Computer underground Digest Wed Oct 5, 1994 Volume 6 : Issue 86 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Ji

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Computer underground Digest Wed Oct 5, 1994 Volume 6 : Issue 86 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 Urban Legend Editor: E. Greg Shrdlugold CONTENTS, #6.87 (Wed, Oct 5, 1994) File 1--The Dilemma of Crypto File 2--MCI Worker in Phone-card Ripoff (w/obligatory hacker link) File 3--Judge Rejects FBI Delay File 4--An Invitation to Hear Your Opinion! (Seattle Times) File 5--Outlaws on the Net: Criminal Law in Cyberspace File 6--The Scary Story of Serdar Argic (EYE Reprint) File 7--Cu Digest Header Information (unchanged since 10 Sept 1994) CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN THE CONCLUDING FILE AT THE END OF EACH ISSUE. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- From: weyker@WAM.UMD.EDU Date: Thu, 29 Sep 1994 21:56:09 -0400 Subject: File 1--The Dilemma of Crypto Hi. The following is a little bit dated now (it responds to Bruce Sterling's article on crypto some month's back in Wired magazine's "Infobahn Warrior" issue), since it has been languishing in my account for several months while I waited to see if Wired would run part of it as a letter. They didn't. It's probably worth noting that I wrote David Chaum the leading advocate of Digital Cash and asked for some ideas on how "validating authorities" and other stuctures he mentions in his Scientific American article might be able to deal with some of the concerns I express below. I did this hoping I could revise the article and make it more constructive and less alarmist about crypto's possible realtionship to future white-collar crime. Unfortunately Mr. Chaum never wrote back. Much of this piece is raw speculation and I welcome corrections from people who are better informed about the intricacies of crypto, net.privacy, and computer/financial crime. Shayne Weyker the text of the piece follows: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Clipper: How much privacy can we afford? How much security do we need? by Shayne Weyker Three cheers for Bruce Sterling. Finally someone on the privacy side of the Clipper debate has the courage to admit that Clipper might indeed provide some needed protection against crooks and terrorists. I want to try and do a bit more of what Bruce has done: to try and pin down what the real dangers are both of strong crypto and of bans on strong crypto. To date, the anti-clipper faction has tried to deny the force of the "law enforcement needs wiretaps" argument. They have claimed that wiretaps aren't truly necessary and that law enforcement officers will just have to work a bit harder. This often-repeated argument has a flaw in it that I've heard no one else mention. It doesn't acknowledge the fact that more and more crimes that used to be susceptible to discovery through means other than wiretapping (witnesses, visual or audio surveillance, physical searches) may soon be concealed to all forms of discovery *except* wiretapping and its variants. More and more of our life will take place over the wires, so it is no surprise that more and more crime will take place there as well. FROM PAPER TO DIGITAL VAPOR Criminals who wanted to share things like military secrets, monthly sales reports for drugs or stolen merchandise, and lists of stolen credit card numbers used to have to keep a lot of this stuff on paper. But more and more folks own computers and modems, and software will eventually make using and sharing the computer files even easier than paper. How long will it be before cops long for the days when they could arrest someone and search their premises for incriminating documents and actually expect to find anything that isn't encrypted with RSA or PGP? Cops will be less able to find incriminating paper evidence if crooks are smart enough to keep things on computers and encrypted. And while I think privacy advocates too often tend to make the criminal in their own image, the privacy advocates' argument is that crooks are indeed smart and careful with incriminating data. "IF YOU WANNA ROB A BANK YOU MUST BEWARE, YOU'VE GOTTA USE THE COMPUTER UPSTAIRS" Criminals who want lots of quick cash now often go stick-up a bank. And even if hacking into and diverting money from banks' Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) systems or a company's billing system is more their style, they still have to work at it. The hackers who claimed to have diverted funds from an EFT system gave an involved story about how they went to multiple banks, used phony identities, and altered their appearance and handwriting each time when they opened an account and again when they went back to withdraw their loot over several visits. Somewhere in all those visits they may have slipped up and given a clue as to who really picked up the money. But if those