Suelette dreyfus julian assange



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Mathews didn't announce himself as being a Telenet guy. He just

slipped quietly onto Altos looking like any other hacker. He might

engage a hacker in conversation, but he let the hacker do most of the

talking. He was there to listen.

On that fateful day, Par happened to be in one of his magnanimous

moods. Par had never had much money growing up, but he was always very

generous with what he did have. He talked for a little while with the

unknown hacker on Altos, and then gave him one of the debit cards

taken from his visits to the CitiSaudi computer. Why not? On Altos, it

was a bit like handing out your business card. `The

Parmaster--Parameters Par Excellence'.

Par had got his full name--The Parmaster--in his earliest hacking

days. Back then, he belonged to a group of teenagers involved in

breaking the copy protections on software programs for Apple IIes,

particularly games. Par had a special gift for working out the copy

protection parameters, which was a first step in bypassing the

manufacturers' protection schemes. The ringleader of the group began

calling him `the master of parameters'--The Parmaster--Par, for short.

As he moved into serious hacking and developed his expertise in X.25

networks, he kept the name because it fitted nicely in his new

environment. `Par?' was a common command on an X.25 pad, the modem

gateway to an X.25 network.

`I've got lots more where that come from,' Par told the stranger on

Altos. `I've got like 4000 cards from a Citibank system.'

Not long after that, Steve Mathews was monitoring Altos again, when

Par showed up handing out cards to people once more.

`I've got an inside contact,' Par confided. `He's gonna make up a

whole mess of new, plastic cards with all these valid numbers from the

Citibank machine. Only the really big accounts, though. Nothing with a

balance under $25000.'

Was Par just making idle conversation, talking big on Altos? Or would

he really have gone through with committing such a major fraud?

Citibank, Telenet and the US Secret Service would never know, because

their security guys began closing the net around Par before he had a

chance to take his idea any further.

Mathews contacted Larry Wallace, fraud investigator with Citibank in

San Mateo, California. Wallace checked out the cards. They were valid

all right. They belonged to the Saudi-American Bank in Saudi Arabia

and were held on a Citibank database in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Wallace determined that, with its affiliation to the Middle Eastern

bank, Citibank had a custodial responsibility for the accounts. That

meant he could open a major investigation.

On 7 November, Wallace brought in the US Secret Service. Four days

later, Wallace and Special Agent Thomas Holman got their first major

lead when they interviewed Gerry Lyons of Pacific Bell's security

office in San Francisco.

Yes, Lyons told the investigators, she had some information they might

find valuable. She knew all about hackers and phreakers. In fact, the

San Jose Police had just busted two guys trying to phreak at a pay

phone. The phreakers seemed to know something about a Citibank system.

When the agents showed up at the San Jose Police Department for their

appointment with Sergeant Dave Flory, they received another pleasant

surprise. The sergeant had a book filled with hackers' names and

numbers seized during the arrest of the two pay-phone phreakers. He

also happened to be in possession of a tape recording of the phreakers

talking to Par from a prison phone.

The cheeky phreakers had used the prison pay phone to call up a

telephone bridge located at the University of Virginia. Par, the

Australian hackers and other assorted American phreakers and hackers

visited the bridge frequently. At any one moment, there might be eight

to ten people from the underground sitting on the bridge. The

phreakers found Par hanging out there, as usual, and they warned him.

His name and number were inside the book seized by police when they

were busted.

Par didn't seem worried at all.

`Hey, don't worry. It's cool,' he reassured them. `I have just

disconnected my phone number today--with no forwarding details.'

Which wasn't quite true. His room-mate, Scott, had indeed disconnected

the phone which was in his name because he had been getting prank

calls. However, Scott opened a new telephone account at the same

address with the same name on the same day--all of which made the job

of tracking down the mysterious hacker named Par much easier for the

law enforcement agencies.

In the meantime, Larry Wallace had been ringing around his contacts in

the security business and had come up with another lead. Wanda Gamble,

supervisor for the Southeastern Region of MCI Investigations, in

Atlanta, had a wealth of information on the hacker who called himself

Par. She was well connected when it came to hackers, having acquired a

collection of reliable informants during her investigations of

hacker-related incidents. She gave the Citibank investigator two

mailbox numbers for Par. She also handed them what she believed was

his home phone number.

