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                  Chapter 7 -- Judgement Day

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     Your dream world is just about to end

    

   -- from `Dreamworld', on Diesel and Dust by Midnight Oil

  

   In another corner of the globe, the British hackers Pad and Gandalf

   learned with horror that the Australian authorities had busted the

   three Realm hackers. Electron had simply disappeared one day. A short

   time later, Phoenix was gone too. Then the reports started rolling in

   from newspapers and from other Australian hackers on a German board

   similar to Altos, called Lutzifer.

  

   Something else worried Pad. In one of his hacking forays, he had

   discovered a file, apparently written by Eugene Spafford, which said

   he was concerned that some British hackers--read Pad and

   Gandalf--would create a new worm, based on the RTM worm, and release

   it into the Internet. The unnamed British hackers would then be able

   to cause maximum havoc on thousands of Internet sites.

  

   It was true that Gandalf and Pad had captured copies of various worm

   source codes. They fished around inside SPAN until they surfaced with

   a copy of the Father Christmas worm. And, after finally successfully

   hacking Russell Brand's machine at LLNL, they deftly lifted a complete

   copy of the WANK worm. In Brand's machine, they also found a

   description of how someone had broken into SPAN looking for the WANK

   worm code, but hadn't found it. `That was me breaking into SPAN to

   look around,' Gandalf laughed, relaying the tale to Pad.

  

   Despite their growing library of worm code, Pad had no intention of

   writing any such worm. They simply wanted the code to study what

   penetration methods the worms had used and perhaps to learn something

   new. The British hackers prided themselves on never having done

   anything destructive to systems they hacked. In places where they knew

   their activities had been discovered--such as at the Universities of

   Bath, Edinburgh, Oxford and Strathclyde--they wrote notes to the

   admins signed 8lgm. It wasn't only an ego thing--it was also a way of

   telling the admins that they weren't going to do anything nasty to the

   system.

  

   At one university, the admins thought 8lgm was some kind

   of weird variation on a Belgian word and that the hackers who visited

   their systems night after night were from Belgium. At another uni, the

   admins made a different guess at the meaning. In the morning, when

   they came into work and saw that the hackers had been playing in their

   system all night, they would sigh to each other, `Our eight little

   green men are at it again'.

  

   At the University of Lancaster, the hackers wrote a message to the

   admins which said: `Don't do anything naughty. We have a good image

   around the world, so please don't tarnish it or start making up

   stories about us messing up systems. Don't hold your breath for us to

   hack you, but keep us in mind.' Wherever they went, their message was

   the same.

  

   Nonetheless Pad visualised a scenario where Spaf whipped up the