1992 Photos
SummerCon Hackers Conference

On the last Friday of June I picked up Omega, Phaedrus and Tigerbomb and drove us to LAX and we flew to St. Louis for SummerCon, the annual hacker's convention. It was the final SummerCon; after that, the venue changed to Las Vegas and the name changed to DefCon.

It was The Old Days of hackerdom...total attendance was 80. (At DefCon 2003, there were well over 6,000 attendees.)

I'm not a hacker in the least, but Omega and Phaedrus were. They had just gained membership in The Cult of the Dead Cow, the world's leading hacker organization, and they invited me to attend. And by bringing Tigerbomb, it turned out that we doubled the babe population at the convention.

The airport hotel food was dreadful, and we had to hike three quarters of a mile on freeway bridges to get to a mall with restaurants.

Omega and Phaedrus and I wrote this first draft and submitted it to Mondo 2000 magazine. I don't remember now why it was never published.

It's inappropriate to call hackers "wizards" because it completely denies the hard work and study involved.  To call their craft magical is to call it deeply incomprehensible, something which defies logic.  This metaphor distracts people from the nuts-and-bolts reality: anyone can hack systems, including you -- all it takes is patience and an inquisitive mind.  This is knowledge that people want to suppress.
                           -- Phaedrus

       After a three hour plane ride, we arrive at an undisclosed hotel somewhere in the North American midwest.  It's just past lunchtime, and all that the four of us want to do is find our room and get something to eat.
       A bunch of young men in their early twenties lounge around the lobby -- obviously lacking anything better to do than watch the door.  On the way to the room, we pass through the gauntlet.
       "Who are you?" asks one of them, in dark-framed glasses and bearing paper and pen.
       "We're us," Colin reports, as we walk away.
       We stow our gear and return to the lobby to find the hotel's restaurant.  The inquisitor with the pen sees us and resumes his task.
       "Handles?  NPA?"
       Handle means moniker or nom-de-hack.  NPA stands for Numbering Plan Area; it means area code.  He wants to know our aliases in cyberspace and what general region of the country we represent.
       We tell him.

       We sit in the practically-empty hotel dining room, the four of us, along with Mr. Icom and somebody from Phalcon Skizm, the virus people.  Ads for one of their bulletin board systems brag:

- Over 700 Legitimate Tested Viruses
- Over 300 Trojans/Infected Files

       Icom's into wireless communication stuff; he brought a small radio transmitter with which he plans to simulate demon possession of a McDonald's drive-thru speaker.  He knows all of the frequencies alloted to the fast-food companies.
       Our waiter arrives, and he's very suspicious.  It's clear from his body language and how he carries himself that either this is his first day on the job, or else he's got a lot on his mind.  He appears to be late twenties, early thirties, caucasian.
       "What domestic beers do you have?"
       "Uhh...  wait a minute."  The waiter walks into the next room.  Almost a minute passes.  Then he returns.
       "We have Michelob, Bud, Bud Lite..."
       After we order and the waiter leaves, somebody says, "This guy's an agent, either FBI or SS, whichever."

       In the lobby again.  A guy with dark hair asks 0mega who he is.  0mega tells him, then asks, "Who are you?"
       0mega guesses.  "Emmanuel Goldstein?"  The guy flinches.  The message on his face is crystal clear: don't you know my face?  Where have you been, under a rock?  I've been on Geraldo!
       "Try again."
       It's Craig Neidorf, SummerCon's chief organizer, otherwise known as Knight Lightning. Craig's been on television and all over the media, speaking on behalf of hackers everywhere, after his trial.  Somehow he's come to believe his own hype (that he's been elected President of Hack America, or something).
       We said goodbye to Craig and go back toward the room.  People are standing in the hallway, talking.
       "...so somebody asked me when I was going to take a shower, and I said, 'after the maid cleans my room.'  Then she says, 'clean it up your own damn self!'"
       The hotel is a dump.  We discover that the headboards of our beds aren't attached to the bed frame at all, they hang like pictures on boards nailed to the wall.  Our air conditioner has been filled with placebo-freon; the machine moves air around a little but it's the same damn temperature, so any chilling you notice is purely psychological.  The base plate of our doorjam keeps climbing out of its depression in the floor, making it impossible to shut the door without stamping the board back down into the floor.
       We mention these things to the people next to us, in the Suite of the Elite.
       "That's nothing.  Take a look at our mold."  One of them points us to the picture hanging on the wall.
       "We didn't know it was mold until we were in someone else's room and realized that we all have the same design, except for this big black stain."
       The mold in the picture is huge.  It must be at least a year old.
       "We wanted to take it to the front desk, but the pictures are nailed to the wall."
       "Don't crack it open," someone advises.
       "No problem," someone else says.
       We go outside to check on the pool.  Call it curiosity.  Once there, we notice a thin layer of sickening green algae.
       "So much for the pool," someone says.

