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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 for hacking.

 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 legerdemain.

 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-->>
 


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