The Cuisinart Blade
This tale comes from a computer hacker in the 1980s, who called himself "The Cuisinart Blade".
He recalls his childhood, growing up when computers first started to become commonplace. And he was one of the few who discovered that, those who controlled computers, could control the world.
It was commonly shared around American BBS systems until the rise of the Web, and came bundled with the Anarchist Cookbook.
What I am about to write about happened in October of 1988, right after I had turned 16.
Yes, I had a Computer. Yes, I was a hacker. Yes, this is my story.
This story is all true. The events in the story are as real as the noses on your faces. Any attempt to change this story would be boring, and unnescessary.
Hello. My Handle is The Cuisinart Blade, (I have since changed it) most people called me C.B., just as another nickname. I got into computers because I always had a knack for Games, Programs, Etc... I loved the feel of the keyboard as I typed, espically around Midnight, when School was only 7 hours away. That Dickhead in your 1st hour waiting to pick on you at the stroke of the clock. What little that he knew.
I Loved the feeling of flying through the 'Net, talking to the other Hackers like me, always trying to impress one another. They came in all fashions of Handles: The Ax Murderer, Psycho, The Hacker Kid, Phobia, Etc...the list is nearly endless. And each with an utterly unique personality, so far advanced from the Morons we all remember at high school. I loved talking to these "Wanderers of the Wunderland" so much, I would call all over the united states just to do that.
I remember back in 1988, 9600 was almost as uncommon as the newest modems of today. I loved to suck down that Jolt, turn on the overhead light in the basement, and hack until morning. Then goto school to have that enormus football jock try to scare me into submission. I will admit that, yes, he did scare me. But what a fool he was, thinking that pure brawn was power. Knowledge IS power. I never did good in High School. Knowledge is not there, it was in the 'Net! THAT was where I was a King. That was where I was a God. ANYONE who has truely roamed the 'Net or been in that type of world could tell you that, (Right, King Blotto?) hands down. I loved running home, or taking the bus, right into my basement! Homework? Bah! What a waste of time it was, compared to the thrill of Hacking? Homework was little more than review. I sat down and got onto my Computer and began to type. I called a rather large BBS in which, Hackers frequented. Nowadays they are considered "Wandering" Boards. They appear to wander because they change phone numbers all the time. Anyway, I called up my favorite Pirate BBS and went onto Multi- nodal chat to talk to the others about their exploits. Some of them had told me of their abilities to smash entire phone networks, others had told me of their A-Typical grade changes, (Yawn) But most of all I loved to brag. The unwritten rule in being a hacker, you're nothing unless you have something to brag about. At the time, I didn't, so I decided to get a name in the computer Hacking Club and do just that: Hack.
At first I wondered where I should go, what I should do. I had no idea where to begin. I had been all over the world in the 'Net, and nothing to show for it, other than just knowing of everyone, or everything. I needed more. That is the answer to everything in the mind of a Hacker, the NEED to know. I decided to try something small.
That night, my friend, (who I will call Dr.Antristo) and I, called up another Pirate BBS and Downloaded the number of a rather prominent business, (at the time) and decided to call. Our biggest fear was being traced, so we got togther and built what is nowadays almost routine, (from what I hear) a BOX. I made the call and found myself looking into a Menu System, that asked for a NAME, and Security ID. I had no idea about any security ID, or anyone who worked there, so I decided to Hang up and try in a day or 2, AFTER I did some "Checking Up" on their Company.
Wedensday came and went, I checked into the Directory, and looked for a name, someone in the Company. Personal Passwords were not being used at this company, (and they STILL arn't) so figuring that out was not important, but finding out the MAIN USER SYSTEM PASSWORD was. No prob. After finding out about a fellow who worked their, (Name Withheld), I called again. This time the Menu popped up again, and I typed his name again it asked me for a System Password. I knew the Voice Number to the Company, so I dialed it on my regular phone line and got some reception lady, you know the type, not too bright, and just a tad naieve. I told her I was in the Data Processing Department and was new, and had forgotten the System Password. It took her all of about 10 seconds to tell it to me. She didn't even bother for proof. So with that in my head I went ahead and typed it: X77-SYS1a. I was in.
My Buddy watched, as I began to move through the menus, I got to check out the General Bulletin Listing, several up-and- coming projects, (heh heh 486?) and even got to see who was late to work this morning. I wanted to get some specs on the new things they had instore for the Commercial Market, but I was unsure where to Download them to. I was fearful of doing that to my own house, so I figured I would find another place. After rummaging throught the place for about 15 minutes, I left. Personally, I was estatic. I had done it. I had gone into a rather large business and gotten to look through their system. But I needed proof, or so I thought. I wanted to show the Hackers of America, I was as good as them. I wanted what we all wanted. To be noticed and respected by the people who I would call my peers.