       A dozen or so of us, including Louis Cipher and the 617 crew, decide to go shopping.  Our destination sits about a mile away, past the maze of freeway ramps surrounding our hotel.  We make it across the asphalt amid honking horns and pass through a graveyard to get to the huge mall.
       Many of the hackers have long hair, lots of guys have earrings and there are a few nose rings: totally ordinary in any mall on the West coast, but this wasn't the coast, not by a long shot.
       We're almost through the parking lot and to the entrance when a cop car pulls up.  The cop gets out, nightstick in hand.
       "Where you going?"
       "To the mall, officer," pointing to the huge edifice only ten yards away.
       "What'cher plans?"
       "We're going to eat."
       "We don't fool around out here, boys.  If there's any trouble, you're all going to jail."  He gets back in his cruiser.
       "Fucking Welcome Wagon," someone says.

       We enter through Dillard's department store and take the escalator up.  People are still tittering over the cop's remarks.  We're getting looked-over by the locals everywhere in the mall, particularly by security guards.
       Eventually we meander to the food section of the mall, where Count Zero orders a soft taco and a Big Juan from Taco Time.  Unfortunately, the taco doesn't come with instructions, like the Taco Bell soft tacos do, and Zero's a little disappointed.
       Emmanuel Goldstein has showed up with a rainbow box, and is making familiar redbox and bluebox sounds with it.  Goldstein publishes a quarterly known as 2600.  He's tall, with long hair, wearing a 2600 T-shirt and jeans.  He's roughly in his late twenties and speaks with a New York accent.
       Craig Neidorf and his group show up.  They drove.  Neidorf sits next to White Knight. All eyes are on White Knight because everyone except Craig knows that White Knight wants to kick his ass. White Knight can't stand his personality.
       Craig sees White Knight's hot dog and moves it a foot away from its owner.  A high school prank.  White Knight doesn't say anything or do anything, he's just waiting for Craig to give it back.  Zero reaches across the table and replaces it on White Knight's tray.  Finally, White Knight begins to eat his food and not pound Craig into the tile.
       Everyone eases up, except Craig, who's completely ignorant of the whole scene.
       We go downstairs to the arcade and waste an hour and several dollars.  The group slowly disperses, and when we finally regroup there's only the West coast contingent, Magic Man and White Knight left.  We decide to go get liquor.
       The 617 people have been to Phar-Mor already, so they lead the way.  Once inside, we make a beeline for the cold beer.  White Knight and 0mega want pictures of themselves standing in front of a display at the back of the store, but a Phar-Mor employee interrupts and tells them it's illegal to take pictures inside the market.
       Colin buys a bottle of Old Crow whiskey.  Phaedrus buys two six-packs of beer, two bottles of water, three packs of peanut M&Ms and a large sack of Cheetos.  Claire buys two bottles of water, gum and shit.  White Knight buys Circus Peanuts (pure sugar) and a large bottle of premixed red margaritas.

