e., discussions) developed, the longest one entitled "MIKE HARRIS IS SLIME." It originated with Brampton's Evan Leibovitch (evan@telly.on.ca), who wrote he didn't blame the "impersonator" because "children will be children", but "the people who fed this item to Harris are absolute assholes... My respect for Harris and the Ontario PCs has just taken a nosedive, and I hope the scum who were behind this realize that they have scored *NO* political points for pulling this stunt." In another thread, Toronto's Jamie Mason (g1jmason@cdf.toronto.edu) wrote: "Anyone who has been on the net for more than about FIVE MINUTES would realize that the message was a forgery. Anyone who has been on the net for more that about TEN minutes wouldn't even take notice of the message." T. Kim Nguyen (kim@algorithmics.com) likened the Harris bluff to "the way he paraded the woman quitting her job to go on welfare last year. His antics of the last few weeks trying to make the NDP look bad have simply succeeded in showing how much of a ridiculous opportunist he is." GENUINE BOB Late Friday afternoon (Dec 9, 5:24 pm), the Premier of Ontario (premier@govonca.gov.on.ca) issued his first real post to ont.general. It was called "Thanks" and read, in its entirety: "Many thanks to those of you who flamed the PC pranksters. I knew when I went online that I would have to deal with fake posts and related chaff. That's the price of being on the Net. I'm not about to delete my account. I still want to hear from people with *real* concerns and *real* suggestions." Signed: "Bob*The Genuine Article*Rae" eye called the premier's office. They confirm it's real. The premier's office made it clear it won't launch any investigation as to where the parody post came from -- and for that it should be applauded. I've talked with many people who don't understand the net and when something they don't like happens they invariably respond: "I'm going to shut the Internet down!" The Rae team is doing it's best to fit into the net.community, not remake it. Varley, on the other hand, says the PCs will actively pursue anyone who "impersonates" Mike Harris online. FRESH ROADKILL! Oh no! Look! Just spotted in ont.general! A breach in PC security!! Alert! Alert! Call the newsmedia! On Dec 10, "Mike Harris" supposedly posted a missive called "Mike Harris Fights Back - Kiss My Ass Rae!" to the net. It reads, in part: "You listen here Rae, my sources informed me that your article was on the level. You sleazy NDP wimps are more than capable of resorting to cheap shots like this, so I thought I'd pin one on your grain-fed ass... DAMN I'm mad!!!" Signed: "Mike Harris, Progressive Consevative (sic) Party of Ontario." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Retransmit freely in cyberspace Author holds standard copyright Issues of eye in archive gopher://interlog.com Coupla Mailing lists available http://www.interlog.com/eye eye@interlog.com "Break the Gutenberg Lock..." 416-971-8421 ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 15 Dec 1994 14:58:16 -0500 (EST) From: Stanton McCandlish Subject: File 5--EFF Office (and BBS) moving! Electronic Frontier Foundation Relocation Underway - New Contact Info! EFF is moving to larger office space. There will be *.eff.org and EFF Outpost BBS downtime during this period. Our servers go down Thursday, Dec. 15, 1994, and will be back online no later than Monday, Dec. 19 (possibly as soon as Saturday, Dec. 17). New contact information: Snail mail: 1667 K St. NW, Suite 801 Washington DC 20006-1605 USA Phone: +1 202 861 7700 Fax: +1 202 861 1258 BBS: +1 202 861 1223, +1 202 861 1224 Email and network server addresses remain the same. EFF is a nonprofit public interest civil liberties organization founded to support freedom of expression and privacy in online communications. For more info, send any message to info@eff.org ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 08:46:52 -0500 (EST) From: Subject: File 6--Electronic Submission: Ranter & Spiegel Interview (satire) Canter & Siegel, those enterprising Americans, have made an impact on the Internet with their ideas about Internet marketing, to say nothing of their innovative advances in English spelling. But their tactics and attitudes are lame compared with a much more dangerous pair I ran across recently. Submitted to "CUD" for publication consideration is the following interview with Larry Ranter of Ranter & Spiegel, the deadly founders of Cyber-Sleaze[tm], the Internet's First Wire Fraud Organization: Mr X, publisher of the satirical E-zine "The Capitalist Cretin Collective," was recently granted an interview by Larry Ranter of Ranter & Spiegel, the intrepid founders of "Cyber-Sleaze[tm], the World's First Internet Wire Fraud Organization." Ranter & Spiegel have