Now I will admit that there were MANY who were far better than me. There were guys who didn't pay a penny for any phone calls that they made. Ma Bell was sure pissed! There were others who were what I and others referred to as Professional Pirates. These were the guys who not only wrote their own software, but Cracked anything they came across, knew were to get anything, and Just seemed to be great at anything they wanted to be. These were the guys everyone tried to be like, they were the Football stars, Homecoming Kings, and all-american heroes of the 'Net.
To us they were as close to god as the pope. Turns out that they were no older than most, but they were smarter, or had a head start. These guys were, and many of them still are, unstoppable.
I got talking to another Pirate later that evening, after I had gone into the Company Mainframe, and told him of what I had done. I thought at first he'd laugh at me, but instead, he practically begged me for that Password. He said everyone in this system at that moment would give me any Wares, (Warez for you newer Hackers & Pirates) I wanted. Within 2 minutes of telling this guy, (Handle: Omega Man) the Multi-Node Chat was filled with over 20 different Hackers, Pirates, and onlookers asking for the Password, offering me Wares, and other Numbers in exchange. One guy, I will call Harlock, offered me something none of the others could. The ability to USE At&t all I wanted for free. He said he would teach me how to use their LOOP Numbers and not get caught, also teach me to call other places, drop to their dos shells, and make hidden directories where I could put my "borrowed" Wares. All for a Password.
Without hesitation, he gave me a number to his "Wandering" BBS. I disconnected with this one, and logged onto his. It was a long distance call in the 216 area code. I didn't want to stay too long, otherwise my parents would get REAL mad. I arrived at the Logon screen to be greeted with an enormus ANSI of a Kings Crown. Followed by a System Password. The SysOp of the Board typed it in for me, and took me directly into Chat. He told me that AT&T has what are called LOOP numbers, numbers that are out of circulation, but can still be used. Billing is not used, because the company writes it off as an expense on their annual tax bracket as for Public Relations, or Advertising. They don't check up on them, because with over 500 Million Nodes, and lines in this country they don't bother with the "Lost" ones. (Currently there are around 75,000 LOOP Numbers in the 312/708 Area)
He told me that in order to use one, you must find one, by what he called Garbage Screening. He told me that around where he lived they just chucked all the paper in the garbage bin and left it for the trash men on friday. (he thanked god that Recycling hadn't REALLY started yet) He advised me to do the same. Once I had the numbers, keep a blacklist of them, (of which only 1/4th still work to this day.)
Then he explained how to do it. He said I was to dial the number, wait for 2 "Chimes" then hit the Shift and Ctrl buttons. With Modem, (I still don't know how, but it worked so I am telling you) it would give me a Dial Tone, and Wala! I could then proceed to call anywhere in the world, under AT&T's Tab. Then he asked me for the Password which I happily gave him, (I may be a white-collar crook, but I am an Honorable one.) After writing it down, (I guess) he told me I was welcome to look around his system. I thanked him for the Info, then Logged offline. I was Info Hungery!
I had written the Directions for the LOOP numbers down and wanted to see what I could do. I told Dr.Antristo to power up the MouseMobile (His Jalopy) 'cause we were gonna go shopping this evening. 'Round midnight, Dr.Antristo and I got to Oakbrook, a rather large Communications Hub for the Greater Chicagoland Area. AT&T had just thrown its garbage away and there was no one around. I walked over to the bin, with Doc' in the Getaway Mouse, and looked for any kind of security measure. It had a padlock, that was no where to be found. I pushed the door open and took a look. Bags of paper and more bags. From what Harloack had told me, I had hit the jackpot. I climbed in, (You must understand, that this was the cleanest garbage I had ever seen) and began to look for anything that had to do with numbers. I also grabbed a pair of hefty bags full of paper with what looked like numbers then got to the car and we returned home.
I dumped all the stuff onto the floor and began to rummage through it. I found a lot of office memos to call some Steve guy, and letters of recommendation, as well as a few Resumes'. Then Luck. A list of numbers that were said to be disconnected or transferred to station (52?) for standard procedure. Another list detailing numbers offline or as it put it, "Out Of Circulation". At last, O.O.C.'s! I wanted to know, I had to know. I put one of them into my Telix Directory and ran it through. After a few seconds of prayer, I heard a high pitched noise, almost like a Modem, but it was off a few bars. Then I heard what I can only describe as a "Chime", then another...I hit the Shift and Ctrl Keys, and what almost sounded like Line shifting, I got a dial tone!