The number checked out and on 25 November, the day after Thanksgiving,

the Secret Service raided Par's house. The raid was terrifying. At

least four law enforcement officers burst through the door with guns

drawn and pointed. One of them had a shotgun. As is often the case in

the US, investigators from private, commercial organisations--in this

case Citibank and Pacific Bell--also took part in the raid.

The agents tore the place apart looking for evidence. They dragged

down the food from the kitchen cupboards. They emptied the box of

cornflakes into the sink looking for hidden computer disks. They

looked everywhere, even finding a ceiling cavity at the back of a

closet which no-one even knew existed.

They confiscated Par's Apple IIe, printer and modem. But, just to be

sure, they also took the Yellow Pages, along with the telephone and

the new Nintendo game paddles Scott had just bought. They scooped up

the very large number of papers which had been piled under the coffee

table, including the spiral notebook with Scott's airline bookings

from his job as a travel agent. They even took the garbage.

It wasn't long before they found the red shoebox full of disks peeping

out from under the fish tank next to Par's computer.

They found lots of evidence. What they didn't find was Par.

Instead, they found Scott and Ed, two friends of Par. They were pretty

shaken up by the raid. Not knowing Par's real identity, the Secret

Service agents accused Scott of being Par. The phone was in his name,

and Special Agent Holman had even conducted some surveillance more

than a week before the raid, running the plates on Scott's 1965 black

Ford Mustang parked in front of the house. The Secret Service was sure

it had its man, and Scott had a hell of a time convincing them

otherwise.

Both Scott and Ed swore up and down that they weren't hackers or

phreakers, and they certainly weren't Par. But they knew who Par was,

and they told the agents his real name. After considerable pressure

from the Secret Service, Scott and Ed agreed to make statements down

at the police station.

In Chicago, more than 2700 kilometres away from the crisis unfolding

in northern California, Par and his mother watched his aunt walk down

the aisle in her white gown.

Par telephoned home once, to Scott, to say `hi' from the Midwest. The

call came after the raid.

`So,' a relaxed Par asked his room-mate, `How are things going at

home?'

`Fine,' Scott replied. `Nothing much happening here.'



Par looked down at the red bag he was carrying with a momentary

expression of horror. He realised he stood out in the San Jose bus

terminal like a peacock among the pigeons ...

Blissfully ignorant of the raid which had occurred three days before,

Par and his mother had flown into San Jose airport. They had gone to

the bus terminal to pick up a Greyhound home to the Monterey area.

While waiting for the bus, Par called his friend Tammi to say he was

back in California.

Any casual bystander waiting to use the pay phones at that moment

would have seen a remarkable transformation in the brown-haired boy at

the row of phones. The smiling face suddenly dropped in a spasm of

shock. His skin turned ash white as the blood fled south. His deep-set

chocolate brown eyes, with their long, graceful lashes curving upward

and their soft, shy expression, seemed impossibly large.

For at that moment Tammi told Par that his house had been raided by

the Secret Service. That Scott and Ed had been pretty upset about

having guns shoved in their faces, and had made statements about him

to the police. That they thought their phone was tapped. That the

Secret Service guys were still hunting for Par, they knew his real

name, and she thought there was an all points bulletin out for him.

Scott had told the Secret Service about Par's red bag, the one with

all his hacking notes that he always carried around. The one with the

print-out of all the Citibank credit card numbers.

And so it was that Par came to gaze down at his bag with a look of

alarm. He realised instantly that the Secret Service would be looking

for that red bag. If they didn't know what he looked like, they would

simply watch for the bag.

That bag was not something Par could hide easily. The Citibank

print-out was the size of a phone book. He also had dozens of disks

loaded with the cards and other sensitive hacking information.

Par had used the cards to make a few free calls, but he hadn't been

charging up any jet skis. He fought temptation valiantly, and in the

end he had won, but others might not have been so victorious in the

same battle. Par figured that some less scrupulous hackers had

probably been charging up a storm. He was right. Someone had, for

example, tried to send a $367 bouquet of flowers to a woman in El Paso

using one of the stolen cards. The carder had unwittingly chosen a

debit card belonging to a senior Saudi bank executive who happened to

be in his office at the time the flower order was placed. Citibank

investigator Larry Wallace added notes on that incident to his growing

file.