hackers could bypass all this by just transforming other people's bank deposits into their own digital cash with a few keystrokes, all these opportunities to screw up and leave clues behind go away. BACK TO THE FUTURE: TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY GRIFTERS [Con artists' schemes in the 1800s] often presupposed the anonymities of a mobile society. Con men slipped from place to place; geographically speaking; they also milked the fact of social ambiguity. . . . boundaries between classes (of every sort) were more porous than before. It was possible to pass oneself off as a lord, a professor, or a rich investor, which simply could not have been done in a tight, controlled, barnacled society where the markers of class are more obvious, if not indelible. . . . Technology permitted the more obvious forms of emulation [of the upper class]: cheap copies of hats or dresses; mass-produced artifacts and furniture. Lawrence Friedman noted that in 1800s America fraud skyrocketed. Two of the reasons he gives for this have fascinating parallels with the social environment of the net. The first was the anonymity of people in communities with a high turnover in their membership. There was no opportunity to develop a moral track-record on the community's members which people could use when deciding who to trust. The second was the new high-tech mass-produced objects, furniture, and fashionable clothes could be used to let the con artist appear in all ways to be a member of the respected upper class. Does any of this sound familiar? Modern people have adapted to the above circumstances, but the net society with crypto looks like it's going to give us heightened anonymity and entirely new means to simulate respectability which will lead to another whole generation getting being ripped off. Privacy advocates have been saying, with some good reason, how nice the anonymity of the net is. And indeed it is good in some ways that we judge professors, high schoolers, and street people only by their words. It is also empowering for some to be able to use the net to create virtual personas for themselves in communication with other people that will appear to be real. But there's a dark side to this. Yes, anonymity does mean one can escape retribution for whistleblowing and avoid unfair prejudices of others based on one's appearance and surroundings. But anonymity also means one can escape retribution for actions that fully deserve punishment like spamming the net, e-mail bombing, or forging nasty posts in widely-read newsgroups. This can be done by hiding behind chains of anonymous remailers or getting a new account with a new name when too many folks have started to warn others about you. Also, one can create a virtual persona for oneself in e-mail and postings, such as that of a cancer victim, designed to elicit trust and confidence from those of a similar background who may be emotionally vulnerable. This trust is undeserved and subject to abuse, while the eventual discovery of the lie damages the tricked person's (and others') ability to trust people they meet on the net. If this kind of abuse becomes common, the cloud of suspicion hanging over people's communications on the net will hinder the very trust needed to form those kinds of associations of private individuals that Bruce Sterling and others are so fond of. Finally, returning to con artists, there may be increased gullibility on the users' part once teleconferencing becomes common and buying stuff on the net is an everyday practice. Con artists could then use set design and image processing for the video end of the scam and fancy programming to appear established and credible to folks checking out their site on the net. So, the con artist never has to meet the victim in person and anonymity based on encryption makes it nigh-impossible to connect the grifter with the victim's money. REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE For an extreme, if unlikely, case, consider the murderer who remotely reprograms some victim's household robot to electrocute him. No hope of witnesses or physical evidence there. Finding out who made the suspect call to the house to plant the code is the only hope. Sometimes the cops will be lucky and have a suspect who happens to be a programmer, but convicting this person without his being caught with the killer program code or being identified as party to the suspect communication to the victim's house will be tough. THE RUN-DOWN People interacting with others using cryptography-aided telecommunications are currently expected to be able to: - be totally anonymous in cyberspace - create multiple pseudonymous virtual identities for themselves-- each with separate and un-crosscheckable personal associations and finances - secretly conduct financial dealings - secretly exchange valuable commercial or government secrets - secretly exchange