A History Of Hacking Essay Research Paper

A History Of Hacking Essay, Research Paper

A history of hacking

Hacking has been around for more than a century. In the

1870s, several teenagers were flung off the country’s brand

new phone system by enraged authorities. Here’s a peek at

how busy hackers have been in the past 35 years.

Early 1960s

University facilities with huge mainframe computers, like

MIT’s artificial intelligence lab, become staging grounds

for hackers. At first, “hacker” was a positive term for a person

with a mastery of computers who could push programs

beyond what they were designed to do.

Early 1970s

John Draper makes a long-distance call for

free by blowing a precise tone into a

telephone that tells the phone system to open

a line. Draper discovered the whistle as a

give-away in a box of children’s cereal.

Draper, who later earns the handle “Captain

Crunch,” is arrested repeatedly for phone tampering

throughout the 1970s.

Yippie social movement starts YIPL/TAP (Youth International

Party Line/Technical Assistance Program) magazine to help

phone hackers (called “phreaks”) make free long-distance


Two members of California’s Homebrew Computer Club

begin making “blue boxes,” devices used to hack into the

phone system. The members, who adopt handles “Berkeley

Blue” (Steve Jobs) and “Oak Toebark” (Steve Wozniak), later

go on to found Apple Computer.

Early 1980s

Author William Gibson coins the term “cyberspace” in a

science fiction novel called Neuromancer.

In one of the first arrests of hackers, the FBI busts the

Milwaukee-based 414s (named after the local area code) after

members are accused of 60 computer break-ins ranging

from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to Los Alamos

National Laboratory.

Comprehensive Crime Control Act gives Secret

Service jurisdiction over credit card and

computer fraud.

Two hacker groups form, the Legion of Doom

in the United States and the Chaos Computer

Club in Germany.

2600: The Hacker Quarterly is founded to share tips on

phone and computer hacking.

Late 1980s

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act gives more clout to

federal authorities.

Computer Emergency Response Team is formed by U.S.

defense agencies. Based at Carnegie Mellon University in

Pittsburgh, its mission is to investigate the growing volume of

attacks on computer networks.

At 25, veteran hacker Kevin Mitnick secretly monitors the

e-mail of MCI and Digital Equipment security officials. He is

convicted of damaging computers and stealing software and is

sentenced to one year in prison.

First National Bank of Chicago is the victim of a $70-million

computer heist.

An Indiana hacker known as “Fry Guy” — so named for

hacking McDonald’s — is raided by law enforcement. A similar

sweep occurs in Atlanta for Legion of Doom hackers known

by the handles “Prophet,” “Leftist” and “Urvile.”

Early 1990s

After AT&T long-distance service crashes on Martin Luther

King Jr. Day, law enforcement starts a national crackdown

on hackers. The feds nab St. Louis’ “Knight Lightning” and in

New York grab Masters of Deception trio “Phiber Optik,” ”

Acid Phreak” and “Scorpion.” Fellow hacker “Eric Bloodaxe”

is picked up in Austin, Texas.

Operation Sundevil, a special team of Secret Service agents

and members of Arizona’s organized crime unit, conducts

raids in 12 major cities, including Miami.

A 17-month search ends in the capture of hacker Kevin Lee

Poulsen (”Dark Dante”), who is indicted for stealing military


Hackers break into Griffith Air Force Base, then pewwwte

computers at NASA and the Korean Atomic Research

Institute. Scotland Yard nabs “Data Stream,” a 16-year-old

British teenager who curls up in the fetal position when seized.

A Texas A&M professor receives death threats after a

hacker logs on to his computer from off-campus and sends

20,000 racist e-mail messages using his Internet address.

In a highly publicized case, Kevin

Mitnick is arrested (again), this

time in Raleigh, N.C., after he is

tracked down via computer by

Tsutomu Shimomura at the San

Diego Supercomputer Center.

Late 1990s

Hackers break into and deface

federal Web sites, including the

U.S. Department of Justice, U.S.

Air Force, CIA, NASA and


Report by the General Accounting Office finds Defense

Department computers sustained 250,000 attacks by hackers

in 1995 alone.

A Canadian hacker group called the Brotherhood, angry at

hackers being falsely accused of electronically stalking a

Canadian family, break into the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

Web site and leave message: “The media are liars.”

Family’s own 15-year-old son eventually is identified as

stalking culprit.

Hackers pierce security in Microsoft’s NT operating

system to illustrate its weaknesses.

Popular Internet search engine Yahoo! is hit by hackers

claiming a “logic bomb” will go off in the PCs of Yahoo!’s

users on Christmas Day 1997 unless Kevin Mitnick is released

from prison. “There is no virus,” Yahoo! spokeswoman Diane

Hunt said.


Anti-hacker ad runs during Super Bowl XXXII. The Network

Associates ad, costing $1.3-million for 30 seconds, shows two

Russian missile silo crewmen worrying that a computer

order to launch missiles may have come from a hacker. They

decide to blow up the world anyway.

In January, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics is inundated

for days with hundreds of thousands of fake information

requests, a hacker attack called “spamming.”

Hackers break into United Nation’s Children Fund Web

site, threatening a “holocaust” if Kevin Mitnick is not freed.

Hackers claim to have broken into a Pentagon network and

stolen software for a military satellite system. They threaten

to sell the software to terrorists.

The U.S. Justice Department unveils National Infrastructure

Protection Center, which is given a mission to protect the

nation’s telecommunications, technology and transportation

systems from hackers.

Hacker group L0pht, in testimony before Congress, warns it

could shut down nationwide access to the Internet in less

than 30 minutes. The group urges stronger security measures.


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