Par figured that Citibank would probably try to pin every single



attempt at carding on him. Why not? What kind of credibility would a

seventeen-year-old hacker have in denying those sorts of allegations?

Zero. Par made a snap decision. He sidled up to a trash bin in a dark

corner. Scanning the scene warily, Par casually reached into the red

bag, pulled out the thick wad of Citibank card print-outs and stuffed

it into the bin. He fluffed a few stray pieces of garbage over the

top.

He worried about the computer disks with all his other valuable



hacking information. They represented thousands of hours of work and

he couldn't bring himself to throw it all away. The 10 megabyte

trophy. More than 4000 cards. 130000 different transactions. In the

end, he decided to hold on to the disks, regardless of the risk. At

least, without the print-out, he could crumple the bag up a bit and

make it a little less conspicuous. As Par slowly moved away from the

bin, he glanced back to check how nondescript the burial site appeared

from a distance. It looked like a pile of garbage. Trash worth

millions of dollars, headed for the dump.

As he boarded the bus to Salinas with his mother, Par's mind was

instantly flooded with images of a homeless person fishing the

print-out from the bin and asking someone about it. He tried to push

the idea from his head.

During the bus ride, Par attempted to figure out what he was going to

do. He didn't tell his mother anything. She couldn't even begin to

comprehend his world of computers and networks, let alone his current

predicament. Further, Par and his mother had suffered from a somewhat

strained relationship since he ran away from home not long after his

seventeenth birthday. He had been kicked out of school for

non-attendance, but had found a job tutoring students in computers at

the local college. Before the trip to Chicago, he had seen her just

once in six months. No, he couldn't turn to her for help.

The bus rolled toward the Salinas station. En route, it travelled down

the street where Par lived. He saw a jogger, a thin black man wearing

a walkman. What the hell is a jogger doing here, Par thought. No-one

jogged in the semi-industrial neighbourhood. Par's house was about the

only residence amid all the light-industrial buildings. As soon as the

jogger was out of sight of the house, he suddenly broke away from his

path, turned off to one side and hit the ground. As he lay on his

stomach on some grass, facing the house, he seemed to begin talking

into the walkman.

Sitting watching this on the bus, Par flipped out. They were out to

get him, no doubt about it. When the bus finally arrived at the depot

and his mother began sorting out their luggage, Par tucked the red bag

under his arm and disappeared. He found a pay phone and called Scott

to find out the status of things. Scott handed the phone to Chris,

another friend who lived in the house. Chris had been away at his

parents' home during the Thanksgiving raid.

`Hold tight and lay low,' Chris told Par.

`I'm on my way over to pick you up and take you to a lawyer's office

where you can get some sort of protection.'

A specialist in criminal law, Richard Rosen was born in New York but

raised in his later childhood in California. He had a personality

which reflected the steely stubbornness of a New Yorker, tempered with

the laid-back friendliness of the west coast. Rosen also harboured a

strong anti-authoritarian streak. He represented the local chapter of

Hell's Angels in the middle-class County of Monterey. He also caused a

splash representing the growing midwifery movement, which promoted

home-births. The doctors of California didn't like him much as a

result.


Par's room-mates met with Rosen after the raid to set things up for

Par's return. They told him about the terrifying ordeal of the Secret

Service raid, and how they were interrogated for an hour and a half

before being pressured to give statements. Scott, in particular, felt

that he had been forced to give a statement against Par under duress.

While Par talked to Chris on the phone, he noticed a man standing at

the end of the row of pay phones. This man was also wearing a walkman.

He didn't look Par in the eye. Instead, he faced the wall, glancing

furtively off to the side toward where Par was standing. Who was that

guy? Fear welled up inside Par and all sorts of doubts flooded his

mind. Who could he trust?

Scott hadn't told him about the raid. Were his room-mates in cahoots

the Secret Service? Were they just buying time so they could turn him

in? There was no-one else Par could turn to. His mother wouldn't

understand. Besides, she had problems of her own. And he didn't have a

father. As far as Par was concerned, his father was as good as dead.

He had never met the man, but he heard he was a prison officer in

Florida. Not a likely candidate for helping Par in this situation. He

was close to his grandparents--they had bought his computer for him as

a present--but they lived in a tiny Mid-Western town and they simply

wouldn't understand either.

Par didn't know what to do, but he didn't seem to have many options at

the moment, so he told Chris he would wait at the station for him.