socially-disapproved-of (or illegal) information Libertarians and anarchists may think all these things sound great. They may be excited by opportunities for whistleblowing, anonymous political expression, secret political organization for oppressive environments, riskless sharing of erotica and other sometimes-legal data, and so on. But responsible adults should spend equal amounts of time thinking about opportunities for easier planning of terrorism, easier evasion of punishment for abusing innocent people on the net, and very real benefits for con artists, money launderers, embezzlers, tax cheats, and other white-collar crooks. THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN: Remember though, it was said earlier that more and more of human life is going to take place over the wires. Clipper advocates may well say that they're only trying to maintain the same ability to wiretap that the government has had for decades. But if more and more of our lives are there to see in our telephone and data communications, and those communications remain less protected than other forms of communication such as face to face, then our overall privacy is going to be eroded. Bulletin Board Systems aren't as private as the local coffeehouse or bar. 900-number sex lines aren't as private as a visit to a lover. Videoconferences aren't as private as face to face meetings. E-mail and ftp aren't as private as postal mail. The list goes on. This erosion of privacy is rightly thought to be a bad thing in and of itself, and unrestricted crypto looks like the only way to stop it. THE SEEMING ALL-OR-NOTHING DILEMMA OF CRYPTO We seem to have two choices. We can let crypto run free. This probably means more terrorism, some of it with really impressive body-counts. It means lots more white collar crime, and somewhat more distrust on the net. The terrorism and crime may mean that the public hastily agrees to give up other freedoms if they think the government has suddenly become ineffective in protecting them. Or the developed nations can get together and ban crypto and watch most people's privacy quickly disappear. The technology-elite corporations and individuals will still develop their own, and some criminals will pay hackers for secure internal communications. Meanwhile, in the developing world, oppressive governments gain a powerful new weapon. Heavy regulation of crypto will have much the same effect. It's an ugly choice. And I've heard too many people dismiss the folks on the other side as either voyeuristic fascists or paranoid anarchists with a "don't worry, be happy" attitude towards public safety. Both sides are doing public who depend upon the quality of the debate a disservice. The debate should have less fear-mongering about what is goin to happen if "the other side" wins, and more brainstorming about exactly what new technology, new laws, and new behaviors we can develop which will protect us against the very real dangers of a world with too much or too little crypto in the public's hands. ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 5 Oct 1994 17:33:21 CDT From: Anonymous Subject: File 2--MCI Worker in Phone-card Ripoff (w/obligatory hacker link) Source: Chicago Tribune, Oct 4, 1994, p. 4 (AP Wire story): MCI WORKER IS CHARGED IN HUGE PHONE-CARD THEFT An MCI employee has been charged with stealing more than 100,000 telephone calling-card numbers that were used to make $50 million in long-distance calls, federal investigators said. Ivey James Lay was a main supplier of the numbers for an international ring operating in Los Angeles, Chicago and other U.S. cities, as well as in Spain and Germany, said the U.S. Secret Service, which investigates interstate telephone fraud. Tens of thousands of customers at MCI, AT&T, Sprint and some local telephone companies were victims, the Secret Service said. Those consumers won't be billed for fraudulent calls on their phone-card numbers, spokesmen for MCI, AT&T and Sprint said. Lay, a switch engineer based in Charlotte, N.C., was known as "Knightshadow" to computer hackers. He devised computer software to divert and hold calling-card numbers from a variety of carriers that ran through MCI's telephone switching equipment, said Secret Service special agent Steven A. Sepulveda. According to MCI officials, the case is the largest of its kind in terms of known losses. The theft was far more sophisticated than past credit-card and calling-card scams, MCI said. In the others, thieves had access to a small number of cards. In this ring, the numbers were purchased by computer hackers in the United States and Europe, who in turn sold them to Europeans who would use them later to call the United States for free, Sepulveda said. ------------------------------ From: email list server Date: Mon, 3 Oct 1994 13:28:35 -0700 Subject: File 3--Judge Rejects FBI Delay Judge Rejects FBI Delay ============================================================= PRESS RELEASE For immediate release October 3, 1994 Contact: Marc Rotenberg, EPIC Director David Sobel, EPIC Legal Counsel 202 544 9240 (tel) JUDGE REJECTS DELAY ON FBI WIRETAP DATA; "STUNNED" BY BUREAU'S REQUEST WASHINGTON, D.C.