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Why You May Get Hit

Hacker war happens to other people, right? Spammers get hacked. Hacker gangs pick fights with each other. But if you behave politely around computer criminals, you are safe, right? OK, as long as you don't live in the neighborhood of one of us Internet freedom fighters like Schwartau or me you are safe.

Wrong. Dead wrong.

Let's look at an example of a hacker war, one that doesn't seem to have any motivation at all. We're talking the Internet Chess Club. Not exactly controversial. In mid Sept. 1996 it was shut down by a syn flood attack in the aftermath of daemon9 publishing a program to implement the attack in the ezine Phrack.

There have bene many bystanders hit with the wars against this Happy Hacker list. It all started with cybernazis who wanted stop you from getting email from me. For example, on Dec. 6, 1996, someone had written to the dc-stuff hackers email list (subscribe by emailing majordomo@dis.org with message "subscribe dc-stuff) saying "I think they (or maybe 'we') will survive, Carolyn's book." Rogue Agent replied:

I'm just doing my part to make sure that it doesn't happen. Ask not what the network can do for you, ask what you can do for the network. We shall fight them in the routers, we shall fight them in the fiber, we shall fight them in the vaxen... I'm an activist, and I won't stop my activism just because I know others will take it too far.
-- Rogue Agent, posting to the dc-stuff email list.

On Dec 20 Rogue Agent wrote to me:

Ask Netta Gilboa; her magazine's in shambles and her boyfriend's in prison, while she lives in fear. Ask Josh Quittner (author of some of the best books on hackers, including The Fugitive Chase and The Watchman); for a while there, he had to change his (unlisted) phone number literally every two weeks because of the nightly anonymous calls he was getting. Somehow they always got the new number. Ask John Markoff (coauthor of the hacker best-seller Takedown); he can't even let people know what his email account is or he gets spammed the next day.

This is not a threat... All I'm doing is telling you what's coming... you're playing with fire. There is a darker element in my culture, and you're going to meet it if you keep going.

"This is not a threat." Yeah, right. That's what most of the guys who threaten us say.

Five days later, while it was still dark on Christmas morning, the owner of the Southwest Cyberport ISP where I had an account was woken by an alarm. His mail server was down. No one using that ISP could get email any more. They had been hit by a massive mailbombing by someone styling himself johnny xchaotic. jericho surfaced as the public spokesman for the attacker, claiming intimate knowledge of his techniques and motivations.

The evening of Dec. 28, someone cracked the dedicated box that Cibola Communications had been providing us at no cost to run the Happy Hacker majordomo. The intruder erased the system files and sent email to the owners threatening worse mayhem if they didn't cave in and boot us off. The attackers also wiped the system files from a computer at the University of Texas at El Paso that I was using for research, and sent threats to all email addresses on that box. The attacker called himself GALF. It was not the first or last time that GALF has struck Happy Hacker.

Damaged computers, threats, extortion, blackmail. That's life around here. After awhile it gets kinda boring, yawn -- just kidding.

Newbie note: In case you are wondering whether you can get killed in one of these battles, I have found no reports, not even rumors, of any hacker war murders. These guys only kill people by accident as a side effect of their digital mayhem. Like sending an ambulance that could save a dying child to the home of an Internet freedom fighter instead. However, if someone should threaten to kill you, you should report it and any associated computer attacks. Despite what you may hear, those of us hackers who are not computer criminals cooperate enthusiastically with law enforcement.

More on hacker wars--->>

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