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Фантастика. Фэнтези
   Зарубежная фантастика
      Bruce Sterling. The hacker crackdown -
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incoln's Secretary of the Treasury. McCulloch wanted a specialized Treasury police to combat counterfeiting. Abraham Lincoln agreed that this seemed a good idea, and, with a terrible irony, Abraham Lincoln was shot that very night by John Wilkes Booth. The Secret Service originally had nothing to do with protecting Presidents. They didn't take this on as a regular assignment until after the Garfield assassination in 1881. And they didn't get any Congressional money for it until President McKinley was shot in 1901. The Service was originally designed for one purpose: destroying counterfeiters. # There are interesting parallels between the Service's nineteenth-century entry into counterfeiting, and America's twentieth-century entry into computer-crime. In 1865, America's paper currency was a terrible muddle. Security was drastically bad. Currency was printed on the spot by local banks in literally hundreds of different designs. No one really knew what the heck a dollar bill was supposed to look like. Bogus bills passed easily. If some joker told you that a one-dollar bill from the ъailroad Bank of Lowell, Massachusetts had a woman leaning on a shield, with a locomotive, a cornucopia, a compass, various agricultural implements, a railroad bridge, and some factories, then you pretty much had to take his word for it. (And in fact he was telling the truth!) *Sixteen hundred* local American banks designed and printed their own paper currency, and there were no general standards for security. Like a badly guarded node in a computer network, badly designed bills were easy to fake, and posed a security hazard for the entire monetary system. No one knew the exact extent of the threat to the currency. There were panicked estimates that as much as a third of the entire national currency was faked. Counterfeiters -- known as "boodlers" in the underground slang of the time -- were mostly technically skilled printers who had gone to the bad. Many had once worked printing legitimate currency. Boodlers operated in rings and gangs. Technical experts engraved the bogus plates -- commonly in basements in New York City. Smooth confidence men passed large wads of high-quality, high- denomination fakes, including the really sophisticated stuff -- government bonds, stock certificates, and railway shares. Cheaper, botched fakes were sold or sharewared to low-level gangs of boodler wannabes. (The really cheesy lowlife boodlers merely upgraded real bills by altering face values, changing ones to fives, tens to hundreds, and so on.) The techniques of boodling were little-known and regarded with a certain awe by the mid- nineteenth-century public. The ability to manipulate the system for rip-off seemed diabolically clever. As the skill and daring of the boodlers increased, the situation became intolerable. The federal government stepped in, and began offering its own federal currency, which was printed in fancy green ink, but only on the back - - the original "greenbacks." And at first, the improved security of the well-designed, well-printed federal greenbacks seemed to solve the problem; but then the counterfeiters caught on. Within a few years things were worse than ever: a *centralized* system where *all* security was bad! The local police were helpless. The Government tried offering blood money to potential informants, but this met with little success. Banks, plagued by boodling, gave up hope of police help and hired private security men instead. Merchants and bankers queued up by the thousands to buy privately-printed manuals on currency security, slim little books like Laban Heath's *Infallible Government Counterfeit Detector.* The back of the book offered Laban Heath's patent microscope for five bucks. Then the Secret Service entered the picture. The first agents were a rough and ready crew. Their chief was one William P. Wood, a former guerilla in the Mexican War who'd won a reputation busting contractor fraudsters for the War Department during the Civil War. Wood, who was also Keeper of the Capital Prison, had a sideline as a counterfeiting expert, bagging boodlers for the federal bounty money. Wood was named Chief of the new Secret Service in July 1865. There were only ten Secret Service agents in all: Wood himself, a handful who'd worked for him in the War Department, and a few former private investigators -- counterfeiting experts -- whom Wood had won over to public service. (The Secret Service of 1865 was much the size of the Chicago Computer Fraud Task Force or the Arizona ъacketeering Unit of 1990.) These ten "Operatives" had an