More computer hacking:
Where did it begin and how did it grow?...
Let's jump to 1968 and the scent of tear gas. Wow, look at
those rocks hurling through the windows of the computer science
building at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign! Outside
are 60s antiwar protesters. Their enemy, they believe, are the
campus' ARPA-funded computers. Inside are nerdz high on caffeine
and nitrous oxide. Under the direction of the young Roger Johnson,
they gang together four CDC 6400s and link them to 1024 dumb
vector graphics terminals. This becomes the first realization
of cyberspace: Plato.
1969 turns out to be the most portent-filled year yet
In that year the Defense Department's Advanced Research
Projects Agency funds a second project to hook up four mainframe
computers so researchers can share their resources. This system
doesn't boast the vector graphics of the Plato system. Its terminals
just show ASCII characters: letters and numbers. Boring, huh?
But this ARPAnet is eminently hackable. Within a year,
its users hack together a new way to ship text files around.
They call their unauthorized, unplanned invention "email."
ARPAnet has developed a life independent of its creators. It's
a story that will later repeat itself in many forms. No one can
control cyberspace. They can't even control it when it is just
four computers big.
Also in 1969 John Goltz teams up with a money man to
found Compuserve using the new packet switched technology being
pioneered by ARPAnet. Also in 1969 we see a remarkable birth
at Bell Labs as Ken Thompson invents a new operating system:
Unix. It is to become the gold standard of hacking and the Internet,
the operating system with the power to form miracles of computer
In 1971, Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies found the first
hacker/phreaker magazine, YIPL/TAP (Youth International Party
-- Technical Assistance Program). YIPL/TAP essentially invents
phreaking -- the sport of playing with phone systems in ways
the owners never intended. They are motivated by the Bell Telephone
monopoly with its high long distance rates, and a hefty tax that
Hoffman and many others refuse to pay as their protest against
the Vietnam War. What better way to pay no phone taxes than to
pay no phone bill at all?
Blue boxes burst onto the scene. Their oscillators automate
the whistling sounds that had already enabled people like Captain
Crunch (John Draper) to become the pirate captains of the Bell
Telephone megamonopoly. Suddenly phreakers are able to actually
make money at their hobby. Hans and Gribble peddle blue boxes
on the Stanford campus.
In June 1972, the radical left magazine Ramparts, in
the article "Regulating the Phone Company In Your Home" publishes
the schematics for a variant on the blue box known as the "mute
box." This article violates Californian State Penal Code
section 502.7, which outlaws the selling of "plans or instructions
for any instrument, apparatus, or device intended to avoid telephone
toll charges." California police, aided by Pacific Bell
officials, seize copies of the magazine from newsstands and the
magazine's offices. The financial stress leads quickly to bankruptcy.
More history of hacking-->>