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   situation after the raid in Germany. With some spare time prior to his

   trial, Pengo asked Shatter whether it was safe to travel to the US on

   a summer holiday in 1989. Shatter asked for Pengo's birthdate and

   other details. Then he returned with an unequivocal answer: Under no

   circumstances was Pengo to travel to the US.

  

   Subsequently, it was reported that officials in the US Justice

   Department had been examining ways to secretly coax Pengo onto

   American soil, where they could seize him. They would then force him

   to face trial in their own courts.

  

   Had Shatter known this? Or had he just told Pengo not to go to the US

   because it was good commonsense? No-one was quite sure, but people

   took note of what Shatter told them.

  

   `Shatter definitely got the info right about Spaf's machine. 100%

   right,' Pad continued. `He knew exactly how you hacked it. I couldn't

   believe it. Be careful if you're still hacking m8, especially on the

   Inet.' The `Inet' was shorthand for the Internet.

  

   The Altos hackers went quiet.

  

   `It's not just you,' Pad tried to reassure the Australians. `Two

   security people from the US are coming to the UK to try and find out

   something about someone named Gandalf. Oh, and Gand's mate, who might

   be called Patrick.'

  

   Pad had indeed based his handle on the name Patrick, or Paddy, but

   that wasn't his real name. No intelligent hacker would use his real

   name for his handle. Paddy was the name of one of his favourite

   university lecturers, an Irishman who laughed a good deal. Like Par's

   name, Pad's handle had coincidentally echoed a second meaning when the

   British hacker moved into exploring X.25 networks. An X.25 PAD is a

   packet assembler disassembler, the interface between the X.25 network

   and a modem or terminal server. Similarly, Gandalf, while being first

   and foremost the wizard from The Lord of The Rings, also happened to

   be a terminal server brand name.

  

   Despite the gravity of the news that the security community was

   closing the net around them, none of the hackers lost their wicked

   sense of humour.

  

   `You know,' Pad went on, `Spaf was out of the country when his machine

   got hacked.'

  

   `Was he? Where?' asked Gandalf, who had just joined the conversation.

  

   `In Europe.'

  

   Electron couldn't resist. `Where was Spaf, Gandalf asks as he hears a

   knock on his door ...'

  

   `Haha,' Gandalf laughed.

   

   `<knock> <knock>' Electron went on, hamming it up.

  

   `Oh! Hello there, Mr Spafford,' Gandalf typed, playing along.

  

   `Hello, I'm Gene and I'm mean!'