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               Chapter 10 -- Anthrax -- The Outsider




     They had a gun at my head and a knife at my back

     Don't wind me up too tight


   -- from `Powderworks' on Midnight Oil (also called The Blue Album) by

   Midnight Oil


   Anthrax didn't like working as part of a team. He always considered

   other people to be the weakest link in the chain.


   Although people were never to be trusted completely, he socialised

   with many hackers and phreakers and worked with a few of them now and

   again on particular projects. But he never formed intimate

   partnerships with any of them. Even if a fellow hacker dobbed him in

   to the police, the informant couldn't know the full extent of his

   activities. The nature of his relationships was also determined, in

   part, by his isolation. Anthrax lived in a town in rural Victoria.


   Despite the fact that he never joined a hacking partnership like The

   Realm, Anthrax liked people, liked to talk to them for hours at a time

   on the telephone. Sometimes he received up to ten international calls

   a day from his phreaker friends overseas. He would be over at a

   friend's house, and the friend's mother would knock on the door of the

   bedroom where the boys were hanging out, listening to new music,



   The mother would poke her head in the door, raise an eyebrow and point

   at Anthrax. `Phone call for you. Someone from Denmark.' Or sometimes

   it was Sweden. Finland. The US. Wherever. Though they didn't say

   anything, his friends' parents thought it all a bit strange. Not many

   kids in country towns got international calls trailing them around

   from house to house. But then not many kids were master phreakers.


   Anthrax loved the phone system and he understood its power. Many

   phreakers thought it was enough to be able to call their friends

   around the globe for free. Or make hacking attack phone calls without

   being traced. However, real power for Anthrax lay in controlling voice

   communications systems--things that moved conversations around the

   world. He cruised through people's voice mailbox messages to piece

   together a picture of what they were doing. He wanted to be able to

   listen into telephone conversations. And he wanted to be able to

   reprogram the telephone system, even take it down. That was real

   power, the kind that lots of people would notice.


   The desire for power grew throughout Anthrax's teenage years. He ached

   to know everything, to see everything, to play with exotic systems in

   foreign countries. He needed to know the purpose of every system, what

   made them tick, how they fitted together. Understanding how things

   worked would give him control.


   His obsession with telephony and hacking began early in life. When he

   was about eleven, his father had taken him to see the film War Games.

   All Anthrax could think of as he left the theatre was how much he

   wanted to learn how to hack. He had already developed a fascination

   for computers, having received the simplest of machines, a Sinclair