Page 163

Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.

   `Then Markoff sounds really stunned, and he goes, "People?" And I

   said, "Yeah, people." Then he said, "How do you know?" And I said,

   "Because, John, I KNOW."'


   Phoenix erupted in laughter again. The Times reporter obviously had

   worms on his mind, since the author of the famous Internet worm,

   Robert T. Morris Jr, had just been tried and convicted in the US. He

   was due to be sentenced in May.


   US investigators had tracked the hacker's connections, looping through

   site after site in a burrowing manner which they assumed belonged to a

   worm. The idea of penetrating so many sites all in such a short time

   clearly baffled the investigators, who concluded it must be a program

   rather than human beings launching the attacks.


   `Yeah,' Erik continued, `And then Markoff said, "Can you get me to

   talk to them?" And I said I'd see what I could do.'


   `Yeah,' Phoenix said. `Go tell him, yes. Yeah, I gotta talk to this

   idiot. I'll set him straight.'


   Page one, the New York Times, 21 March 1990: `Caller Says he Broke

   Computers' Barriers to Taunt the Experts', by John Markoff.


   True, the article was below the crease--on the bottom half of the

   page--but at least it was in column 1, the place a reader turns to



   Phoenix was chuffed. He'd made the front page of the New York Times.


   `The man identified himself only as an Australian named Dave,' the

   article said. Phoenix chuckled softly. Dave Lissek was the pseudonym

   he'd used. Of course, he wasn't the only one using the name Dave. When

   Erik first met the Australians on Altos, he marvelled at how they all

   called themselves Dave. I'm Dave, he's Dave, we're all Dave, they told

   him. It was just easier that way, they said.


   The article revealed that `Dave' had attacked Spaf's and Stoll's

   machines, and that the Smithsonian Astronomical Observatory at Harvard

   University--where Stoll now worked--had pulled its computers off the

   Internet as a result of the break in. Markoff had even included the

   `egg on his face' story Phoenix had described to him.


   Phoenix laughed at how well he had thumbed his nose at Cliffy Stoll.

   This article would show him up all right. It felt so good, seeing

   himself in print that way. He did that. That was him there in black in

   white, for all the world to see. He had outsmarted the world's best

   known hacker-catcher, and he had smeared the insult across the front

   page of the most prestigious newspaper in America.


   And Markoff reported that he had been in Spaf's system too! Phoenix

   glowed happily. Better still, Markoff had quoted `Dave' on the

   subject: `The caller said ... "It used to be the security guys chasing

   the hackers. Now it's the hackers chasing the security people."'


   The article went on: `Among the institutions believed to have been

   penetrated by the intruder are the Los Alamos National Laboratories,

   Harvard, Digital Equipment Corporation, Boston University and the

   University of Texas.' Yes, that list sounded about right. Well, for

   the Australians as a group anyway. Even if Phoenix hadn't masterminded