       We make it back to the hotel at nightfall.  The hackers have congregated in the pool area, so we bring our ethanol and join them.
       Doc Holliday and Crimson Death sit at one corner of the pool deck, drinking and smoking.  Doc is wearing his Ray-Bans, although it's night.
       "You know, XmasCon was the best one of these I've been to, in the six years that these things have been happening."
       "Because more intense shit was going on, and people weren't hanging out in their little cliques."  He indicates the clusters of people with a nod.  "That's the California people, there's the Boston people.  It wasn't like that at Xmas."
       Golgo 13 passes out little red rubber lobsters to everyone he sees.  He must have dozens.  White Knight's drinking his margarita mix straight from the bottle.  "It tastes just like Kool-Aid, that's why I bought it."  He's pretty fucked-up.
       The hackers meet and greet each other, exchanging handles and NPAs.  People are using their area codes casually to denote geographic location, as if everyone's memorized the list of area codes.  Some probably have.
       Craig shows up, he starts making the rounds, trying to get as many people to go see Batman Returns with him as he can.
       "Me and some others are going to throw Craig in the pool," says White Knight, but soon Craig leaves with some people and nothing happens.
       "Why the fuck are they going to see Batman?" someone asks.
       "Two years ago, a bunch of people went to see the first Batman at SummerCon, it was the opening.  I guess Craig's trying to relive a little nostalgia," answers Crimson Death.
       Brian Oblivion, who's been spending the evening listening to others' conversation and drinking a Bacardi mixer, suddenly raps the bottle way too hard against the concrete.  The bottle shatters into lots of tiny glass fragments, making a new obstacle course element for tomorrow's pool patrons.
       Somebody discharges a fire extinguisher out their window and in the general direction of the pool area.  Then, someone plants a roman candle in the grass and lights it off.  Some people are walking around on the roof.
       "Are we going to get thrown out of here?" someone asks.
       "Nah, this has happened five years in a row.  Why would they complain now?" is the reply.

       The conference room isn't nearly full at noon, the official start time.
       "Where's 0mega?" Craig asks.  "Where is everyone?"
       "A lot of people still need to shower," says somebody.
       "OK," says Craig.  "We'll postpone this for forty five minute.  One o'clock, everyone."

       We go downstairs to the dining room, and it's packed.  Emmanuel Goldstein stands near our table, so we strike up a conversation and invite him to sit down.  He accepts.
       It's fifteen minutes before the waitress even brings us a menu, and another five before we order.  Only Emmanuel and Phaedrus order food at our table.  They both ask for hamburgers.
       "What kind of cheese do you want on that?" the waitress asks Goldstein.
       "Uh, American," he says, and she walks away.
       Phaedrus makes a face.  "Yuck, I can't stand American cheese."
       "I can't either," Goldstein confesses.  "I just panicked."
       Emmanuel talks about his radio show in New York, on which he plays strange telephone noises and messages.  Tapes won't be available until he figures out how to record from the studio.
       Then he mentions that, at 12:01 this morning, his local phone company switched to 5ESS.  Before then, his local area had been served by antiquated crossbar switching.
       We mention last night's run-in with the police at the mall.  Goldstein says he wishes he'd been there, he would've gotten in that cop's face.
       We discuss it later among ourselves and decide that Emmanuel probably would have gotten in the cop's face, although he was timid enough to be caught off-guard by the waitress.  The feeling we get is that Goldstein's courage comes from fierce contempt for authority.  When there isn't an establishment to rebel against, his belligerence dissolves.

The Conference
       There are 75 people in the conference room, two of whom are female.  Maybe there's a few stragglers who couldn't find the room -- that makes about 80 total attendance.  Everyone's easily under 30 except Colin.
       People are seated mostly around the outside of an uneven "U" of tables.  Many people are wearing Phrack, 2600, or homebrew t-shirts which proclaim their hacker allegiances.
       The Restricted Data Transmissions crew from the Boston area are seated together at the end of the long side of the "U."  They have buttons for sale and have set up a little display.
       Everyone's sitting around, talking, waiting for the show to get on the road.  Craig's brought an advance copy of Bruce Sterling's nonfiction book about Operation Sundevil, and he's asking prominent hackers to sign it, like it's a yearbook or something.  For some reason, they do it.
       "Where's G.A. Ellsworth and Swamp Ratte?" some of the cDc people are asking.  Nobody knows.

       Finally, after obligatory introductions, Dispater is the first to speak.  He reports the government owns the hotel.  Something happened where the hotel owners defaulted on their loan and then the bank failed, and so the government holds the lease now.  Something like that, at any rate.  This raises eyebrows.   He goes on to mention that this is probably a security concern, but since the SummerCon's been held at the same damn hotel for six years straight, there was a security concern with the site anyway.
       Dispater then thanks the Restricted Data Tranmissions group for all their help with Phrack, but repeatedly calls them "RTD," as in mass-transit.

