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   ZX81 with 1 k of memory, as a birthday present from his parents.

   Rummaging through outdoor markets, he found a few second-hand books on

   hacking. He read Out of the Inner Circle by Bill Landreth, and Hackers

   by Steven Levy.


   By the time he was fourteen, Anthrax had joined a Melbourne-based

   group of boys called The Force. The members swapped Commodore 64 and

   Amiga games. They also wrote their own demos--short computer

   programs--and delighted in cracking the copy protections on the games

   and then trading them with other crackers around the world. It was

   like an international penpal group. Anthrax liked the challenge

   provided by cracking the protections, but few teenagers in his town

   shared an interest in his unusual hobby. Joining The Force introduced

   him to a whole new world of people who thought as he did.


   When Anthrax first read about phreaking he wrote to one of his American

   cracking contacts asking for advice on how to start. His friend sent him

   a list of AT&T calling card numbers and a toll-free direct-dial number

   which connected Australians with American operators. The card numbers

   were all expired or cancelled, but Anthrax didn't care. What captured

   his imagination was the fact that he could call an operator all the way

   across the Pacific for free. Anthrax began trying to find more special



   He would hang out at a pay phone near his house. It was a seedy

   neighbourhood, home to the most downtrodden of all the town's

   residents, but Anthrax would stand at the pay phone for hours most

   evenings, oblivious to the clatter around him, hand-scanning for

   toll-free numbers. He dialled 0014--the prefix for the international

   toll-free numbers--followed by a random set of numbers. Then, as he

   got more serious, he approached the task more methodically. He

   selected a range of numbers, such as 300 to 400, for the last three

   digits. Then he dialled over and over, increasing the number by one

   each time he dialled. 301. 302. 303. 304. Whenever he hit a

   functioning phone number, he noted it down. He never had to spend a

   cent since all the 0014 numbers were free.


   Anthrax found some valid numbers, but many of them had modems at the

   other end. So he decided it was time to buy a modem so he could explore

   further. Too young to work legally, he lied about his age and landed an

   after-school job doing data entry at an escort agency. In the meantime,

   he spent every available moment at the pay phone, scanning and adding

   new numbers to his growing list of toll-free modem and operator-assisted



   The scanning became an obsession. Often Anthrax stayed at the phone

   until 10 or 11 p.m. Some nights it was 3 a.m. The pay phone had a

   rotary dial, making the task laborious, and sometimes he would come

   home with blisters on the tips of his fingers.


   A month or so after he started working, he had saved enough money for

   a modem.


   Hand scanning was boring, but no more so than school. Anthrax attended

   his state school regularly, at least until year 10. Much of that was

   due to his mother's influence. She believed in education and in

   bettering oneself, and she wanted to give her son the opportunities

   she had been denied. It was his mother, a psychiatric nurse, who

   scrimped and saved for months to buy him his first real computer, a

   $400 Commodore 64. And it was his mother who took out a loan to buy