Computer underground Digest Wed Jan 3, 1996 Volume 7 : Issue 01 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Ji

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Computer underground Digest Wed Jan 3, 1996 Volume 7 : Issue 01 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@MVS.CSO.NIU.EDU Archivist: Brendan Kehoe Shadow Master: Stanton McCandlish Field Agent Extraordinaire: David Smith Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala Ian Dickinson Cu Digest Homepage: CONTENTS, #8.01 (Wed, Jan 3, 1996) File 1--REMINDER - CuD is Changing Servers - RESUBS ARE NECESSARY File 2-- The CI$ press release File 3-- List of CIS banned newsgroups File 4--Compuserve: Adam Dershowitz on Censorship File 5--Compuserve: Brad Templeton on ClariNet censorship File 6--WP: Germany Pulls the Shade On CompuServe, Internet File 7--Fwd: ALERT: Password Security File 8--Reuters: Telecom Bill Nixed Until Budget Fixed File 9--(fwd) Postcard to Briberspace (fwd) File 10--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 16 Dec, 1995) CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN THE CONCLUDING FILE AT THE END OF EACH ISSUE. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sun, 16 Dec, 1995 16:19:32 CST From: CuD Moderators Subject: File 1--REMINDER - CuD is Changing Servers - RESUBS ARE NECESSARY *** CuD IS CHANGING SERVERS *** RE-SUB NOW In about mid-January, Cu Digest will be moving to a new server at We're following the strong consensus of readers and requiring that, to continue to receive CuD after mid-January, you must RE-SUBSCRIBE. Although the move will not take place for a few weeks, you can enter your subscribtion before then, so WE STRONGLY URGE YOU TO SUB NOW. Re-subbing is easy. Just send a message with this in the "Subject:" line SUBSCRIBE CU-DIGEST send it to: Issues will still be sent out from the older server for a few weeks, so the strategy is to collect the resubs first, and then make the transition. If you prefer to access CuD from Usenet, use If you prefer archives, you can use the ftp/www site at (or or the CuD archives at: We also hope to have a mail archive set up soon as well. You can still contact the moderators at: or Please *DO NOT* send inquiries to the server at UIUC. Jim and Gordon ------------------------------ Date: Sat, 30 Dec 1995 09:58:30 -0600 From: Stephen Smith Subject: File 2-- The CI$ press release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: William Giles Russ Robinson CompuServe Incorporated CompuServe Incorporated 614/ 538-4388 614/ 538-4274 COMPUSERVE(R) SUSPENDS ACCESS TO SPECIFIC INTERNET NEWSGROUPS COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 28, 1995 -- During the past week, CompuServe Incorporated temporarily suspended access to more than 200 Internet newsgroups in response to a direct mandate from the prosecutor s office in Germany. Each of the newsgroups that was suspended was specifically identified to CompuServe by the German authorities as illegal under German criminal law. CompuServe did not select any groups or determine the nature of the newsgroups that have been impacted by this action. German government officials, as part of an investigation of illegal material on the Internet, ordered CompuServe to do what was necessary with respect to specified newsgroups in order to comply with German law. German authorities are investigating newsgroups and other Internet content that may contain child pornography, other pornographic material illegal for adults, as well as content that although not illegal for adults is of such an explicit nature that it is illegal for minors. While access has been suspended, CompuServe continues to work with German authorities to resolve this matter. CompuServe cannot alter the content on the Internet in any way and has only suspended access to the disputed newsgroups through CIS. The issues being investigated in Germany, like those being addressed across the industry, need to remain focused on the individuals and groups placing content on the Internet. CompuServe, as an access provider, is not responsible for the origination or nature of content on the Internet over which it has no creative or editorial control. The global market is vital to CompuServe. We currently have 500,000 members in Western Europe and anticipate doubling that number in the next year. As the leading global service, CompuServe must comply with the laws of the many countries in which we operate. However, laws in different countries are often in conflict, and this creates new challenges unique to the emerging online industry. CompuServe is investigating ways in which we can restrict user access to selected newsgroups by geographical location. ------------------------------ Date: Sat, 30 Dec 1995 10:04:16 -0600 From: Stephen Smith Subject: File 3-- List of CIS banned newsgroups I must admit that I am not familiar with _all_ of these newsgroups, but this is reported to be an accurate list of the groups blocked by CompuServe at the request of the Bavarian prosecutors. ---------- Forwarded message ---------- alt.binaries.erotic.senior-citizens alt.binaries.multimedia.erotica alt.binaries.sounds.erotica alt.homosexual alt.motss.bisexua-l alt.recovery.addiction.sexual alt.recovery.sexual-addiction alt.religion.sexuality alt.stories.erotic es.alt.sexo fido7.russian-sex gay-net.behinderte gay-net.btx-ecke gay-net.coming-out gay-net.dfue gay-net.erotic-stories gay-net.gruppen.general gay-net.haushalt gay-net.kontakte gay-net.labern gay-net.lederecke gay-net.spiele gay-net.test rec.arts.erotica shamash.gayjews ucb.erotica.sensual ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 31 Dec 1995 01:36:22 -0500 (EST) From: "Declan B. McCullagh" Subject: File 4--Compuserve: Adam Dershowitz on Censorship ---------- Forwarded message begins here ---------- From--Adam Dershowitz Subject--Stop the Censorship! Date--30 Dec 1995 23:51:35 GMT Feel free to distribute or post the following letter where ever you see fit: Germany is setting the standards of free speech for the entire world, and Compuserve is going along. This is the first major case of censorship on the internet, and it is important that it is also the last. The eyes of every internet provider, of the US Congress and other governments are on this case to see how it develops. German prosecutors threatened Compuserve for allowing access to Usenet groups that they deemed to be unacceptable. Compuserve responded by censoring it's users over the whole world, by banning these newsgroups. If Germany tried to threaten a US phone company for allowing people to use dirty words on an international phone call the phone company would refuse to comply. Compuserve, given this same choice, chose to censor. They have chosen to take responsibility for the content of everything that crosses through their system, and to reject some of it. One way to prevent such things from happening again is to make sure that this censorship is not in the economic best interest of Compuserve, and Germany. If they want to interfere with First Amendment rights, then we should exercise our First Amendment rights to not communicate with them. A boycott can be a very effective tool, that can work even if you are not a Compuserve user. They have made a decision about community standards for the world, if you agree that they do not have that right, then do not accept their standards. If you are a Compuserve subscriber then cancel your account. Germany and Compuserve have chosen to selectively cut themselves off from the rest of the internet community, let's make it a complete separation. Do not send any E-mail to Compuserve or Germany. Do not reply to any newsgroup posts, and do not access any of their web pages. If you receive E-mail, then simply ignore it, send a copy of this letter, or your own explanation that you will no longer use a system that censors. If both Germany and Compuserve can be made into the pariahs of the internet world then perhaps others will get the message that censorship of the 'net is not acceptable and will only succeed in destroying the 'net. The World Wide Web should allow the exchange of any ideas around the world. It should not be limited to the minimum acceptable ideas that are allowed in any one of the countries or companies. If the information that is available on the 'net is allowed to be only that which is acceptable to people in Germany, Iran, Iraq, China and the US Congress, then the net will be useless. If any one government, company or entity, large or small, is allowed that much control of expression then the freedom on the internet is lost to everyone. Adam Dershowitz 218 Thorndike St Apt 104 Cambridge MA 02141 ------------------------------ Date: Sat, 30 Dec 1995 23:33:34 -0800 (PST) From: Declan McCullagh Subject: File 5--Compuserve: Brad Templeton on ClariNet censorship >From Dave Farber's IP list. A good example of a sex panic on the part of Compuserve -- banning newsgroups they don't even provide... -Declan // // My opinions are not in any way those of the EFF // ---------- Forwarded message ---------- To--Dave Farber Date--Sat, 30 Dec 1995 15:38:27 -0800 (PST) From--Brad Templeton Alas, we were also pretty shocked to see some ClariNet newsgroups listed in the set that Compuserve announced it was banning from their servers in fear of German censorship laws -- but mostly because Compuserve isn't one of our subscribers, and they don't have any of our groups. We've asked them why they listed them, and not yet heard back, but I think this is actually a very good example of how capricious and dangerous such laws are. They send people into panics, banning anything that looks dangerous, even things they don't even have! If anybody needs a lesson on why laws like the German laws (and the upcoming U.S. decency act) have a chilling effect far beyond even their broad intent, this is it. Had Compuserve carried our electronic newspaper newsgroups, banning these ones would have been silly. Here are the "lurid" headlines from the last few days of, a newsgroup that contains only professional reporting on sex-related issues... Vatican: Sex education not okay Suspended Teacher To Return Australian Govt Porn Committee Calls For Action Beijing seizes one million porn, illegal books Time for the annual best and worst lists China customs crack down on pornography imports CompuServe suspends online sex topics CompuServe bans sex groups, sparking free-speech row The most recent headlines from as you can see are equally non-lurid Failed Robbery Led To Gay Slay Killer To Sell Story Gays In Military Judge Quits Lesbian Wins Job Bias Suit I wonder if the Germans thought this was worth banning or CIS made up the list on their own. Either way, the the idea that anybody might, in fear of such laws or under the orders of such laws, ban legitimate professional (and entirely non-lurid) coverage of issues like these is really scary, and we hope our many legitimate subsribers in Germany don't fall prey to this. While the fact that CIS didn't actually have our material makes this less interesting, a big part of the story is that somebody was driven to remove stuff without even knowing what they were removing. ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 1 Jan 1996 15:25:18 -0500 (EST) From: "Declan B. McCullagh" Subject: File 6--WP: Germany Pulls the Shade On CompuServe, Internet Attached are excerpts from today's article in the Washington Post. Compuserve is weaseling, implying German law forced them to censor not just*, but text-only political discussion groups. And the Christian Coalition is supporting them, of course. "CompuServe must comply with the laws of the many countries in which we operate," said CompuServe spokesman William Giles. "However, laws in different countries are often in conflict, and this creates new challenges unique to the emerging on-line industry." "What CompuServe decided to do is a healthy thing," said Heidi Stirrup, [The Christian Coalition's] director of government relations. "I don't see that the Internet is going to be a lesser place" because access to hard-core sexually explicit material has been reduced. -Declan ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Washington Post January 1, 1996 Cyberporn Debate Goes International Germany Pulls the Shade On CompuServe, Internet By Kara Swisher Washington Post Staff Writer It's often been said that the Internet is a frontier where no one's laws apply. But last week, on one portion of the global computer network, German law took hold. CompuServe Inc., one of the largest on-line service providers in the United States, announced that it would temporarily ban access by all its customers worldwide to some sexually oriented material on the Internet in response to a request from prosecutors in Germany that the material be banned there. For technological reasons, CompuServe cannot block the access of just its 220,000 customers in Germany. "CompuServe must comply with the laws of the many countries in which we operate," said CompuServe spokesman William Giles. "However, laws in different countries are often in conflict, and this creates new challenges unique to the emerging on-line industry." The Christian Coalition, a church organization that has campaigned against pornography on-line, praised the service's move. "What CompuServe decided to do is a healthy thing," said Heidi Stirrup, the coalition's director of government relations. "I don't see that the Internet is going to be a lesser place" because access to hard-core sexually explicit material has been reduced... How far the restrictions will spread remains unclear. Margaret Ryan, a spokeswoman for America Online Inc., the Vienna on-line service that also operates in Germany, said her Virginia-based service had received no request to block the material to its German customers. She would not comment on what the service would do if asked to comply with such a demand. "We are investigating the situation," she said. "But we have no ban." A spokesman for Microsoft Corp.'s Microsoft Network said it had received no request either, but noted that its network had built-in technology that allows parents to control what their children can reach. Both services said that unlike CompuServe, they have the technological means to block just in Germany. That way, U.S. customers' access would not be affected... The German government request is aimed at about 200 of the Internet's 15,000 newsgroups, which are message boards covering topics as diverse as sailing, chess and the jokes of late-night TV show host David Letterman. The ones targeted by Germany in an ongoing investigation are sexually graphic and explicit in nature and include child pornography in a manner that German prosecutors consider illegal under their criminal law. If other countries follow Germany's lead, it could mean that on-line services might have to create a different offering for each country or only offer something to everyone that boils down to the lowest common denominator... Questions of which rules apply have been debated for decades concerning the print and broadcast media. "This is not unexpected, this conflict of laws, because it has gone on for all important emerging mediums," said Tony Rutkowski, executive director of the Internet Society, the Alexandria-based advisory body involved with Internet policy... ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 31 Dec 1995 15:20:24 -0500 From: Subject: File 7--Fwd: ALERT: Password Security Below is the latest news from AOL. Old trick, old news, but people still fall for it, eh? --------------------- Forwarded message: Subj: ALERT: Password Security Date: 95-12-31 07:40:09 EST From: Steve Case To: ZMacGordon Dear Friend of America Online, I want to raise your awareness about an issue that affects us all: the importance of never revealing your password. Recently there have been a few incidents where computer hackers have tried to gain access to passwords by soliciting individuals online. These hackers have increased their level of sophistication so much that they have begun to correspond in a style to make you believe they are representing America Online. Here's an edited excerpt from a recent e-mail attempt: "Dear AOL Community Member: AOL is experiencing major problems...Due to a virus that was recently loaded...onto our main user database, containing most of our member registration information, we are currently experiencing widespread system failure. The problem originated...when our system was illegally breached by a former AOL employee. We believe the employee, who is currently being questioned by authorities, loaded a virus into our database. Because we identified the problem quickly, we were able to stop the problem before the entire