- A federal judge today denied the FBI's request for a five-year delay in processing documents concerning wiretap legislation now pending in Congress. Saying he was "stunned" by the Bureau's attempt to postpone court proceedings for five years, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Richey ordered the FBI to release the material or to explain its reasons for withholding it by November 4. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a public interest research group based in Washington, DC, filed the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit on August 9, the day legislation was introduced in Congress to authorize the expenditure of $500 million to make the nation's communications systems easier to wiretap. The group is seeking the public release of two surveys cited by FBI Director Louis Freeh in support of the pending legislation. The FBI had moved to stay proceedings in the case until June 1999, more than five years after the filing of the initial request. The Bureau asserted it was confronted with "a backlog of pending FOIA requests awaiting processing." The FBI revealed that there are "an estimated 20 pages to be reviewed" but said that the materials would not be reviewed until "sometime in March 1999." Judge Richey rejected the FBI's claims in sharp language from the bench. He told the government's attorney to "call Director Freeh and tell him I said this matter can be taken care of in an hour and a half." In court papers filed late last week, EPIC charged that the requested materials are far too important to be kept secret. "The requested surveys were part of the FBI's long-standing campaign to gain passage of unprecedented legislation requiring the nation's telecommunications carriers to redesign their telephone networks to more easily facilitate court-ordered wiretapping," said the EPIC brief. Earlier documents obtained through the FOIA in similar litigation with the FBI revealed no technical obstacles to the exercise of court-authorized wire surveillance. The FBI is pushing for quick enactment of the wiretap legislation in the closing days of the 103rd Congress. A grassroots campaign to oppose the measure is being coordinated by EPIC and Voters Telecomm Watch. The Electronic Privacy Information Center is a project of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, a membership organization based in Palo Alto, California, and the Fund for Constitutional Government, a Washington-based foundation dedicated to the protection of Constitutional freedoms. 202 544 9240 (tel), 202 547 5482 (fax), (e-mail). ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 26 Sep 1994 08:00:02 -0700 (PDT) From: 2020 World Subject: File 4--An Invitation to Hear Your Opinion! (Seattle Times) The year 2020, what will it be like? By then, the big version of what we call the info-highway will have been with us for some time. Society will have undergone major adjustments, earthquake-sized shifts. Today's journalism about the info-highway misses the point. What difference does it make if it's coax or fiber, PC or set-top box, TCI or AT&T. What matters is how it will change our world. Our world will change dramatically. How? Where? What? Today, if you are curious about this stuff, you have two choices; read the Time magazine-type "general interest" feature written by someone who hasn't got a clue, or read the Wired magazine-type "top ten" Industry-leaders/ futurists (you know who they are!) lecture us on their particular vested interest. Either way, the real changes are not being discussed. Let's change that. I want to invite you to participate in a global group exploration of life in the year 2020. Let me introduce myself and then explain. My name is Kurt Dahl and I am currently the Vice President of Information Technology at The Seattle Times (Seattle's major metro newspaper). I am writing a new weekly column that will be published in the Sunday Seattle Times Personal Technology section. The column is called 2020world. The idea of 2020world is to explore how our lives will change when the information highway is a familiar and integral part of our society. The column will *NOT* be about technology, that's why I picked the year 2020, by then we can all agree that a broadband, fully switched, ubiquitous network will have been in place for many years. How that network will change our lives, not how it will work, is the question 2020world will address. So now you are thinking -- I really don't need to read more simple-minded drivel about the information highway. I agree, you don't, and won't. 2020world will explore ideas that are far outside the typical, boring discussions