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Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.

   quote cd ~daemon

  

   quote pass anything

  

   The few seconds it took for his commands to course from his suburban

   home in Melbourne and race deep into the Midwest felt like a lifetime.

   He wanted Spaf's machine, wanted Deszip, and wanted this attack to

   work. If he could just get Deszip, he felt the Australians would be

   unstoppable.

  

   Spaf's machine opened its door as politely as a doorman at the Ritz

   Carlton. Phoenix smiled at his computer. He was in.

  

   It was like being in Aladdin's cave. Phoenix just sat there, stunned

   at the bounty which lay before him. It was his, all his. Spaf had

   megabytes of security files in his directories. Source code for the

   RTM Internet worm. Source code for the WANK worm. Everything. Phoenix

   wanted to plunge his hands in each treasure chest and scoop out greedy

   handfuls, but he resisted the urge. He had a more important--a more

   strategic--mission to accomplish first.

  

   He prowled through the directories, hunting everywhere for Deszip.

   Like a burglar scouring the house for the family silver, he pawed

   through directory after directory. Surely, Spaf had to have Deszip. If

   anyone besides Matthew Bishop was going to have a copy, he would. And

   finally, there it was. Deszip. Just waiting for Phoenix.

  

   Then Phoenix noticed something else. Another file. Curiosity got the

   better of him and he zoomed in to have a quick look. This one

   contained a passphrase--the passphrase. The phrase the Australians

   needed to decrypt the original copy of Deszip they had stolen from the

   Bear computer at Dartmouth three months earlier. Phoenix couldn't

   believe the passphrase. It was so simple, so obvious. But he caught

   himself. This was no time to cry over spilled milk. He had to get

   Deszip out of the machine quickly, before anyone noticed he was there.

  

   But as Phoenix began typing in commands, his screen appeared to freeze

   up. He checked. It wasn't his computer. Something was wrong at the

   other end. He was still logged into Spaf's machine. The connection

   hadn't been killed. But when he typed commands, the computer in West

   Lafayette, Indiana, didn't respond. Spaf's machine just sat there,

   deaf and dumb.

  

   Phoenix stared at his computer, trying to figure out what was

   happening. Why wouldn't Spaf's machine answer? There were two

   possibilities. Either the network--the connection between the first

   machine he penetrated at Purdue and Spaf's own machine--had gone down

   accidentally. Or someone had pulled the plug.

  

   Why pull the plug? If they knew he was in there, why not just kick him

   out of the machine? Better still, why not kick him out of Purdue all

   together? Maybe they wanted to keep him on-line to trace which machine

   he was coming from, eventually winding backwards from system to

   system, following his trail.

  

   Phoenix was in a dilemma. If the connection had crashed by accident,

   he wanted to stay put and wait for the network to come back up again.

   The FTP hole in Spaf's machine was an incredible piece of luck.

   Chances were that someone would find