       Next up is Gatsby.  He tells the Multiplexor story, out of which came the "tightly-knit group of 1,000 hackers" doing credit fraud disinformation.  A guy named Prisoner carded his way from Rhode Island to San Diego and rented a room.  Then he broke into a Zale's jewelry store and pulled credit reports.  Eventually, he was evicted, and left a stack of credit printouts in the abandoned apartment.  The landlord called the police.
       Eventually, the cops tracked Prisoner, who now called himself Multiplexor, to the Sleepytime Hotel in Pacific Beach.  A police inspector named Sadler arrested him and called the FBI.  Multiplexor fully cooperated, which included him borrowing one of Gatsby's accounts to buffer incriminating BBS messages, or some such shit.
       "The moral of the story is don't let your accounts out," Gatsby says.  Apparently the buffered text that Multiplexor got off some system was sufficient for indicting others.

      Next, Agent Steal tells the Kevin Poulsen story.  He calls Poulsen "a dedicated hacker" which, considering the source, is quite a compliment.  Steal met him in 1986.  They hung out for a while and pulled freaky scams, like posing as telco employees and asking for tours of the central office.
       Poulsen had a lot of illegal stuff in storage, tons of phone company equipment, for example.  He didn't pay the storage bill one month, and when the storage guy saw what was in there, he called the police, who called Pac Bell, who in turn called the FBI.
       Poulsen met a pimp with an idea: if you open the Los Angeles Yellow Pages to the category "Escort Services" you find lots of big display ads but when you call the number you get "pooo-wooo--weee! We're sorry, that number is no longer in service." Ditto for the massage section.
       He hacked into the phone net and rerouted the phone calls to the pimp's phone rather than to the telco no-longer-in-service module. This amounted to free yellow pages advertising and thus was quite valuable for gray market items.
       Then the pimp got busted and rolled over on Poulsen.  Poulsen got popped, but the LAPD didn't know he had a federal warrant out for him.  Poulsen was released and immediately went into hiding.
       Then he called Steal.  The FBI, who had been monitoring Poulsen's every move, put Steal on surveillance.  A week later, Steal called a friend in the phone company and learned that he had a DNR [dialed number recorder] on his line.
       Steal took everything and drove to Texas in a Porsche he'd stolen, where he hid for a while but was eventually nabbed.  The FBI think Poulsen was after DoD stuff "with intent to harm the US."  If they convict him on these charges, he faces 20 years.
       Someone has a question.  "How do you license a carded Porsche?"
       "You don't.  If you crash it, you card another one."
       Somebody asks "how come your hair is so long if you were in jail for four months?"
       "I was in federal jail.  They don't make you cut your hair," Steal answers.

       Next is Emmanuel Goldstein, editor/publisher of 2600 magazine, "The Hacker Quarterly."   Recent issues are 50 pages of want-ad-sized type.  The magazine sells 3,000 copies per issue on newsstands, and has 1,000 subscribers.  (The subscriber list is encrypted and kept on one machine only, except for backups, which never leave the office.)
       Goldstein believes the public interest in 2600 stems from a mistrust of government and big business.  "A lot of people are learning to manipulate technology, and there's nothing wrong with that...  The government can do the same things we can.  People want to know what they know, and how to counter it."
       "Hackers need to realize there's a lot of things they [the public] don't know...  They know what we do, they just don't understand how we do it."
       "Hacking is people playing with phones," he says.  "[And 2600 is] people manipulating technology to their advantage--why shouldn't they?  Someone is."


        2600 tries to print things that cause a reaction.  Despite offering videos on how to break into military computers, 2600 has never been sued in nine years of publication.  "We don't know what we're doing wrong.  What do we have to do?"
       2600 printed all 1085 possible combinations of the Simplex lock (used nationwide on Federal Express dropboxes), and also listed of hundreds of schools using Simplex locks.  Using these instructions, ignorant dolts can open any Simplex lock in 20 minutes. 2600 magazine tried to sound the alarm--THIS IS NOT A LOCK!!! DON'T TRUST IT!!--but the national media stonewalled it.  Goldstein even invited the media to a public press conference, where he showed videotape of unidentified hackers opening Federal Express dropboxes.  Still, no press.
       There are university students with only Simplex locks in their dorms.  They wrote to 2600 and complained that Goldstein shouldn't have published the how-to.  "Anybody could do it anyway [break into simplex locks]; we're telling you about it, basically.  And the locks still haven't been changed as a result."
       "Basically, [2600 and hackers in general] are ignored till something happens, then we get blamed."