of home-shopping and video-on-demand. Yet it will be written for the general reader. Let me show you how. I have included the first column from September 25th, as an example. Please read it, then you will get the idea. Here is where you come in, and this is the most impo~ To join in, simply reply (as shown below) and you will automatically be enrolled as a subscriber to our mailing list. Each week the new 2020world column will be e-mailed to you as well as the best and most exciting comments and responses. If you want to respond, simply send an e-mail to our address (also included below). Any questions, send me an e-mail or call. But first, read the inaugural column! Here goes... Copyright 1994 Seattle Times Company 2020world column title: Emily is illiterate The information superhighway -- aren't you tired of reading about it? And it doesn't even exist! But it will. And after it's built, we will live in a very different world. How different and in what ways? What you have read in the press so far is a lot of trivial chatter about "home shopping" and movies-on-demand" combined with boring technical details. These stories just don't come close to capturing the profound changes we will experience. To better understand where we are going we need a new approach, fresh ideas. That's what this column will try to do. Let's discover this new world together. Let's use one of the most intriguing new capabilities of the information superhighway: the concept of group-mind. Here's how: I'll start with an original, sometimes outrageous, thought about life in the year 2020, and you send me your reaction to that idea. I'll organize the most thoughtful, expansive and mind-stretching responses, and we will print them. Your thoughts and questions can lead us in new directions. Over time we will follow these "group-mind" wanderings whichever way they go. If we succeed, 2020world will be as much your space as mine. It's the year 2020, your daughter Emily is 9 years old, and she can't read or write. Is this your worst nightmare about our schools come true? Nope, Emily just doesn't need to read or write anymore. The written word is a means to an end and not an end in itself. We use it to communicate with large groups and to preserve ideas, but we prefer the spoken word. In 2020world, with the ability to create, store and send audio and video as easily as written words, why would we need to read and write? Look inside your own head. Do you store information as written words? Do you dream in written words? No, you don't. Visual images and spoken languages are our natural form of information. Writing is nothing more than a technology. It can be replaced by something better. In fact, some forms of the written word are being replaced right now, like shorthand. Can you think of other dead technologies? I'll bet you are now in the "but what about..." stage: But what about education? Video can do anything books can do; well-produced video can do many things better. Which is the better way to learn about the Civil War -- reading a text for 10 hours or watching 10 hours of Ken Burns' PBS production on the Civil War? But what about the law? Don't we need the precision implied by written rules? Perhaps, but wouldn't videos of the original trials, legislative debates, rulings and precedents be a better guide to future generations than law books? Send me your own "but what abouts." But make sure to include your thoughts about how the 2020world would deal with those situations, too. Does Emily really need to read and write in 2020world? I don't think so. Do you? ************************************************************** * * * Kurt Dahl is vice president of information technology at * * The Seattle Times. The views he expresses here are not * * necessarily those of The Seattle Times Company. * * * ************************************************************** SUBSCRIPTION INSTRUCTIONS: 2020world is currently an unmoderated list, however, there are plans to implement the DIGEST option. All mail sent to this list will be sent to all other subscribers. To subscribe, mail to: and, include in body of text: subscribe 2020world If you choose not to subscribe, but would like to e-mail me directly with your comments, my address is: or, call me at: 206-464-3339 or, FAX me at: 206-382-8898 Thanks for taking the time to read this loonnggg e-mail. Please join in and help us understand the real nature of our world after the information highway is built. Send your subscription e-mail right now! I'm looking forward to adding your thoughts to our discussion. One last request, please forward this invitation to those who you think would be interested. Thanks! Kurt Dahl ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 4 Oct 1994 15:44:33 -0500 From: Stephen Smith Subject: File 5--Outlaws on the Net: Criminal Law in Cyberspace District of Columbia Bar Association The New Technology