Re: Is this "Kooky"

Brian D Williams (
Thu, 4 Mar 1999 09:11:24 -0800 (PST)

From: (Christian Weisgerber)

>A few years back, when I read about American phreaks
>re-programming the switches of the telephone company, I was awed.
>What incredible abilities must these people have to do something
>that should by all rights be impossible? Well, my respect
>collapsed when I read _The Hacker Crackdown_. The telcos had left
>maintenance modem ports on-line, without password protection, and
>anybody who stumbled over the number could dial in and--after
>figuring out the system from the online help or manuals found in
>the trash dumpster at the telco's building--take control. No
>extraordinary abilities required. How could anybody in his right
>mind be so incredibly stupid to set such a system up?

Yep, security was lax, that's because nobody had interfered with operations before.

A little over ten years ago when I took my present job, guarding against crackers was a new art. Within a few months I was (under alias) on the top cracker boards in the world. It came in handy (still does) as far as computer security is concerned. I remember my first meeting with the security people. The head honcho said: " I hear you're pretty good with computer virii, well I've got a dozen or so in my collection." I had thousands, including many not seen till a year or so later in the wild. The people who write them send them to me to be checked out. heh heh... and added to my anti-virus software.

>So, maybe you only need to send a carrier on certain ("secret")
>frequencies to control the satellite or some such thing? Something
>that should be well in the ability of a radio amateur.

I have many friends who have PHD's in every field of computers and electronics, and are hackers of the old school. Most are also amateur radio hounds as well. They have had private radio/data channels running with MIR for years, just for fun (uploading pictures for lonely cosmonauts).

They design most of the gear used on satelites, taking one over would be easy for them, so I would assume there are others capable of the same trick. I suspect members of the former soviet union/east germany.

Member, Extropy Institute