Page 246


Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.

   files. PACCT audits. Network architecture. IP addresses. He had been

   expected to become an expert in the basics literally overnight. A

   worried Mendax began passing him notes--questions to ask,

   explanations, definitions. Slowly, Galbally started working up a

   rhythm to the cross-examination.

  

   During the questioning someone from the back of the court sidled up to

   Mendax, in the front row of seats, and handed a note over his

   shoulder. Mendax unfolded the note, read it and then turned around to

   smile at the messenger. It was Electron.

  

   By the time Galbally had finished, he had pulled apart much of the

   NorTel manager's evidence. As he built up a head of steam quizzing the

   witness, he forced the NorTel manager to admit he didn't know all that

   much about the alleged hacking incidents. In fact, he wasn't even

   employed by the company when they occurred. He had largely thrown

   together an affidavit based on second-hand information--and it was

   this affidavit which supposedly proved the hackers had cost the

   company $160000. Worse, it seemed to an observer at court that the

   NorTel manager had little Unix security technical expertise and

   probably would not have been able to conduct a detailed technical

   analysis of the incident even if he had been with the company in 1991.

   By the end of the defence's cross-examination, it appeared that

   Galbally knew more about Unix than the NorTel manager.

  

   When Geoff Chettle stood up to re-examine the witness, the situation

   was hopeless. The manager soon stood down. In Mendax's view, the

   credibility of the NorTel Manager's statement was shot.

  

   The court was then adjourned until 12 May.

  

   After court, Mendax heard Geoff Chettle talking about the NorTel

   witness. `That guy is OFF the team,' he said emphatically.

  

   It was a mixed victory for Mendax. His solicitor had knocked off one

   NorTel witness, but there were more where he came from. At a full

   trial, the prosecution would likely fly in some real NorTel

   fire-power, from Canada, where the 676-page security incident report

   had been prepared by Clark Ferguson and other members of the NorTel

   security team. Those witnesses would understand how a Unix system

   operated, and would have first-hand knowledge of the hackers'

   intrusions. It could make things much more difficult.

  

   When Mendax returned to court a week later, he was committed to stand

   trial in the County Court of Victoria, as expected.

  

   Later, Mendax asked Galbally about his options. Take the case to full

   trial, or plead guilty like the other two IS hackers. He wanted to

   know where the DPP stood on his case. Would they go in hard if he

   pleaded guilty? Had the NorTel manager disaster at the committal

   hearing forced them to back down a little?

  

   Paul sighed and shook his head. The DPP were standing firm. They

   wanted to see Mendax go to prison.

  

   Andrea Pavleka, the DPP's sunny-faced girl who radiated happiness, was

   baying for blood.

 

                                    [ ]