additional twenty or so "Assistant Operatives" and "Informants." Besides salary and per diem, each Secret Service employee received a whopping twenty-five dollars for each boodler he captured. Wood himself publicly estimated that at least *half* of America's currency was counterfeit, a perhaps pardonable perception. Within a year the Secret Service had arrested over 200 counterfeiters. They busted about two hundred boodlers a year for four years straight. Wood attributed his success to travelling fast and light, hitting the bad-guys hard, and avoiding bureaucratic baggage. "Because my raids were made without military escort and I did not ask the assistance of state officers, I surprised the professional counterfeiter." Wood's social message to the once-impudent boodlers bore an eerie ring of Sundevil: "It was also my purpose to convince such characters that it would no longer be healthy for them to ply their vocation without being handled roughly, a fact they soon discovered." William P. Wood, the Secret Service's guerilla pioneer, did not end well. He succumbed to the lure of aiming for the really big score. The notorious Brockway Gang of New York City, headed by William E. Brockway, the "King of the Counterfeiters," had forged a number of government bonds. They'd passed these brilliant fakes on the prestigious Wall Street investment firm of Jay Cooke and Company. The Cooke firm were frantic and offered a huge reward for the forgers' plates. Laboring diligently, Wood confiscated the plates (though not Mr. Brockway) and claimed the reward. But the Cooke company treacherously reneged. Wood got involved in a down-and-dirty lawsuit with the Cooke capitalists. Wood's boss, Secretary of the Treasury McCulloch, felt that Wood's demands for money and glory were unseemly, and even when the reward money finally came through, McCulloch refused to pay Wood anything. Wood found himself mired in a seemingly endless round of federal suits and Congressional lobbying. Wood never got his money. And he lost his job to boot. He resigned in 1869. Wood's agents suffered, too. On May 12, 1869, the second Chief of the Secret Service took over, and almost immediately fired most of Wood's pioneer Secret Service agents: Operatives, Assistants and Informants alike. The practice of receiving $25 per crook was abolished. And the Secret Service began the long, uncertain process of thorough professionalization. Wood ended badly. He must have felt stabbed in the back. In fact his entire organization was mangled. On the other hand, William P. Wood *was* the first head of the Secret Service. William Wood was the pioneer. People still honor his name. Who remembers the name of the *second* head of the Secret Service? As for William Brockway (also known as "Colonel Spencer"), he was finally arrested by the Secret Service in 1880. He did five years in prison, got out, and was still boodling at the age of seventy- four. # Anyone with an interest in Operation Sundevil - - or in American computer-crime generally -- could scarcely miss the presence of Gail Thackeray, Assistant Attorney General of the State of Arizona. Computer-crime training manuals often cited Thackeray's group and her work; she was the highest-ranking state official to specialize in computer-related offenses. Her name had been on the Sundevil press release (though modestly ranked well after the local federal prosecuting attorney and the head of the Phoenix Secret Service office). As public commentary, and controversy, began to mount about the Hacker Crackdown, this Arizonan state official began to take a higher and higher public profile. Though uttering almost nothing specific about the Sundevil operation itself, she coined some of the most striking soundbites of the growing propaganda war: "Agents are operating in good faith, and I don't think you can say that for the hacker community," was one. Another was the memorable "I am not a mad dog prosecutor" (*Houston Chronicle,* Sept 2, 1990.) In the meantime, the Secret Service maintained its usual extreme discretion; the Chicago Unit, smarting from the backlash of the Steve Jackson scandal, had gone completely to earth. As I collated my growing pile of newspaper clippings, Gail Thackeray ranked as a comparative fount of public knowledge on police operations. I decided that I had to get to know Gail Thackeray. I wrote to her at the Arizona Attorney General's Office. Not only did she kindly reply to me, but, to my astonishment, she knew very well what "cyberpunk" science fiction was. Shortly after this, Gail Thackeray lost her job. And I temporarily misplaced my own career as a science-fiction writer, to become a full-time computer-crime journalist. In early March, 1991, I flew to Phoenix, Arizona, to interview Gail Thackeray for my book on the hacker crackdown. # "Credit cards didn't used to cost anything to get," says Gail Thackeray. "Now they cost forty bucks -- and that's all just to cover the costs from *rip-off artists.