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
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
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.
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
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.
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.