recently written a controversial book about marketing on the Internet entitled, "How to Make a Fortune Through Fraud." The book is controversial because its publisher refuses to divulge just how many copies have already been remaindered. Mr. X flew to Phenix City, Alabama, where he was met at the airport by UNIX Eunuch and C Minus-Minus. These are two of Ranter & Spiegel's "geeks," actually a term for people who have agreed to ruin their reputations in exchange for supplying mostly unusable computer code. The interview was held in the top-secret computer underground bunker (CuB) of Cyber-Sleaze, which contained much sophisticated equipment--VIC-20 supercomputers, 512K modems, and several unused dictionaries still in their plastic shrinkwrap. The bunker was kept at a constant temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit because, "I was in a computer center once and it was cold as heck," said C Minus Minus. The bunker, actually a refurbished backyard concrete shelter made during the paranoid Red Threat economy of the 1950's, also contained some Army surplus cots, a few old packages of military C-rations and a notepad on which were written legal terms that Larry Ranter had heard in traffic court and occasionally used in threats to Internet users. Mr X and founder Larry Ranter sat at a formica dining table while co-conspirator Marty Spiegel sat on one of the cots moving his lips as he read newspaper comics. The two geeks quickly moved to work at a JC Penny computer table that held their Cyber-Sleaze Spam-O-Matic[tm] supercomputer setup. From time to time they worriedly looked through a book titled "Simon's Simple Guide to UNIX." Mr. X: Did you really get 500,000 positive responses to your Immigration Card Spam? Larry Ranter: Yes. Mr. X: 500,000 people were interested in your service? Larry Ranter: No, I said we got 500,000 positive responses. 499,950 were complaints. The other 50 were from some people on a boat in the Pacific Ocean who wanted to immigrate Tafter midnight, if possible.' Mr. X: TPositive response' is an oxymoron, isn't it? Because any response--no matter what the content--you considered positive. Larry Ranter: Well, that's true. I'm an English eagle, besides being a legal eagle. Mr. X: How many BBSs were you kicked off of because of your spamming? Larry Ranter: None. Mr. X: None? I count at least seventeen, from USENET stories I've read. All of them for violating written agreements. Larry Ranter: The answer is none. We left each of those BBS's to, er--pursue, er-- better opportunities elsewhere. Mr. X: Like you moved your legal business around? Larry Ranter: Exactly. Ya gotta go where the market takes you. Mr. X: Or state bar associations ... Larry Ranter: What was that? Would you repeat that into this ashtray? Mr. X: Well, isn't it true that you resigned from the bar in New Jersey to avoid perjury charges? Larry Ranter: Hey, what's a little lying between thieves? That's what I asked the bar president. Mr. X: Isn't it also true that you also resigned from the Montana bar? Larry Ranter: Yes, but I had no idea she was fifteen. Besides, the state line wasn't marked. It was a dirt road, and it was two in the morning. Mr. X: How did you get your Internet book published? Surely major editors know something about computers. Larry Ranter: Well I don't know about *that* [laughs]. Maybe they do know, but we created a new computer field: Computer Information Fraud. Mr. X: Computer Fraud? Larry Ranter: No, Computer Information Fraud. There's a difference. Our fraud means, if you can fool someone into thinking you know more about something--the Internet, say--than they do, then you can make gobs of money. Mr. X: So in other words, as long as you know more than your audience, you can influence them in your favor. Larry Ranter: Mostly you influence them to give up their money. That's the real gold at the end of the Information Rainbow. Who cares if some schmo in Louisiana wants to sell his dried flowers? As long as we can fake him out about our ability to sell his product on the Internet-- Mr. X: Then you've committed CIF. Larry Ranter: Please, don't say Tcommitted.' It drives Marty crazy. But whatever-- as long as we can do that, we'll be able to take the money and run. Same with book publishers. Mr. X: And when things heat up, you run to another state or another BBS... Larry Ranter: Exactly. Americans are a mobile people. They understand this. Just last week, a couple of my old legal partners, they got mobile. Moved Tup the river,' if you know what I mean. Mr. X: What if your audience knows more than you about a subject? Larry Ranter: Fortunately, most don't know anything about the Internet. They go to the bookstore because they saw something on TPrime Time.' Prolly they heard there's lots of