Dr.Antristo and I ran about the room hollering and yelling our thanks to the great Jolt god and we sat down at the computer and typed in the name of a Long Distance BBS, we could never call. Again, Success. It didn't connect because it was busy, but it went back to Dial Tone again, and we tried another. The BBS was called Crystal Palace, and it was somewhere in Canada. We logged into it, ran through the usual newuser crap and spent an hour talking to the SysOp, who was watching us at the time. We decided not to try again, until the phone bill came for the month.
1 Week later it arrived. I tore it apart to find all long distance calls done. Only one to my Aunt Kathy in Michigian! The rest were Local! I was so happy I didn't care if my father was yelling at me about opening his mail. I called Dr.Antristo and told him the great news. With this, we could do some real neat things, like call all those other Hacker Boards we could never reach.
We decieded to call the most intresting on your list, one called ToC: The Obsidian Crackhouse. It was in Germany, a place where there seemed to be a ton of Elite Pirates. We dialed into the LOOP Number and then made the overseas call Connect 9600Bps!
We tied into the BBS to find that we couldn't access, it was a Private BBS. So we settled for something in our country, a place in the 404 Area Code. A BBS called The Nutcracker Elite. We got in and "Registered" No, we wern't Cops, No, Not Federal Agents, Etc.. then we looked around to see what this guy had. Files I had never seen before, stuff from England, California, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Etc... Lists so long I couldn't believe what I was looking at. I wanted to Download everything I saw, but I was still afraid of what might happen, trying to do that. So I figured I would give ol' Harlock a Call.
I finally got ahold of him on a Friday night, around 1 in the morning, and asked him what to do. He told me what he did. He would use the LOOP Number, then call another Company, drop into their DOS, create a hidden Dir, then call out again, under THAT Companies Number. It boggled my mind, so I had him explain it again. The LOOP Number worked for you in several ways. If you use a LOOP Number to call out, if you call from another HUB, it would look like you were calling from that area. So anyone Tracing would track it to that location, and if they were good, they would only get as far as the LOOP Number origin, in which case you use another number. He warned me that the BOX was the only thing keeping AT&T from running a trace from their "Hidden" Line to my house. So I continued to use it.
That night I called some bank in the 804 Area Code. Found their General Logon Password, (from a Hacker in Vermont, thanks HAL!) and proceeded to drop to DOS. I looked at their inferior setup, all memory and nothing to show for it. I created a Hidden DIR, then exited and called out from that location using one of their company lines to another BBS in the 213 Area Code, a BBS named Psychotic Interlude. I got online and D/L'ed as much as I could. (A whopping 3 Files)
After Disconnection, I did another D/L to my house through the LOOP Number. It worked. The entire evening I was online at one place or another. I had gotten about 15 Meg worth of Wares from around the country. This Bank had so much memory it never would have missed it. (BTW, I never Deleted any of it so if you want it, you gotta go get it. ;) )
I was really beginning to enjoy this. The following evening, I went online at my usual Hacker hangout and chatted with a few guys, the topic of the day was someone in Georgia was saying that he could take down the entire Phone Grid in that state. And after doing what I did, I belived him.
October 24th, 1988
I went to Dr.Antristos house to pick up the software of what we hoped to be our new BBS. I wanted to be a SysOp. Too bad that he didn't have it.
After discussing what we could do with our abilities, we wanted to see if we could get into a Large Corperation. Watch out world, we were arriving!
That night, after slurping down a 24 pack of Jolt, we listened to some Black Sabbath, and Led Zepplin, (my favorite song by them is Cashmir on Physical Grafitti Album) we entered the world of the Hacker.
We went to our usual LOOP Number and then dialed into a Corperation in Chicago. (The name of which is withheld, but I'll give you a clue, its a Computer Company Named IBM) Well, we got to their commercial menu, where they tell you all about their products, (Yawn) and how they're the best. If they were smart they wouldn't have agreed to giving royalties to the creator of their Logon Program for all IBM Compatibles, and Regulars. (Incidently, the guy who wrote that is now worth 8+ Bil)
Anyways, we managed to snoop into General Information, but Dr.Antristo and I wanted more. We wanted much more. So I decided to try that Newbie Crap with the Reception lady again. I figured that if it worked once, it would work again.
The lady, who turned out to be a male night security guard, scolded me for calling so late, and muttered something about yuppies and their late hour workings. He looked around on the desk of wherever he was and gave me a Password to enter the IBM Mainframe, (I still laugh at this chucklehead they had hired) and in less than 20 Seconds I was looking at Commands for the Office. Turns out he gave me a Password that is not for General use. I got an Office PW.
