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   had been using to get to them, some of which Telecom had traced back

   to his phone. One of the admins had written, `We're on to him. I feel

   really bad. He's seventeen years old and they are going to bust him

   and ruin his life.' Anthrax felt a cold chill run down his spine.

  

   Prime Suspect continued with the story. When he first came across the

   email, he thought it referred to himself. The two hackers were the

   same age and had evidently been breaking into the same systems. Prime

   Suspect had freaked out over the mail. He took it back to the other

   two IS hackers, and they talked it through. Most of the description

   fitted, but a few of the details didn't seem to make sense. Prime

   Suspect wasn't calling from a country exchange. The more they worked

   it through, the clearer it became that the email must have been

   referring to someone else. They ran through the list of other options

   and Anthrax's name came up as a possibility. The IS hackers had all

   seen him around a few systems and BBSes. Trax had even spoken to him

   once on a conference call with another phreaker. They pieced together

   what they knew of him and the picture fitted. The AFP were onto

   Anthrax and they seemed to know a lot about him. They had traced his

   telephone connection back to his house. They knew his age, which

   implied they knew his name. The phone bills were in his parents'

   names, so there may have been some personal surveillance of him. The

   Feds were so close they were all but treading on his heels. The IS

   hackers had been keeping an eye out for him, to warn him, but this was

   the first time they had found him.

  

   Anthrax thanked Prime Suspect and got out of the system. He sat frozen

   in the night stillness. It was one thing to contemplate getting caught,

   to carry mixed emotions on the hypothetical situation. It was another to

   have the real prospect staring you in the face. In the morning, he

   gathered up all his hacking papers, notes, manuals--everything. Three

   trunks' worth of material. He carried it all to the back garden, lit a

   bonfire and watched it burn. He vowed to give up hacking forever.

  

   And he did give it up, for a time. But a few months later he somehow

   found himself back in front of his computer screen, with his modem

   purring. It was so tempting, so hard to let go. The police had never

   shown up. Months had come and gone, still nothing. Prime Suspect must

   have been wrong. Perhaps the AFP were after another hacker entirely.

  

   Then, in October 1991, the AFP busted Prime Suspect, Mendax and Trax.

   But Anthrax continued to hack, mostly on his own as usual, for another

   two years. He reminded himself that the IS hackers worked in a team.

   If the police hadn't nailed him when they busted the others, surely

   they would never find him now. Further, he had become more skilled as

   a hacker, better at covering his tracks, less likely to draw attention

   to himself. He had other rationalisations too. The town where he lived

   was so far away, the police would never bother travelling all the way

   into the bush. The elusive Anthrax would remain at large forever, the

   unvanquished Ned Kelly of the computer underground.

 

                            [ ]

 

   Mundane matters were on Anthrax's mind on the morning of 14 July 1994.

   The removalists were due to arrive to take things from the half-empty

   apartment he had shared with another student. His room-mate had

   already departed and the place was a clutter of boxes stuffed with

   clothes, tapes and books.

  

   Anthrax sat in bed half-asleep, half-watching the `Today' show when he