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Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.

   be: get hackers to logon and store their valuable information on the

   BBS, steal that information and then lock them out of their own

   account. By locking them out, he was able to steal all the glory; he

   could then claim the hacking secrets were his own. It was, in her

   opinion, not only unsustainable, but quite immoral. She parted ways

   with Blue Thunder and excommunicated him from her BBS.

  

   Not long after, The Real Article started getting harassing phone calls

   at 4 in the morning. The calls were relentless. Four a.m. on the dot,

   every night. The voice at the other end of the line was computer

   synthesised. This was followed by a picture of a machine-gun, printed

   out on a cheap dot matrix printer in Commodore ASCII, delivered in her

   letterbox. There was a threatening message attached which read

   something like, `If you want the kids to stay alive, get them out of

   the house'.

  

   After that came the brick through the window. It landed in the back of

   her TV. Then she woke up one morning to find her phone line dead.

   Someone had opened the Telecom well in the nature strip across the

   road and cut out a metre of cable. It meant the phone lines for the

   entire street were down.

  

   The Real Article tended to rise above the petty games that whining

   adolescent boys with bruised egos could play, but this was too much.

   She called in Telecom Protective Services, who put a last party

   release on her phone line to trace the early-morning harassing calls.

   She suspected Blue Thunder was involved, but nothing was ever proved.

   Finally, the calls stopped. She voiced her suspicions to others in the

   computer underground. Whatever shred of reputation Blue Chunder, as he

   then became known for a time, had was soon decimated.

  

   Since his own technical contributions were seen by his fellow BBS

   users as limited, Blue Thunder would likely have faded into obscurity,

   condemned to spend the rest of his time in the underground jumping

   around the ankles of the aristocratic hackers. But the birth of

   carding arrived at a fortuitous moment for him and he got into carding

   in a big way, so big in fact that he soon got busted.

  

   People in the underground recognised him as a liability, both because

   of what many hackers saw as his loose morals and because he was

   boastful of his activities. One key hacker said, `He seemed to relish

   the idea of getting caught. He told people he worked for a credit

   union and that he stole lots of credit card numbers. He sold

   information, such as accounts on systems, for financial gain.' In

   partnership with a carder, he also allegedly sent a bouquet of flowers

   to the police fraud squad--and paid for it with a stolen credit card

   number.

  

   On 31 August 1988, Blue Thunder faced 22 charges in the Melbourne

   Magistrates Court, where he managed to get most of the charges dropped

   or amalgamated. He only ended up pleading guilty to five counts,

   including deception and theft. The Real Article sat in the back of the

   courtroom watching the proceedings. Blue Thunder must have been pretty

   worried about what kind of sentence the magistrate would hand down

   because she said he approached her during the lunch break and asked if

   she would appear as a character witness for the defence. She looked

   him straight in the eye and said, `I think you would prefer it if I

   didn't'. He landed 200 hours of community service and an order to pay

   $706 in costs.