I was looking at a menu that asked me if I wanted to shut off the lights! I gave out a manical laugh! I was god, I was immortal, I was....Hacking. I decieded not to turn off the lights, but I wanted to look at future projects slated for the next year. After browsing around, I got bored and looked into the security matrix, and found a universal password and name collection. I was feeling a bit evil that evening so, I switched, added, removed, and changed some passwords...heh heh. Cruel to the people who think they're tough shit!
I left IBM with a big grin, and a lot of experience. Dr.Antristo told me that we ought to go after other things. I wanted to know so much about everything, so I had it in my head I was going to do just that.
Only thing was, how to do it!
My Handle is The Cuisinart Blade. I am a Hacker.
This is part 2 in a three part series about my adventures as a Hacker. The events in these Text files are very real. They are written as they occured. All people in this have had their Handles changed, (unless otherwise specified).
-To continue where I left off...
I sent Dr.Antristo home after our "encounter" with IBM. I loved the fact I had entered one of the biggest Corps in the World! It was about 3:34 in the morning, I logged onto the Lunacy in the Abyss BBS, and went into the chat with my peers. After talking to them at length about my "Discoveries", I found them all asking me for the Passwords, and how I managed to get that far. I told them that only an EXPERIENCED Hacker could do such things...I will admit, I was up on myself. (shame) These others, all 13 of them, were in Awe. For once I was in the lead, I was able to scoff at some of the higher ups who had told me I would never achieve what they had. I may not have been as good as they were, but I was up with them in the big leagues!
Potempkin, Renwar, bermahn, The Drifter, Sewer Rat, and Thycho, a few names of those who were online at the time. They were all very intrested in accquiring info+ on what I had gotten into. I wanted to tell them, but I thought it best not to. Not yet..... After chatting for half the evening, I finally went to sleep, wondering what my next move should be.
October 30th, 1988
Dr.Antristo and I went Bin shopping again. We dug up a record of Ex-employees scheduled to have their Passwords cleared from the system. Someone loved us, to give us this trash. We returned home to find Passwords, Doodling, more Loop Numbers, and an old records collection of New In-Service Numbers. We wanted to know how AT&T worked, so we were going to check it out. I first needed to talk to my friend/contact in Ohio. I dialed up his number in the 216 Area and waited to chat with him. He wasn't online. Bummer. I checked a few of the other BBS's in the general area looking for people who could tell me how one was able to crack into AT&T. No one seemed to know.
On the following evening we finally got our big break. Another Hacker, told us in exchange for Loop Numbers he would give us a Password in the AT&T System. We agreed. He gave us the Password to a smaller area of AT&T and told us that it was pretty unguarded so we should have no problem finding what we wanted to look at. I was and very much still am an Astronomy Buff. I wanted to find out how many AT&T Satellites were up there. So Dr.Antristo & I were going to find out the following night.
Happy Holloween.....<Evil Grin>
On November 1st, 1988 we Called AT&T. We were buzzed off of the 24pack of Jolt we had imbibed. After connection to the Loop number we dialed into the Corperate office of AT&T and were actually given a command prompt, (after a COLORFUL Ascii Screen...Yeah...Right.) The AT&T Logo was proudly displayed onto our moniter, but we thought, with their appearant lack of security, that Pride was False. We typed in the Password and it told us that it required a name for "Security" reasons. We dug up a name and fed it into the Computer. After verification of that employee, (NEVER put your full name on stationairy!) it gave us access into the System. I thumbed through some small records and such. Nothing much to get in the way of records, or options. I decided to look into the system a bit further. After nosing through some Menus, I found a "Doorway" to the larger system. The way AT&T was, it was a bunch of smaller computers all hooked into one another by a bigger system. I was merely in one of the smaller appendages. I wanted the big guy! I opened the door and was system transferred to a larger net, where it showed scheduled Payrolls, Pink Slip notices, Active Staff Members , and a monstrofic listing of people who were behind on their payments. Jackpot! Or so I thought. No where could I find anything on AT&T Satellites, or the such. I couldn't fix any of the payrolls or even reprieve people from getting the ever-more-noticable Pink Slip. (I still think American Companies are penny pinchers for looking elsewhere for their SLAVE LABOUR)
I sat there looking through the People lists, looking for a higher up so I could "Borrow" his name...heh heh.