        "If what happened to Craig happened to 2600, it would be front-page news, Goldstein says.  2600 doesn't let surveillance interfere with putting the magazine out.   No intimidation; at no time have they backed down from printing.  2600's a printed magazine, which makes a difference (allude to KL's case) -- First Amendment protects it.

        My question: what happened to Craig? (Knight Lightning?) MOD case?

       Goldstein tells us that 2600 is "what we make of it."  2600 needs writers.
       There are less BBSs now.  More Internet stuff now.  (point he's trying to make is that, although the scene has changed remarkably, it's even better now, actually.  We SHOULD be able to write more now.  Should have more to write about.  What are we waiting for?)  There is strength in numbers.

       Goldstein finishes up with voicemail systems and COCOTS (coin-operated customer-owned telephones). There's a lot to talk about them, he says.  COCOTS have less security than regular telco-owned payphones, thus more vulnerable to phreaks.
       2600 doesn't give away the store for real damaging information. That's probably why Emmanuel Goldstein has not been sued in 9 years of publication.  He says he's been bitterly criticized for such things as printing lists of area codes, interesting 800 numbers, telenet directories--all items of public domain.
       "What about 2600 printing Tymnet addresses?  Tymnet doesn't do it.  (should 2600?)"  Answer: "Well, we're filling a void, aren't we?"
       Many people send log-in information for specific systems, but 2600 doesn't print that stuff.  It would be encouragement to commit crimes.
       "We get lots of fax stuff. We feel we have the right to print it."



       Real hackers don't invade people's privacy......except in hacker-vs-hacker vendettas.  (Picked up later when Bloodaxe is on the podium)
    We're not breaking in: we're exploring. It's all how you phrase it.
    Anybody interested in First Amendment should be interested in these issues.
 Lots of people support 2600.

       "We don't want to invade people's privacy -- that we do is the biggest myth.  (Except for a select group -- segue into MoD, etc.)"

       "Maybe there's no such thing as security?"  (important point.  Is there such a thing as security?  Is that the point we're trying to make?  Is there such a thing as impenetrability?)


      Mentions appearance on "NOW IT CAN BE TOLD."
        Flashback to HoHoCon to show video there?  We need reports of HoHoCon to flesh in this one. Concatenations. Makes valid Jesse's story of abject Hilton apology at end of conference.


      Control C stands up and describes his history with Michigan Bell.  As a teenager, he hacked into their computers and prowled around. Learned how to get in and do things, and one day got so absorbed he spent 4 hours rummaging in telco Central Office.
       The next day Michigan Bell security called him and invited him to lunch.  "I figured, they were being polite."  So he accepted.
       At lunch were two Michigan Bell security people and a couple of sheriff deputies.  Bell offered him a job in security as a hacker testing system integrity.  He signed a contract which exonerated him from past crimes against the telco and happily hacked away for months.  He set up scans, tested system security for their computers.
       Then an ex-cop replaced his boss and fired Control C.
       Then the Secret Service subpeoned him to provide fingerprint and handwriting samples.
       Wait, he said, my contract cleared me from any hacking I had ever done to the phone system.
       The Justice Department said, you signed a contract with Bell, not the federal government--you're going to jail.
       The court appointed an awful attorney for Control C, but  thankfully, the Electronic Freedom Foundation spent money to get him a real lawyer.
       During the grand jury indictment proceedings, his best friends in the world, brothers in the Legion of Doom, testified against him.  The Feds offered him a deal: plead guilty to one of 30 charges, serve two to eight months in jail, and get out owing a $233,000 fine.
       Control C says, "My lawyer and I told them," extending an upside-down middle finger, "'hear that?  No?  Let me turn it up for you!'" and flips over his hand.
       The lawyer made it stick: he was scheduled to take a polygraph on January 4, 1990, but the Justice Department informed him that the test would have to be rescheduled.  That rescheduling has yet to happen.
       "For two years, I haven't touched a computer, don't think about them... nothing."

