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Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier

by Katie Hafner & John Markoff

Husband and wife team Hafner & Markoff have done an excellent job in examining the lives of three hackers who were so addicted to cyberspace that they made foolish mistakes and got busted. Of course, the best hacks are the ones that nobody finds out about, but the people featured in Cyberpunk did not fail due to lack of talent. They all just pushed the envelope a little too far, and when it ripped, the datapolice rushed in and nabbed them. The book is divided into three major sections, one for each hacker and their hacking group.

Part One is about Kevin Mitnick, the quintessential Phreak- Without-a-Conscience, who couldn't stop pushing the buttons no matter how many times he was told "no!"

Part Two is about Hans Hubner and Karl Koch (who called himself Hagbard Celine, after Shea & Wilson's "Illuminatus!") who sold information, culled from the Internet, to the KGB.

Part Three features Robert Morris, the son of one of the National Security Agency's top-ranking computer experts. Morris, Jr. wrote a worm program that he intended to send out to garner data from various computers on the Internet. The worm, however, made umpteen copies of itself and brought the Internet to a standstill.

Cyberpunk is a well-written account of modern-day network cowboys. Thankfully, it doesn't sink to the smarmy moralizing or gee-whiz sensationalism that the media seems so intent on these days.

(M. Frauenfelder)



Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier
Katie Hafner & John Markoff
Simon & Schuster
1991, 354 pp, $22.95

Graphic by Larry Welz from Mondo 2000 #4

Here is the TEXT POPUP for Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier...

The phone phreaking movement reached its zenith in the early 1970s. One folk hero among phreaks was John Draper, whose alias, "Captain Crunch," derived from a happy coincidence: he discovered that the toy whistle buried in the Cap'n Crunch cereal box matched the phone company's 2600-hertz tone (which controlled AT&T long-distance switching equipment) perfectly.

login: guest
Password: guest
Invalid password, try again
login: visitor
Password: visitor
Invalid password, try again
login: root
Password: root
Invalid password, try again
login: system
Password: manager
Invalid password, disconnecting after 4 tries

During the search at Donald Wilson's office, Ewen and his men seized a Xerox personal computer, a printer, a disk drive, a modem, a monitor and various floppy disks. But he missed Kevin. Somehow, Kevin must have found out he was in trouble. He was well-known for running frequent warrant searches on himself.

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