I couldn't locate the main file area for any of the larger ups', so I logged off for the evening. I would find out later. The Doc had an idea that would require skilful planning and cunning. I counted myself in. So there we were at 3:35 the next day, standing on a corner, on a pay phone, talking to the operater. We told the nice lady we were late for an appointment with Director of Operations and that we needed to reschedule our time, and after several minutes of chatting with the nice lady, I told her I was putting his name down in my appointment book, and I needed it spelled correctly, so She and I went through the spelling of the Director of Ops. :) I laughed as we wrote it down, little would this girl know what were up to!
After chatting for a few minutes, I disconnected and Dr.Antristo and I went home. We began to talk about how we were going to get in, as well as what we would do when we had access. He didn't know and neither did I. I guessed we'd have'ta figure it out when we got there. School homework was completed on time, (I STILL think that its a waste) and we both had dinner with our respective in- mates. (What would you call a family that no longer cared?) Evening rolled around, we were both a bit tired, so we were going to make this quick...We dialed into the Loop Number and then into the little number our Hacker buddy gave us. After we were in, I opened the Doorway and entered the main area. After scanning the place for new info, I used the fellows name and opened myself to a world of new possibilites. I found myself able to rearrange small lists of people, reverse pink slips, etc... I was in!
I checked out some of those pink slips and read up. I was horrified to find that some of these people were being canned because they were in their 40's?!? I looked for who was responsible for signing these Slips, and to my utter amazement it was the guy who I was impersonating! Well, I, being the better part of this guys conscience, decided to fix what I broke! I reversed several of the pink slips and gave one to this bastard! (Someone out there owes me there job! :) )
After dawdling with the Pink Slips, I went to check out other areas of the company. I managed to worm my way into the Special sections, like who could order what. Private lines for other companies, Tracing Codes, and Satellites. I couldn't access the Satellites, but I managed to print Screen the Private Phone Lines of other companies, (and I STILL have them) and I found a real cute doorway...it was to emergency areas. Example, A master program for the termination of the Chicagoland area. I liked that. I could axe Communtication on 3.2 million people in a mircosecond. hahaha! I didn't, of course. I went ahead and logged out. I felt very good about the things I had done. If there is a God, he must have been thinking about that moment. I know that most people out there who are Hackers or want to Hack, I know it is hard to believe, but should you ever be in the position I am, you'd understand why I did what I did. I never asked for forgiveness, as a matter of fact, I don't want it. I was aware of what I was doing, and I enjoyed it. Anyways...Dr.Antristo had told me that the Department of Defence was offering contracts to Fermi Labs, and to Argonne on the Star Wars Space Project, and that we should look into it. I liked that idea, but the government? Geez...
I thought about it for all of a month. In that time I hacked a large number of places, Mircosoft, IBM (again), Sears, Texaco, Illinois Bell, Wisconsin Bell, Prudental, My High School, (Everyone has done it, admit it), Martin Marrettia, and Jet Propultion Lab- rotories, (if you don't know what the last 2 are, STOP READING!) I had enough stuff that if I sold half of it, I could retire at the ripe age of 16! But even thought our government holds out on us, and lies, steals, and keeps secrets, I still love it. This is the land of the free.....NOT!!!
December 3rd, 1988
I was at home watching some christmas shopping commercials and drinking a Jolt, when I recieved a phone call from my buddy Dr.Antristo. He told me that Argonne had gotten the project and that someone I knew was the project manager. The Password was Anti-RX...?!? I sighed and said what the hell, why not. Lets see what our wonderful government is up to now.
After a little bit of looking into it, I found out that yes indeed someone I knew was into the project. I also found out that as of 1988-89 Star Wars was not...35% complete, but a whopping 87%. The only thing left to "Shunt" into orbit was a weapon called the Wiggler beam. A laser which concentrated high speed X-rays into a focused stream, resulting in a laser so powerful it would litterly slice incoming missiles in half. I didn't care what the thing could do, this was good information. I liked it, so I got onto Argonne National Labrotories Crey computer using a stolen password and copied the plans to an undisclosed location for later retrival.
Dr.Antristo told me to goto the Department of Energy, you know, the bigwigs with no dicks, who push everyone whom they consider beneith them around to make their things for them. (Wussies) I went from the Crey to the main computer terminal of the D.O.E. and looked around for a bit. I found something I know all you will just love, a small article of information indicating after shipping out 265 "Pink Slips" that Article 130a, said that they (all the brass at the D.O.E. were going to give themselves some raises) oh my, how cute. Well, after looking around in the D.O.E. area, I quickly shut off the computer and terminated the connection when I heard my all- powerful Father come down the stairs to talk to me. Whew!
Another fine Text of the -=M*A*S*Q*U*E*R*A*D*E=-