pornography. People see our book, read the hype on the cover, glom onto the word "controversial," and buy the book. Controversy sells, you know, even better than porn. So does the dream of making easy money. Mr. X: So then what? What if readers act on your information? They spam and they get flamed or billed for sending unsolicited messages. They get in trouble for making inappropriate posts. They lose their accounts. Their system provider sues them. Their business fails. Then what? Larry Ranter: Not our fault. Ask Rush Limbaugh. What people do because of what they read in the book is their problem. We just wrote it. We're not responsible for anything. This ain't some kind of community, you know! There are no rules here. Mr. X: Do you advocate doing anything you mention in the book. Larry Ranter: Are you kidding? Even *we* know the book is full of shit. I mean, look who provided source material for us [points to the geeks, who are busy reading alt.hackers to learn the latest intrusion methods]. Point is, those customers who buy the book are really purchasing the cover. The cover, see? They see the hype and pay up. After that, to hell with Tem, I say. The money's ours and it ain't going back. Mr. X: You could have put a nude model on the cover. It would sell the same. Larry Ranter: Or one of those nifty stereograms. Mr. X: Getting back to your new concept, is your book a manual on Information Fraud? Larry Ranter: No. We don't really know everything about this exciting new field yet. The book is a tale of Computer Information Fraud--our tale. Our personal history. Anthropologists will study it someday. So will MBA students. Mr. X:: And federal judges too? Larry Ranter: Hush your mouth! [laughs] Mr. X: Some of the things in the book are misleading, aren't they? Larry Ranter: Exactly! That's the premise, you Furr--er, fool! Those who don't know about the fraud contained therein ... see, they're at the heart of what we're about! CIF! It's the cyberwave of the future! Mr. X: Have you received death threats because of your net-work? Larry Ranter: Only from members of the New Jersey Bar. At this point, the interview ended when UNIX began shrieking loudly and pointing at his terminal screen. We rushed over in time to see his head explode, though this was not the gory act it might seem since his cranium was completely empty save for a few small pieces of gray matter in the shape of dollar signs. Minus-Minus and I looked at the terminal screen as Larry and Marty set upon the corpse, finishing it off before we had time to analyze what had killed poor UNIX. It was a line inserted into his .cshrc file by an apparent malicious hacker: echo "Can't spell libel, won't read your bible" "Of course I can spell liable," sputtered Larry, blood, RAM chips, paranoia and hack legal phrases falling from his mouth as he spoke. He glared at me. At this point, fearing for my Cyber-life, I fled the bunker and took the next plane to Tokyo, where I convalesced for a month by haunting the electronics shops of Akihabara by day and praying all night at the Asakusa Canon Love-Bar Temple for forgiveness for having visited Ranter & Spiegel, the horrible creators of the newest cyber-curse, Computer Information Fraud. ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1994 22:51:01 CDT From: CuD Moderators Subject: File 7--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 25 Nov 1994) Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are available at no cost electronically. CuD is available as a Usenet newsgroup: comp.society.cu-digest Or, to subscribe, send a one-line message: SUB CUDIGEST your name Send it to LISTSERV@UIUCVMD.BITNET or LISTSERV@VMD.CSO.UIUC.EDU The editors may be contacted by voice (815-753-0303), fax (815-753-6302) or U.S. mail at: Jim Thomas, Department of Sociology, NIU, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA. 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CuD material may be reprinted for non-profit as long as the source is cited. Authors hold a presumptive copyright, and they should be contacted for reprint permission. It is assumed that non-personal mail to the moderators may be reprinted unless otherwise specified. Readers are encouraged to submit reasoned articles relating to computer culture and communication. Articles are preferred to short responses. Please avoid quoting previous posts unless absolutely necessary. DISCLAIMER: The views represented herein do not necessarily represent the views of the moderators. Digest contributors assume all responsibility for ensuring that articles submitted do not violate copyright protections. ------------------------------ End of Computer Underground Digest #6.106 ************************************

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