database was deleted. The files that were deleted, however, happened to be the database link files...that link a user's password and screen name to the rest of their account. We are currently...working with McAfee Associates (Anti-Virus), to replace the lost files... ...Some of the effects as a result of not having the database link files include: random log-off's, AOLnet runs slower, and Email may accidentally be deleted. These problems are MAJOR inconveniences to our users, so we need your help to fix the problem." The letter continues, outlining the steps you must take to keep your account active, and awarding you free online hours for your troubles. Sending e-mail is just one tactic. Another approach is by using IMs (Instant Messages), where a hacker will notice you are online and try to pass himself off as an employee. Hackers sometimes scan chat areas and the member directory for screen names. Simply put, your passwords are like items in your safety deposit box. They're confidential. YOU are the only person who should know your password. Giving someone (even unintentionally) your password -- especially online -- is like handing over your wallet, keys, and other valuables to complete strangers. There is absolutely no reason why America Online would ever ask you for your password! Be aware: NO EMPLOYEE OR REPRESENTATIVE OF AMERICA ONLINE WILL EVER ASK YOU FOR YOUR PASSWORD, YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER, OR TO VERIFY YOUR BILLING INFORMATION ONLINE. IF THEY DO, BE SUSPICIOUS AND TAKE ACTION--REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY. Here are some quick steps to keep your passwords secure: 1) Immediately change your passwords (at keyword PASSWORD) to at least 6 alphanumeric characters -- combination of letters and numbers -- for all of your sub-accounts. Delete unused sub-accounts. 2) NEVER use your screen name, first or last name, town, street, etc. as a password. Do not use a common word. Add a few digits to a word, or misspell it. Hackers use all kinds of programs that search for common words. 3) Inform spouses, children, and others who have access to your account to take the same safety measures, and to NEVER give out passwords. 4) Report suspicious behavior at keyword STAFFPAGER immediately. Computer hacking on America Online is not widespread. But it's an activity -- and an illegal act -- which hinders our ability to conduct business and ensure a safe online community. AOL will pursue all legal action and law enforcement protection within our right to protect the security of our service. We also rely on our members, partners, remote community leaders, and others with overhead accounts much like a neighborhood watch program -- to help crush hacking, to maintain confidentiality of the simplest personal belonging (your password), and to report activity of this kind to AOL immediately. If you have any questions, please discuss them with your contact at AOL. Thank you, and have a Happy New Year. Regards, Steve Case ------------------------------ Date: Wed, 3 Jan 1996 12:46:00 -0800 (PST) From: Declan McCullagh Subject: File 8--Reuters: Telecom Bill Nixed Until Budget Fixed Earlier this afternoon, Reuters reported that Newt Gingrich says no work will be done on the telecom bill until the budget mess is over: In response to a question about whether the telecommunications bill was on the table in talks with Senate leaders, Gingrich said there will be ''nothing on the telecom bill until we have a budget.'' ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 1 Jan 1996 21:40:57 -0600 (CST) From: David Smith Subject: File 9--(fwd) Postcard to Briberspace (fwd) ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Tom Klemesrud Cyberspace North Hollywood, CA 91601 December 12, 1995 Congressman Howard Berman Briberspace Washington D.C. FROM CYBERSPACE TO BRIBERSPACE "Religion: The last refuge of scoundrels and politicians." -Mark Twain I am taking this opportunity to write you from cyberspace in vehement protest on this day--National Electronic Communications Censorship Protest day. Americans have fought and died for our guaranteed Constitutional rights of freedom of speech, and now this Congress has decided those sacrifices where made in vain--"we'll just wipe those away ... we'll do it for the kids." The implication is--by some perverse notion--that the kids will benefit with all americans' free speech rights stripped away. Someone's gone nuts in briberspace. Congressman, if you were an active Internet user, you would know that Exon and his cronies have mis-characterized the perils of cyberspace. I have yet to find on thing obscene on the Net. If cyberspace can't be free, and parents don't feel inclined to use filtering technology or supervise their children, then the Internet is not for those children--they are most likely lost anyway through parental neglect. The Internet, or government, should not and cannot take the place of parents and teachers. The government cannot censor information content. You may know, we already have laws against pornography and child abuse. You know it, I know it, the American People know it. Don't think you're going to get a extra vote from gutting the Constitution. You saw the front page of yesterday's Los Angeles Times I hope. No politician is going to spin this on into the "fighting pornography" or "preventing Society's collapse." The people are brighter that this and you know it--by the 30% approval rating Congress got two days ago. I asked Senator Exon's office for a couple URL addresses for what was in his blue book, and