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   Once inside, Anthrax had a quick look around. The system startled him.

   There were only three human users. Now that was definitely odd. Most

   systems had hundreds of users. Even a small system might serve 30 or

   40 people, and this was not a small system. He concluded that System X

   wasn't just some machine designed to send and receive email. It was

   operational. It did something.

  

   Anthrax considered how to clean up his footsteps and secure his

   position. While he was hardly broadcasting his presence, someone might

   discover his arrival simply by looking at who was logged in on the

   list of accounts in the password file. He had given his backdoor root

   account a bland name, but he could reasonably assume that these three

   users knew their system pretty well. And with only three users, it was

   probably the kind of system that had lots of babysitting. After all

   that effort, Anthrax needed a watchful nanny like a hole in the head.

   He worked at moving into the shadows.

  

   He removed himself from the WTMP and UTMP files, which listed who had

   been on-line and who was still logged in. Anthrax wasn't invisible,

   but an admin would have to look closely at the system's network

   connections and list of processes to find him. Next stop: the login

   program.

  

   Anthrax couldn't use his newly created front-door account for an

   extended period--the risk of discovery was too great. If he accessed

   the computer repeatedly in this manner, a prying admin might

   eventually find him and delete his account. An extra account on a

   system with only three users was a dead give-away. And losing access

   to System X just as things were getting interesting was not on his

   agenda.

  

   Anthrax leaned back in his chair and stretched his shoulders. His

   hacking room was an old cloakroom, though it was barely recognisable

   as such. It looked more like a closet--a very messy closet. The whole

   room was ankle-deep in scrap papers, most of them with lists of

   numbers on the back and front. Occasionally, Anthrax scooped up all

   the papers and piled them into heavy-duty garbage bags, three of which

   could just fit inside the room at any one time. Anthrax always knew

   roughly where he had `filed' a particular set of notes. When he needed

   it, he tipped the bag onto the floor, searched through the mound and

   returned to the computer. When the sea of paper reached a critical

   mass, he jammed everything back into the garbage bag again.

  

   The computer--an Amiga 500 box with a cheap Panasonic TV as the

   monitor--sat on a small desk next to his mother's sewing machine

   cabinet. The small bookcase under the desk

   was stuffed with magazines like Compute and Australian Communications,

   along with a few Commodore, Amiga and Unix reference manuals. There

   was just enough space for Anthrax's old stereo and his short-wave

   radio. When he wasn't listening to his favourite show, a hacking

   program broadcast from a pirate station in Ecuador, he tuned into

   Radio Moscow or the BBC's World Service.

  

   Anthrax considered what to do with System X. This system had aroused

   his curiosity and he intended to visit it frequently.

  

   It was time to work on the login patch. The patch replaced the

   system's normal login program and had a special feature: a master

   password. The password was like a diplomatic passport. It would let