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   position of power into doing something for you. It always involved a

   ruse of some sort.

  

   Mendax decided he would social engineer a password out of one of

   Minerva's users. He had downloaded a partial list of Minerva users

   another PI hacker had generously posted for those talented enough to

   make use of it. This list was maybe two years old, and incomplete, but

   it contained 30-odd pages of Minerva account usernames, company names,

   addresses, contact names and telephone and fax numbers. Some of them

   would probably still be valid.

  

   Mendax had a deep voice for his age; it would have been impossible to

   even contemplate social engineering without it. Cracking adolescent

   male voices were the kiss of death for would-be social engineers. But

   even though he had the voice, he didn't have the office or the Sydney

   phone number if the intended victim wanted a number to call back on.

   He found a way to solve the Sydney phone number by poking around until

   he dug up a number with Sydney's 02 area code which was permanently

   engaged. One down, one to go.

  

   Next problem: generate some realistic office background noise. He

   could hardly call a company posing as an OTC official to cajole a

   password when the only background noise was birds tweeting in the

   fresh country air.

  

   No, he needed the same background buzz as a crowded office in downtown

   Sydney. Mendex had a tape recorder, so he could pre-record the sound

   of an office and play it as background when he called companies on the

   Minerva list. The only hurdle was finding the appropriate office

   noise. Not even the local post office would offer a believable noise

   level. With none easily accessible, he decided to make his own audible

   office clutter. It wouldn't be easy. With a single track on his

   recording device, he couldn't dub in sounds on top of each other: he

   had to make all the noises simultaneously.

  

   First, he turned on the TV news, down very low, so it just hummed in

   the background. Then he set up a long document to print on his

   Commodore MPS 801 printer. He removed the cover from the noisy dot

   matrix machine, to create just the right volume of clackity-clack in

   the background. Still, he needed something more. Operators' voices

   mumbling across a crowded floor. He could mumble quietly to himself,

   but he soon discovered his verbal skills had not developed to the

   point of being able to stand in the middle of the room talking about

   nothing to himself for a quarter of an hour. So he fished out his

   volume of Shakespeare and started reading aloud. Loud enough to hear

   voices, but not so loud that the intended victim would be able to pick

   Macbeth. OTC operators had keyboards, so he began tapping randomly on

   his. Occasionally, for a little variation, he walked up to the tape

   recorder and asked a question--and then promptly answered it in

   another voice. He stomped noisily away from the recorder again, across

   the room, and then silently dove back to the keyboard for more

   keyboard typing and mumblings of Macbeth.

  

   It was exhausting. He figured the tape had to run for at least fifteen

   minutes uninterrupted. It wouldn't look very realistic if the office

   buzz suddenly went dead for three seconds at a time in the places

   where he paused the tape to rest.

  

   The tapes took a number of attempts. He would be halfway through,

   racing through line after line of Shakespeare, rap-tap-tapping on his