*" Electronic nuisance criminals are parasites. One by one they're not much harm, no big deal. But they never come just one by one. They come in swarms, heaps, legions, sometimes whole subcultures. And they bite. Every time we buy a credit card today, we lose a little financial vitality to a particular species of bloodsucker. What, in her expert opinion, are the worst forms of electronic crime, I ask, consulting my notes. Is it -- credit card fraud? Breaking into ATM bank machines? Phone-phreaking? Computer intrusions? Software viruses? Access-code theft? ъecords tampering? Software piracy? Pornographic bulletin boards? Satellite TV piracy? Theft of cable service? It's a long list. By the time I reach the end of it I feel rather depressed. "Oh no," says Gail Thackeray, leaning forward over the table, her whole body gone stiff with energetic indignation, "the biggest damage is telephone fraud. Fake sweepstakes, fake charities. Boiler-room con operations. You could pay off the national debt with what these guys steal.... They target old people, they get hold of credit ratings and demographics, they rip off the old and the weak." The words come tumbling out of her. It's low-tech stuff, your everyday boiler-room fraud. Grifters, conning people out of money over the phone, have been around for decades. This is where the word "phony" came from! It's just that it's so much *easier* now, horribly facilitated by advances in technology and the byzantine structure of the modern phone system. The same professional fraudsters do it over and over, Thackeray tells me, they hide behind dense onion-shells of fake companies.... fake holding corporations nine or ten layers deep, registered all over the map. They get a phone installed under a false name in an empty safe-house. And then they call-forward everything out of that phone to yet another phone, a phone that may even be in another *state.* And they don't even pay the charges on their phones; after a month or so, they just split. Set up somewhere else in another Podunkville with the same seedy crew of veteran phone-crooks. They buy or steal commercial credit card reports, slap them on the PC, have a program pick out people over sixty-five who pay a lot to charities. A whole subculture living off this, merciless folks on the con. "The 'light-bulbs for the blind' people," Thackeray muses, with a special loathing. "There's just no end to them." We're sitting in a downtown diner in Phoenix, Arizona. It's a tough town, Phoenix. A state capital seeing some hard times. Even to a Texan like myself, Arizona state politics seem rather baroque. There was, and remains, endless trouble over the Martin Luther King holiday, the sort of stiff-necked, foot-shooting incident for which Arizona politics seem famous. There was Evan Mecham, the eccentric ъepublican millionaire governor who was impeached, after reducing state government to a ludicrous shambles. Then there was the national Keating scandal, involving Arizona savings and loans, in which both of Arizona's U.S. senators, DeConcini and McCain, played sadly prominent roles. And the very latest is the bizarre AzScam case, in which state legislators were videotaped, eagerly taking cash from an informant of the Phoenix city police department, who was posing as a Vegas mobster. "Oh," says Thackeray cheerfully. "These people are amateurs here, they thought they were finally getting to play with the big boys. They don't have the least idea how to take a bribe! It's not institutional corruption. It's not like back in Philly." Gail Thackeray was a former prosecutor in Philadelphia. Now she's a former assistant attorney general of the State of Arizona. Since moving to Arizona in 1986, she had worked under the aegis of Steve Twist, her boss in the Attorney General's office. Steve Twist wrote Arizona's pioneering computer crime laws and naturally took an interest in seeing them enforced. It was a snug niche, and Thackeray's Organized Crime and ъacketeering Unit won a national reputation for ambition and technical knowledgeability.... Until the latest election in Arizona. Thackeray's boss ran for the top job, and lost. The victor, the new Attorney General, apparently went to some pains to eliminate the bureaucratic traces of his rival, including his pet group -- Thackeray's group. Twelve people got their walking papers. Now Thackeray's painstakingly assembled computer lab sits gathering dust somewhere in the glass-and-concrete Attorney General's HQ on 1275 Washington Street. Her computer-crime books, her painstakingly garnered back issues of phreak and hacker zines, all bought at her own expense -- are piled in boxes somewhere. The State of Arizona is simply not particularly interested in electronic racketeering at the moment. At the moment of our interview, Gail Thackeray, officially unemployed, is working out of the county sheriff's office, living on her savings, and prosecuting several cases -- working 60-hour weeks, just as always -- for no pay at all. "I'm trying to train people," she mutters. Half her life seems to be spent training people - - merely pointing out, to the naive and incredulous (such as myself) that this stuff is *actually going on out there.