Page 096


Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.

   stations the way Par knew about Tymnet. The Secret Service had raided

   the hackers in July 1989 but had not arrested them yet, so in

   September The Prophet continued to maintain an interest in his

   favourite target.

  

   Par thought the flaw in BellSouth's network sounded very cool and

   began playing around in the company's systems. Dial up the company's

   computer network, poke around, look at things. The usual stuff.

  

   It occurred to Par that he could check out the phone company's records

   of the motel to see if there was anything unusual going on. He typed

   in the motel's main phone number and the system fed back the motel's

   address, name and some detailed technical information, such as the

   exact cable and pair attached to the phone number. Then he looked up

   the phone line of the computer chalet. Things looked odd on that line.

  

   The line which he and Nibbler used for most of their hacking showed a

   special status: `maintenance unit on line'.

  

   What maintenance unit? Nibbler hadn't mentioned any problems with any

   of the motel's lines, but Par checked with him. No problems with the

   telephones.

  

   Par felt nervous. In addition to messing around with the phone

   company's networks, he had been hacking into a Russian computer

   network from the computer chalet. The Soviet network was a shiny new

   toy. It had only been connected to the rest of the world's global

   packet-switched network for about a month, which made it particularly

   attractive virgin territory.

  

   Nibbler called in a friend to check the motel's phones. The friend, a

   former telephone company technician turned freelancer, came over to

   look at the equipment. He told Nibbler and Par that something weird

   was happening in the motel's phone system. The line voltages were way

   off.

  

   Par realised instantly what was going on. The system was being

   monitored. Every line coming in and going out was probably being

   tapped, which meant only one thing. Someone--the phone company, the

   local police, the FBI or the Secret Service--was onto him.

  

   Nibbler and Par quickly packed up all Nibbler's computer gear, along

   with Par's hacking notes, and moved to another motel across town. They

   had to shut down all their hacking activities and cover their tracks.

  

   Par had left programs running which sniffed people's passwords and

   login names on a continual basis as they logged in, then dumped all

   the information into a file on the hacked machine. He checked that

   file every day or so. If he didn't shut the programs down, the log

   file would grow until it was so big the system administrator would

   become curious and have a look. When he discovered that his system had

   been hacked he would close the security holes. Par would have problems

   getting back into that system.

  

   After they finished tidying up the hacked systems, they gathered up

   all Par's notes and Nibbler's computer equipment once again and

   stashed them in a rented storage space. Then they drove back to the

   motel.

  

   Par couldn't afford to move on just yet. Besides, maybe only the