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   over the machines owned by Telenet or Tymnet was real power. And as the

   master of X.25 networks, Par could simply create a special account--just

   for Theorem--on Tymnet.

  

   When Par finished making the account, he leaned back in his chair

   feeling pretty pleased with himself.

  

   Account name: Theorem.

  

   Password: ParLovesMe!

  

   Well, thought Par, she's going to have to type that in every time she

   gets on the Tymnet network. Altos might be filled with the world's

   best hackers, and they might even try to flirt with Theorem, but

   she'll be thinking of me every time she logs on, he thought.

  

   Par called her on the telephone and gave her his special present. When

   he told her the password to her new account, Theorem laughed. She

   thought it was sweet.

  

   And so did the MOD boys.

  

   Masters of Deception, or Destruction--it depended on who told the

   story--was a New York-based gang of hackers. They thought it would be

   cool to hack Altos. It wasn't that easy to get Altos shell access,

   which Theorem had, and most people had to settle for using one of the

   `guest' accounts. But it was much easier to hack Altos from a shell

   account than from a `guest' account. Theorem's account would be the

   targeted jump-off point.

  

   How did MOD get Theorem's Altos password? Most probably they were

   watching one of the X.25 gateways she used as she passed through

   Tymnet on her way to Altos. Maybe the MOD boys sniffed her password en

   route. Or maybe they were watching the Tymnet security officials who

   were watching that gateway.

  

   In the end it didn't matter how MOD got Theorem's password on Altos.

   What mattered was that they changed her password. When Theorem

   couldn't get into Altos she was beside herself. She felt like a junkie

   going cold turkey. It was too much. And of course she couldn't reach

   Par. Because he was on the run, she had to wait for him to call her.

   In fact she couldn't reach any of her other friends on Altos to ask

   for help. How was she going to find them? They were all hackers. They

   chose handles so no-one would know their real names.

  

   What Theorem didn't know was that, not only had she lost access to

   Altos, but the MOD boys were using her account to hack the Altos

   system. To the outside world it appeared as though she was doing it.

  

   Theorem finally managed to get a third-hand message to Gandalf, a

   well-known British hacker. She sought him out for two reasons. First,

   he was a good friend and was therefore likely to help her out. Second,

   Gandalf had root access on Altos, which meant he could give her a new

   password or account.

  

   Gandalf had established quite a reputation for himself in the computer

   underground through the hacking group 8lgm--The Eight-Legged Groove

   Machine, named after a British band. He and his friend, fellow British

   hacker Pad, had the best four legs in the chorus line. They were a

   world-class act, and certainly some of the best talent to come out of