      Signal Surfer -- "really ought to be a way for [_everyone_] to get to the rest of the [electronic] universe."  project: may be able to get your mom easily on net.  For people with limited access.  Limited set of computer knowledge.  Dial-up, batch-oriented, self-evident software.
       Looking for beta-testers.  & Demo accounts 'till July.
       Showing business world to start in this community and get some of the best talent.  He's Made a fair part of that journey.
       "I want to see more hackers who aren't ashamed to call themselves hackers, working in the industry."
       (Stuff about having a boss that'll send you home if you come in wearing a suit.  Also quip about getting your girlfriend on the net -MM)

Hackers getting on in the world; What else should hackers do for a living, except work with computers.  There's no contradiction here (of hackers doing legitimate computer work), look at Wozniak: funded college education by selling blue-boxes door-to-door.

Signal Surfer
   Mac software for networking--looking for beta testers.
    There should be a way for ordinary people to get contact with the E-mail world. Get your mom on the Internet without requiring her to learn anything about computers: a user-friendly front end for E-mail . Something to sell to college students who are flushed froom their campus E-mail systems at the end of the school year.
    Mike scarfs copy of this software to use on Claire, perfect test subject.


      Last with something to present is Erik BloodAxe, alias Chris Goggans, former member of the Legion of Doom.  Partner in ComSec.

       How ComSec got info on Landmark Graphics. Unethical, others said?
       rehashed Hoho Con stuff.  Talks about anal retentive computer security industry.  Critical Computerworld articles.
       Had article in ComputerWorld 7/29/91.  Expected to become columnist, but magazine management scuttled him.  He read aloud a recently published letter attacking his article.


       ISPNews asked him to write an article for the Sept/Oct '91 issue, but then the advisory board decided against publication.
       Bloodaxe reads long article aloud to us to show how it does not help hackers hack. The article points out security problems in Sprint, TymNet and other long distance operations. Sprint sent Bloodaxe a letter telling him he was a liar and a thief. He called and asked which am I?
       One guy called Bloodaxe & Holliday "insolent puppies, dogs with fleas."
     Also stuff about his article not getting published in ISPNews; going to publish it in The Security Insider Report and then give it out electronically (we had better bug him about this!) -MM)

       LOD vs. MOD:
       Goggans mentions the Mothers of Destruction raids in New York.
       "The way we look at MoD is the way the rest of the world looks at hackers," says somebody.
       Chris and Scott (Doc Holliday) helped bust some members of MoD by going to the FBI.  Many other hackers independently did the same thing.
       One MoD member was caught with 50,000 unsigned VISA numbers.
       Main Fagin of of MoD was Phiber Optik, who was seen hacking into GTE equipment on camera for Japanese TV.
       Phiber Optik had been harrassing LoD people for a long time, had messed-up their phone service, posted their credit reports on high-traffic areas of the Internet, harrassed their parents, left physical threats against Bloodaxe, others.
        Crimson Death mentions how MoD hacked his switch at college and gave him access to features like call waiting, call forwarding, etc, which telco quickly noted since he was under surveillance.  And knew it.  He was able to convince telco of his innocence.

       He and Emmanuel Goldstein argued about the prosecution & conviction of Phiber Optik after police raided some of the Mothers of Destruction in New York.

       A large rift developed in the conversation between two camps.  Some people agreed that hackers should never go to the authorities and turn other hackers in, no matter what, because it erodes the community and law enforcement can't be trusted.  The others believed that if you fuck with somebody too much, you should expect the worst, including getting turned over to the police, and some cops can be trusted.


       Emmanuel Goldstein asks Bloodaxe to describe what it's like to go to the FBI.
       FBI is not like fumbling dunces at Secret Service.  FBI has very knowledgable dudes.  Could explain things and they understood.
       Shouldn't you have handled this hacker-to-hacker?  Goldstein asks.  Emmanual Goldstein says "Couldn't it have been settled hacker to hacker without involving the FBI?" 


       Goldstein said Bloodaxe should have used hacker skills to deflect Phiber Optik's attack.  Gives example: suddenly all phones at 2600 magazine were jangling away, hundreds and hundreds of calls, all from people wanting to buy cheap air fares to Europe.
       Goldstein could have called in the authorities.  Instead, he discovered that a travel agency's answering machine in New York was giving out 2600's number; he used his hacking skills to alter the answering machine.

       ComSec was attempting to be a legitimate business.  If you're in a position of legitimacy, and hackers against us, report it. (We have no other choice in the matter.. we're trying to run a legitimate business -- what other action could we have taken while being under the magnifying glass of the world -- "We couldn't have farted in a crowded elevator without it making the front page.")
       Retaliation was not feasible.  What are we going to do, dig up info and hassle their grandmothers the way they're hassling mine?

