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   bill, outspoken hacker-critic Emma Nicholson, another Conservative MP,

   fired public debate on the subject and ensured the bill passed through

   parliament successfully.

  

   In November 1990, Pad was talking on-line with Gandalf, and his friend

   suggested they have one more hack, just one more, for old time's sake.

   Well, thought Pad, one more--just a one-off thing--wouldn't hurt.

  

   Before long, Pad was hacking regularly again, and when Gandalf tried

   to give it up, Pad was there luring him to return to his favourite

   pastime. They were like two boys at school, getting each other into

   trouble--the kind of trouble which always comes in pairs. If Pad and

   Gandalf hadn't known each other, they probably would both have walked

   away from hacking forever in 1990.

  

   As they both got back into the swing of things, they tried to make

   light of the risk of getting caught. `Hey, you know,' Gandalf joked

   on-line more than once, `the first time we actually meet each other in

   person will probably be in a police station.'

  

   Completely irreverent and always upbeat, Gandalf proved to be a true

   friend. Pad had rarely met such a fellow traveller in the real world,

   let alone on-line. What others--particularly some American

   hackers--viewed as prickliness, Pad saw as the perfect sense of

   humour. To Pad, Gandalf was the best m8 a fellow could ever have.

  

   During the time Pad avoided hacking, Gandalf had befriended another,

   younger hacker named Wandii, also from the north of England. Wandii

   never played much of a part in the international computer underground,

   but he did spend a lot of time hacking European computers. Wandii and

   Pad got along pleasantly but they were never close. They were

   acquaintances, bound by ties to Gandalf in the underground.

  

   By the middle of June 1991, Pad, Gandalf and Wandii were peaking. At

   least one of them--and often more--had already broken into systems

   belonging to the European Community in Luxembourg, The Financial Times

   (owners of the FTSE 100 share index), the British Ministry of Defence,

   the Foreign Office, NASA, the investment bank SG Warburg in London,

   the American computer database software manufacturer Oracle, and more

   machines on the JANET network than they could remember. Pad had also

   penetrated a classified military network containing a NATO system.

   They moved through British Telecom's Packet Switched Stream Network

   (PSS), which was similar to the Tymnet X.25 network, with absolute

   ease.3

  

   Gandalf's motto was, `If it moves, hack it'.

 

                            [ ]

  

   On 27 June 1991, Pad was sitting in the front room of his parent's

   comfortable home in greater Manchester watching the last remnants of

   daylight disappear on one of the longest days of the year. He loved

   summer, loved waking up to streaks of sunlight sneaking through the

   cracks in his bedroom curtain. He often thought to himself, it doesn't

   get much better than this.

  

   Around 11 p.m. he flicked on his modem and his Atari 520 ST computer

   in the front sitting room. There were two Atari computers in the

   house--indicative of his deep enthusiasm for computers since neither

   his siblings nor his parents had any interest in programming. Most of