Committee of the Computer Law Section, and the Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section, invite you to a Panel Discussion entitled: CRIMINAL LAW IN CYBERSPACE: OUTLAWS ON THE NET Speakers: Scott Charney, Chief, Computer Crimes Unit of the U.S. Department of Justice Mike Godwin, Counsel to the Electronic Frontier Foundation Mark D. Rasch, Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn Moderator: Andrew Grosso, Co-Chair, New Technology Committee Whenever a new technology becomes prevalent, the law enters a period of struggle during which it tries to find adequate means for resolving disputes involving that technology, and for protecting the rights of people affected by it. We are now in such a period for the Internet and the developing National Information Infrastructure (NII). Of all legal fields, the struggle concerning the criminal law is the most pronounced, since old statutes must be narrowly construed to protect civil liberties, while used in a creative fashion in order to deter malevolent acts which have never seen before. This program focuses on computer network crime having national and international ramifications, including several recent investigations and prosecutions. This panel brings together noted experts in the field of civil liberties and computer crime to discusses the issues presented by the latest developments in this area. Scott Charney is the Chief of the Computer Crimes Unit of the U. S. Department of Justice, and is actively involved in the formulation of federal policy with regard to computer-related crimes. Mike Godwin is the On Line Legal Counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation who is a respected defender of civil liberties for telecommunications users. Mark D. Rasch is prominent defense attorney who, while an attorney with the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice, prosecuted the "Internet Worm" case in 1989. Andrew Grosso, the panel moderator, is a Co-Chair of the New Technology Committee and a former federal prosecutor. Written materials by the panelists will be distributed. Date: Thursday, October 27, 1994 Time: 12:00 Noon Place: D.C. Bar Headquarters 1250 H Street, N.W. Cost: Box Lunch: $25.00 for Section members and students; $30.00 for Non-Members. Program Only: $19.00 for Section Members and students; $24.00 for Non-Members. ____________________________________________________________ REGISTRATION FORM ____________________________________________________________ Mail to: Computer Law Section D.C. Bar, 1250 H Street, N.W. 6th Floor Washington, D.C. 20005-3908 Please reserve ____________ spaces(s) for me at the October 27 program. Enclosed is my check for __________ made payable to the DC Bar. Checks must be received by October 25. Sorry, phone reservations cannot be accepted. Name(s) Phone(s) Bar No(s). Bar Member? _____________ ____________ ___________ Yes/No _____________ ____________ ___________ Yes/No _____________ ____________ ___________ Yes/No Please notify the Sections Office (202-626-3463) if you require any special dietary or physical accommodations. ------------------------------ Date: Fri, 2 Sep 1994 11:08:07 -0400 (EDT) From: eye WEEKLY Subject: File 6--The Scary Story of Serdar Argic (EYE Reprint) ((MODERATORS' NOTE: We're periodically asked what we know about Serdar Argic. All we know is what we read on the Nets and....from EYE Magazine, a first-rate arts/culture 'Zine out of Toronto. Argic is considered by some to be a finalist for the all-time NetKook award. Here's why.)) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ eye WEEKLY July 28 1994 Toronto's arts newspaper every Thursday ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ EYE NET EYE NET HOWLING IN THE WIRES -- A net.poltergeist horror story by ARMENIAN CRIMINAL/CROOK/WACKO K.K. CAMPBELL Huddle round the fire, little netters ... lend yer ear to hear The Scariest Net.Story Ever Told. 'Tis a tale of a creature so hideous, so awe-inspiring, so inhuman, so incomprehensible, that none that behold it dare sleep without altering their .newsrc again. We speak of none other than "Serdar Argic." The Serdar-thing manifested outta nowhere, terrorized Usenet News for two blood-curdling years ... then, just as mysteriously, disappeared without trace. So wide was the spectre's swath that nary a Usenetter hasn't stumbled into a newsgroup only to be confronted by this wild-eyed banshee gnawing at the cables. The Argic.poltergeist posted endlessly, reams and reams of repeat-info to irrelevant newsgroups, so insatiable was its bloodlust. The entity's purpose? Whitewash Turk genocide against Armenians in WWI. The entity's tactics? Snark School of Demagoguery: Whatever I say three times is true -- so if I say it 37 million times, it must really really be true. And the Argic-entity did just that -- April 29 last, Usenet stats indicated "Serdar Argic" had, over two weeks, posted 