the address did not exist. Perhaps the Senator's staff put that stuff up? Did you ask him where he got the smut he was shocking everybody with? Perhaps he got his information from Martin Rimm--the one who embarrassed Senator Grassley? There are kids killing each other in the streets of California, and you want to send the BBS Sysop to prison for 2 years for running a BBS that can possibly free people from their hopelessness; because they might see an "indecent" word like "tits" on a computer BBS, or by some fluke of filtering technology, glimpse a picture of a naked woman. I would have hoped you efforts might have been a little less silly, and a little more real-world productive--California kids are killing each other in the streets, joining street gangs, engaged in drive-by shootings, selling and using drugs. But perhaps, during the course of these activities, they are not hearing "indecent" words, or aren't exposed to a picture of a naked woman? The priorities in briberspace are upside-down. I am talking about your support for Senator Exon's Communications Decency Act. There is nothing decent about this act--it is a dark-ages political attempt at depriving your constituents of the freedom of speech rights guaranteed them in the First Amendment of the Constitution. It amazes me how public servants in our secular government--with its separation of church and state--can so easily embrace the extremist political agenda of right wing religion zealots, hell bend on lording-over speech and communications in the country, like the Christian Coalition, and the Church of Scientology. I can only hope you did it for the PAC money, for any other motivations for supporting unconstitutional law that I can think of, is far worse. Thus, I coin the space you work in--the halls of Congress--as "briberspace:" That space where seemingly corrupt politicians snidely ignore the people they are supposed to represent, and meet in smoke-filed back rooms with the scoundrel political action committees, taking bribes in return for their powerful vote. Make no mistake: this IS the general scorn for Congress most Americans feel. In a recent poll only 30% of the public gave Congress an approval rating. The People are afraid of politicians like you--uninspired, unthinking politicians--who think they are Kings or Queens meant to lord-over the People of the land, protecting them from the evils of information and thoughts that aren't government approved: Politicians who at every turn, take yet another stab at trying to take away that which the People have left--of any value--their freedoms. President Clinton said, "I can't understand how People can say they love their country and hate their government." It is the scoundrels and politicians held in deep scorn that the People cannot stomach--I puked last Sunday night watching a scene from the Movie "The Distinguished Gentleman" as the Congressman took a PAC bribe. (I just wanted to share that with you.) Yet, the scoundrels and politicians seem to keep coming up with new and innovative ways of stealing our liberty, at every turn, in almost every back-room committee meeting. Is it some new version of fascism we're trying to secretly install? Please think again, before you vote on the Communications Decency Act that attempts to unconstitutionally deprive Americans (only) of their free speech rights, with its "indecent speech" provisions. Government does not have the business trying to regulate content in communications. And, I don't think your going to be willing to build a communications wall around the borders. Have you ever thought of off-shore Internet Service Providers? Have you ever thought you might be destroying a multi-billion dollar service industry that this country has the lead in right now? A recent A. C. Nielson survey found that there are now some 20 million americans now communicating on-line on the Internet. I predict that if this draconian dark-ages legislative agenda you've backed, is forwarded; these millions from cyberspace may materialize into briberspace--like the million man march--to help the scoundrels of the PAC's and politicians beholding to the PAC scoundrels--see the light of the errors of their ways. And, if they can't be shown the light, make them feel the heat. You've offended a great many people with this proposed legislation, and perhaps gotten some political gain with it--like so many times before--from the ignorance of the unfortunate. But, the People will ultimately not allow their communications to be "dumbed-down" to a happy-face 5th grade level. They will fight for their rights to speak and think freely. The ACLU will immediately challenge your CDA. There is also promised civil disobedience, in on instance, by a Texas judge to protest the law. This law is a cruel joke that will backfire on Congress. Please rethink it. Please work to solve our real problems. Don't destroy the one good think this country has. You won't be able to spin-doctor this travesty of legislation to your political advantage. Sincerely yours, Tom Klemesrud PS: You know I run a BBS with over 4,000 voters right in your congressional district. Yet, we haven't heard that you have an E-mail address. I'll be posting this letter to the public bulletin board section. ------------------------------ Date: Sun, 16 Dec 1995 22:51:01 CDT From: CuD Moderators Subject: File 10--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 16 Dec, 1995) Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are available at no cost electronically. 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