     "Okay, you were able to stop it," says a guy in the corner to Emmanuel Goldstein. "What if you couldn't stop it? What if your business continued to be shut down by an endless stream of wrong numbers dominating your phone lines?"
    A guy stood up to say to Bloodaxe: "We're all doing illegal things. Aren't you putting yourself on the other side of the fence by going to the FBI?
......Difficult question.


       Craig Neidorf eventually intercedes.  "I think this is something we could argue over all night, and still not change anyone's mind."  He declares the session closed.
       Emmanuel Goldstein is immediately surrounded by people with ten-dollar bills.  He's got exactly ten 2600 t-shirts left, and it's first-come, first-served.  Colin and Misha get shirts.  Also, Colin buys a year's worth of 2600 back issues.

        They argued back and forth about it and later I bought the four latest copies of 2600 and saw that Phiber Optik is listed as being on the staff.  Internecine warfare.


       It seemed that people got a bit giddy around other hackers -- they forgot everything they'd been saying about surveillance, about how we know that the FBI knew where and when the Con would be, etc., because most of the participants took to wearing their new Phrack and 2600 t-shirts in public.  Not exactly low profile, much less camouflage.

       Ooooooo, Saturday we crossed the freeway and went to Friday's for dinner and some glam band was at the next table, and after they left the waitresses were all goggly and told us breathlessly that we'd been sitting next to SLAUGHTER! who was opening for the Ozzy Osbourne show that night.  Boy were we impressed.
       Saturday night, Agent Steal asks if anyone has a beer for him.  I do--a Guinness.  I open it and give it to him, and he stand there saying, "This is too warm."  He repeats it and I realize he's talking about the beer and not the climate.  The legendary hacker can't handle warm English beer.  No fault of his own, I guess.
       We figured the phones were probably tapped.  Maybe it was true and maybe not.  The payphones were certainly flagged with DNRs, if not tapped.  Rooms may have been bugged.  In any event, it didn't really matter.  No alliances were struck, nothing new happened.  People just talked shop, caught up on old times, and discussed things that had been on the back burner for months.
       Crimson Death, Frosty and I spent Saturday late night in the 805 suite doing Kids in the Hall impressions.
      Brian Oblivion et. al. went trashing Saturday night.  No one knows what they got.

       About 6:00 am the phone rings.  And rings.  And finally 0mega picks it up.  Somebody says there's cops in the lobby, that a bust is going down.  0mega thanks the guy and hangs up.  We're too tired to do anything about it.
       Phaedrus asks if we shouldn't go next door and warn the Boston people, but all of us are too lazy at 6:00 am to do it.
       "Well, the door's locked, and I'm not letting anyone in without a warrant," Phaedrus says.  "We don't have anything illegal, do we?"
       "No," 0mega moans.  "But if there's really a bust, I'm sure the cops have brought something."


       I cannot remember how many times the hotel fucks told us we were going to jail. they didn't even let us out of our rooms on saturday night....told us, if one of us went in the hall, that we were all 'going to jail'....jail must be pretty bad up there...and full...  -- Louis Cipher

       A couple of security guards approach Erik Bloodaxe, who is wearing a baseball cap turned-around atop his elbow-length blond hair.
       "Mall rules don't allow clothing to be worn in any manner other than those for which they were designed, sir.  I'll have to ask you to straighten your cap."
       They argue for a short time, then Emmanuel Goldstein's cellular phone rings.  The other guard starts reading the riot act.
       "Mall rules don't allow cellular phones or pagers, sir.  I'll have to ask you to leave."
       "What mall rules?"
       They're taken to the entrance (across the mall) where a small sign lists rules six and three: no inappropriately-worn clothing, no cellular phones or pagers.
       The hackers and guards argue for a long time, and eventually no one gets thrown out or arrested.

       Someone says later that this mall has had a lot of problems with local gangs, shootings even.  But although the group's obviously from elsewhere, it doesn't stand to reason that they're a gang.

       Goldstein went to a shop and bought baseball caps for everybody in the group and they wore them backwards the rest of their time in the mall. It was all a defense against gangs, the mall security told us. We decided that we should split into two groups, one wearing the white Phrack T-shirts and the other wearing the black 2600 T-shirts.

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