Page 166


Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.

   reports of which Phoenix was so proud, bosses across the world would

   be calling their computer managers into their offices and breathing

   down their necks about their own computer security.

  

   The brazen hackers had deeply offended the computer security industry,

   spurring it into action. In the process, some in the industry had also

   seen an opportunity to raise its own public profile. The security

   experts had talked to the law enforcement agencies, who were now

   clearly sharing information across national borders and closing in

   fast. The conspirators in

   the global electronic village were at the point of maximum

   overreach.

  

   `We could hack Spaf again,' Phoenix volunteered.

  

   `The general public couldn't give a fuck about Eugene Spafford,'

   Electron said, trying to dampen Phoenix's bizarre enthusiasm. He was

   all for thumbing one's nose at authority, but this was not the way to

   do it.

  

   `It'd be so funny in court, though. The lawyer would call Spaf and

   say, "So, Mr Spafford, is it true that you are a world-renowned

   computer security expert?" When he said, "Yes" I'd jump up and go, "I

   object, your honour, this guy doesn't know jackshit, 'cause I hacked

   his machine and it was a breeze!"'

  

   `Mmm.'

  

   `Hey, if we don't get busted in the next two weeks, it will be a

   miracle,' Phoenix continued happily.

  

   `I hope not.'

  

   `This is a lot of fun!' Phoenix shouted sarcastically. `We're gonna

   get busted! We're gonna get busted!'

  

   Electron's jaw fell to the ground. Phoenix was mad. Only a lunatic

   would behave this way. Mumbling something about how tired he was,

   Electron said goodbye and hung up.

 

   At 5.50 a.m. on 2 April 1990, Electron dragged himself out of bed and

   made his way to the bathroom. Part way through his visit, the light

   suddenly went out.

  

   How strange. Electron opened his eyes wide in the early morning

   dimness. He returned to his bedroom and began putting on some jeans

   before going to investigate the problem.

  

   Suddenly, two men in street clothes yanked his window open and jumped

   through into the room shouting, `GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR!'

  

   Who were these people? Half-naked, Electron stood in the middle of his

   room, stunned and immobile. He had suspected the police might pay him

   a visit, but didn't they normally wear uniforms? Didn't they announce

   themselves?

  

   The two men grabbed Electron, threw him face down onto the floor and

   pulled his arms behind his back. They jammed handcuffs on his

   wrists--hard--cutting his skin. Then someone kicked him in the

   stomach.