* It's a small world, computer crime. A young world. Gail Thackeray, a trim blonde Baby- Boomer who favors Grand Canyon white-water rafting to kill some slow time, is one of the world's most senior, most veteran "hacker-trackers." Her mentor was Donn Parker, the California think-tank theorist who got it all started 'way back in the mid- 70s, the "grandfather of the field," "the great bald eagle of computer crime." And what she has learned, Gail Thackeray teaches. Endlessly. Tirelessly. To anybody. To Secret Service agents and state police, at the Glynco, Georgia federal training center. To local police, on "roadshows" with her slide projector and notebook. To corporate security personnel. To journalists. To parents. Even *crooks* look to Gail Thackeray for advice. Phone-phreaks call her at the office. They know very well who she is. They pump her for information on what the cops are up to, how much they know. Sometimes whole *crowds* of phone phreaks, hanging out on illegal conference calls, will call Gail Thackeray up. They taunt her. And, as always, they boast. Phone-phreaks, real stone phone-phreaks, simply *cannot shut up.* They natter on for hours. Left to themselves, they mostly talk about the intricacies of ripping-off phones; it's about as interesting as listening to hot-rodders talk about suspension and distributor-caps. They also gossip cruelly about each other. And when talking to Gail Thackeray, they incriminate themselves. "I have tapes," Thackeray says coolly. Phone phreaks just talk like crazy. "Dial-Tone" out in Alabama has been known to spend half-an- hour simply reading stolen phone-codes aloud into voice-mail answering machines. Hundreds, thousands of numbers, recited in a monotone, without a break -- an eerie phenomenon. When arrested, it's a rare phone phreak who doesn't inform at endless length on everybody he knows. Hackers are no better. What other group of criminals, she asks rhetorically, publishes newsletters and holds conventions? She seems deeply nettled by the sheer brazenness of this behavior, though to an outsider, this activity might make one wonder whether hackers should be considered "criminals" at all. Skateboarders have magazines, and they trespass a lot. Hot rod people have magazines and they break speed limits and sometimes kill people.... I ask her whether it would be any loss to society if phone phreaking and computer hacking, as hobbies, simply dried up and blew away, so that nobody ever did it again. She seems surprised. "No," she says swiftly. "Maybe a little... in the old days... the MIT stuff... But there's a lot of wonderful, legal stuff you can do with computers now, you don't have to break into somebody else's just to learn. You don't have that excuse. You can learn all you like." Did you ever hack into a system? I ask. The trainees do it at Glynco. Just to demonstrate system vulnerabilities. She's cool to the notion. Genuinely indifferent. "What kind of computer do you have?" "A Compaq 286LE," she mutters. "What kind do you *wish* you had?" At this question, the unmistakable light of true hackerdom flares in Gail Thackeray's eyes. She becomes tense, animated, the words pour out: "An Amiga 2000 with an IBM card and Mac emulation! The most common hacker machines are Amigas and Commodores. And Apples." If she had the Amiga, she enthuses, she could run a whole galaxy of seized computer-evidence disks on one convenient multifunctional machine. A cheap one, too. Not like the old Attorney General lab, where they had an ancient CP/M machine, assorted Amiga flavors and Apple flavors, a couple IBMS, all the utility software... but no Commodores. The workstations down at the Attorney General's are Wang dedicated word-processors. Lame machines tied in to an office net -- though at least they get on- line to the Lexis and Westlaw legal data services. I don't say anything. I recognize the syndrome, though. This computer-fever has been running through segments of our society for years now. It's a strange kind of lust: K-hunger, Meg-hunger; but it's a shared disease; it can kill parties dead, as conversation spirals int

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