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More about Harold Fubison...

Then he went back to his usual life of harmless hacking.

        In 1995 Mazda offered voluntary layoffs with a benefit of 18 months at 80% pay.  Fubison jumped at the opportunity.  He enrolled in the electronics school at the National Institute of Technology.

        But 1996 was the year his past caught up with him.  One of his partners in the computer fraud scheme got a prison sentence.  Fubison got off  with probation.

        That year Fubison parlayed his recent education and hacker skills into two simultaneous full-time jobs.  One was at Ameritech, the Michigan baby bell phone company.  The other was at the recently created AGIS Internet backbone company.  At both companies he was only able to get entry level jobs giving tech support, as he puts it, to people would "couldn't remember their passwords."

        After a short time on the exhausting schedule of these two full-time jobs, his AGIS supervisor, even though he knew of Fubison's troubles with the law, promoted him to a network engineer position.  Fubison quit the Ameritech job, and began devoting himself solely to understanding AGIS and its many challenges.        

        1997 was to be a challenging year, indeed.  Twice that spring massive email bombings filled up the disks on the AGIS mail servers, crashing them.  In April someone posted a password for an AGIS router on a hacker news group The mystery attacker claimed the password was "spamforall."  Rumor has it that password was genuine.

        The problem was that the young, growing and hungry AGIS had signed contracts with Cyber Promotions, Inc., at the time the biggest spammer in the world; with Nancynet; and with several other spammers.  The attacks were retaliation for AGIS serving these companies.

        Fubison knew AGIS had problems that he could solve.  However, as a  junior network engineer without an engineering degree, he didn't have the clout to persuade management to take the drastic security measures he knew they needed. 

        June 4, 1997, was the day the AGIS Internet mail gateway backbone was taken out by -- whom?  The attacker announced on a Usenet post "Today I  wiped AGISGATE and all of AGIS's name servers.  I will only stop until[sic] AGIS changes their policies...  This means getting rid of all of their spammers -- most importantly Cyber Promotions."

        This was not good for Fubison.  Someone was assaulting AGIS -- and the company and FBI suspected an insider was committing the attacks.  To be exact, Fubison, given his past, worried he would become one of the suspects.   

        With a wife and two toddlers to care for at the time, the prospect had to be frightening.  Fubison was fighting not just to prove he could solve the hacker problem -- he was fighting for his reputation.

        Then someone gained access to every router on the AGIS network.  The attacker changed the configuration files to take the routers out of service. This blacked out the Internet to a million people, in some locations for over a day.

        Fortunately Fubison was able to use his years of hacker skills to trace the attacks to the source of origin.  He also persuaded his bosses that he was capable of doing what was necessary to set up the new AGIS network. Fubison designed new hardware and set  up s-key, a one-time password system, to secure the AGIS routers.  He also built AGIS's Usenet distribution system, both the hardware and software.

        Fubison was rewarded with promotion to senior network engineer -- and stock in the fast growing company.  And -- he achieved all this while still on probation.        

        Now that he had real power in the company, Fubison's next goal was to rid AGIS of spammers.  This was not an easy task.  AGIS had to fight a lawsuit brought by Cyber Promotions that briefly got a court order to force AGIS to give them service.  However, by December 1997, Fubison could say  "Now we probably have the least spam  of any backbone."

        In early October 1997, Fubison responded to a request from Carolyn Meinel to help Succeed.net, a small ISP in Yuba City, California.  Succeed.net was under assault by a group of hackers who wanted to drive Bronc Buster (now at http://www.showdown.org) off the Internet.  The owner of that ISP, Robert Lavelock, refused to cave in to the attackers' demands and kick Bronc Buster off.  Instead, he fought them.  Fubison helped them close their security holes and set up a logging system to help the FBI catch Bronc's assailants. For details on this war, which lasted three weeks, see the GTMHH on "HackerWars."

        This March, when Rt66 Internet came under attack by hundreds of computer criminals trying to shut down the Happy Hacker network, Fubison pitched in again with logger/sniffer software.

        Today Fubison likes to say, "I help create the Internet.  I realize that everything I do affects a million customers."  With newborn twin baby daughters, the end of probation, the achievement of ridding AGIS of spammers and computer criminals, and his role of white hat hacker riding to the rescue of the victims of computer crime, he has a lot of joy in  his life. And the world is certainly a better place because of his work.


Where are those back issues of GTMHHs and Happy Hacker Digests? Check out the official Happy Hacker Web page at http://www.happyhacker.org. Us Happy Hacker folks are against computer crime. We support good, old-fashioned hacking of the kind that led to the creation of the Internet and a new era of freedom of information. So please don't email us about any crimes you may have committed. We won't be impressed. We might even call the cops on you!

© 1998 Carolyn P. Meinel. These Guides to (mostly) Harmless Hacking are, in the spirit of copyleft, free for anyone to forward, post, and print out -- just so long as you keep this info attached to this Guide so your readers know where to go to get free GTMHHs.


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