935 articles (66 a day) comprising over 7,100 kbytes of Armenian-hatred. A full .5 per cent of Planet Earth's Usenet posts. SMELLS LIKE SERDAR SPIRIT So, who or what is "Serdar Argic"? No one is completely sure. But the net.poltergeist has many avid hunters. You think swapping "banned" Homolka info is fun, kids? You ain't seen nothing yet. Argicology is a Usenet passion without compare. Veteran Argicologist Warren Burstein is certain "Serdar Argic" was, originally, Hasan B. Mutlu, an AT&T employee. Burstein brought forth several rare specimens of Mutlu's early-'90s Usenet posts. Indeed, they're stylistically identical to Argic.chain.rattling -- schoolyard taunts like "Hey gum brain"; the famous phrase "Armenian terrorist from the ASALA/SDPA/ARF Terrorism Triangle"; and the clever segue, "In any event, let me get back to the real issue at hand," namely, denying the Turk slaughter of Armenians. Mutlu disappeared from Usenet after someone scanned a picture of him from an AT&T technical digest, and uploaded it to the net. Its caption reads: "Hasan B. Mutlu, a member of the technical staff in the Computing Technology Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Napervile, Ill." After this, the Serdar spectre arose through a Minnesota-based Internet site run by an Ahmet Cosar. (Type "whois" at shell prompt for info.) Some suggest Cosar is Serdar Argic. To back the Cosar-is-Argic theory, Argicologists point to a March 22, 1994, post where Cosar (probably by mistake) uses the Argic account to post a personal reply. He signs it "Ahmet Cosar." Others think the Argic-entity is a "bot" -- an "artificial intelligence" that greps (searches) select newsgroups for buzzwords (like "Turkey" or "Greece") and responds. (Many contend the U.S. National Security Agency has done this for years with phone lines, listening for its own obsessive buzzwords.) The latter would explain some truly bizarre Argic-entity replies. For instance: Ken Arromdee ( signed all his posts with the line: "On the first day after Christmas my truelove served to me ... Leftover Turkey!" Deliberate bot-bait. Sure enough, the Argic-entity once responded to this with data on evil Armenians, drawn by the word "turkey" but unable to understand the difference between country and bird. NOW YOU SEE HIM ... And, just as suddenly, it was gone. Usenet is still stunned. There are several rumors: the spook was recalled by secret Turkish government handlers, propaganda campaign terminated (Turkey still officially denies the Armenian holocaust). Or it was finally exorcised by UUNet for extreme breach of user agreement. Or Cosar left the University of Minnesota (voluntarily or otherwise), thus losing access to the paper's computer. " was a student machine for a student newspaper -- Cosar lost access because he was so busy being Argic he didn't have time to be a computer science student," contends battle-hardened Argicologist Joel Furr ( Furr is creator of the newsgroup (with a little help from Canada's prodigal son, Bruce Becker). "Is the baton just being passed?" Furr asks in a phone interview. "Is it an organization, where they decide who is going to be the robo- poster for the year? Mutlu started it and recruited, by my theory." So what will be the next manifestation of the net.wraith? Burstein, currently in Israel (, told eye he thinks the current low-volume Armenian-haters now in soc.culture.turkish are just Argic-groupies. "Joel thinks these folks are aliases for whoever was behind Mutlu and Argic. I'm not sure, as they aren't at all abusive, unlike the real thing -- and they do answer email." THAT CERTAIN SERDAR STYLE Furr has created a popular net.collectible: Serdar Argic T-shirts! We kid you not. He's sold 136, from Osaka, Japan, to Lund, Sweden. It's a break-even project, not for profit. Write Furr for info: the shirts are about $15 in U.S. funds. Furr says his next T-shirt subject will honor two-bit, suck-my-left-nut lawyers Canter and Siegel -- net.spammers (they posted an ad in 5,000-plus newsgroups) extraordinaire. Serdar shirt art, designed by Furr, Paul Vail and Peter Vorobieff, can be downloaded from eye's gopher site "" in the /misc/Argicology directory. You can also find the Argic FAQ (frequently asked questions) file, written by Burstein, in the same directory, along with the scanned picture of Mutlu. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Retransmit freely in cyberspace Author holds standard copyright Full issue of eye available in archive ==> or "Break the Gutenberg Lock..." 416-971-8421 ------------------------------ ------------------------------ Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1994 22:51:01 CDT From: CuD Moderators Subject: File 7--Cu Digest Header Information (unchanged since 10 Sept 1994) Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are available at no cost electronically. 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