Then he ducked around a corner and tried to hide.

A few minutes later, Chris pulled into the depot. Par dove into the

Toyota Landcruiser and Chris tore out of the station toward Rosen's

office. They noticed a white car race out of the bus station after

them.


While they drove, Par pieced together the story from Chris. No-one had

warned him about the raid because everyone in the house believed the

phone line was tapped. Telling Par while he was in Chicago might have

meant another visit from the Secret Service. All they had been able to

do was line up Rosen to help him.

Par checked the rear-view mirror. The white car was still following

them. Chris made a hard turn at the next intersection and accelerated

down the California speedway. The white car tore around the corner in

pursuit. No matter what Chris did, he couldn't shake the tail. Par sat

in the seat next to Chris, quietly freaking out.

Just 24 hours before, he had been safe and sound in Chicago. How did

he end up back here in California being chased by a mysterious driver

in a white car?

Chris tried his best to break free, swerving and racing. The white car

wouldn't budge. But Chris and Par had one advantage over the white

car; they were in a four-wheel drive. In a split-second decision,

Chris jerked the steering wheel to one side. The Landcruiser veered

off the road onto a lettuce field. Par gripped the inside of the door

as the 4WD bounced through the dirt over the neat crop rows. Near-ripe

heads of lettuce went flying out from under the tires. Half-shredded

lettuce leaves filled the air. A cloud of dirt enveloped the car. The

vehicle skidded and jerked, but finally made its way to a highway at

the far end of the field. Chris hit the highway running, swerving into

the lane at high speed.

When Par looked back, the white car had disappeared. Chris kept his

foot on the accelerator and Par barely breathed until the Landcruiser

pulled up in front of Richard Rosen's building.

Par leaped out, the red bag still clutched tightly under his arm, and

high-tailed it into the lawyer's office. The receptionist looked a bit

shocked when he said his name. Someone must have filled her in on the

details.

Rosen quickly ushered him into his office. Introductions were brief

and Par cut to the story of the chase. Rosen listened intently,

occasionally asking a well-pointed question, and then took control of

the situation.

The first thing they needed to do was call off the Secret Service

chase, Rosen said, so Par didn't have to spend any more time ducking

around corners and hiding in bus depots. He called the Secret

Service's San Francisco office and asked Special Agent Thomas J.

Holman to kill the Secret Service pursuit in exchange for an agreement

that Par would turn himself in to be formally charged.

Holman insisted that they had to talk to Par.

No, Rosen said. There would be no interviews for Par by law

enforcement agents until a deal had been worked out.

But the Secret Service needed to talk to Par, Holman insisted. They

could only discuss all the other matters after the Secret Service had

had a chance to talk with Par.

Rosen politely warned Holman not to attempt to contact his client. You

have something to say to Par, you go through me, he said. Holman did

not like that at all. When the Secret Service wanted to talk to

someone, they were used to getting their way. He pushed Rosen, but the

answer was still no. No no no and no again. Holman had made a mistake.

He had assumed that everyone wanted to do business with the United

States Secret Service.

When he finally realised Rosen wouldn't budge, Holman gave up. Rosen

then negotiated with the federal prosecutor, US Attorney Joe Burton,

who was effectively Holman's boss in the case, to call off the pursuit

in exchange for Par handing himself in to be formally charged.

Then Par gave Rosen his red bag, for safekeeping.

At about the same time, Citibank investigator Wallace and Detective

Porter of the Salinas Police interviewed Par's mother as she returned

home from the bus depot. She said that her son had moved out of her

home some six months before, leaving her with a $2000 phone bill she

couldn't pay. They asked if they could search her home. Privately, she

worried about what would happen if she refused. Would they tell the

office where she worked as a clerk? Could they get her fired? A simple

woman who had little experience dealing with law enforcement agents,

Par's mother agreed. The investigators took Par's disks and papers.

Par turned himself in to the Salinas Police in the early afternoon of

12 December. The police photographed and fingerprinted him before

handing him a citation--a small yellow slip headed `502 (c) (1) PC'.

It looked like a traffic ticket, but the two charges Par faced were

felonies, and each carried a maximum term of three years for a minor.

Count 1, for hacking into Citicorp Credit Services, also carried a

fine of up to $10000. Count 2, for `defrauding a telephone service',

had no fine: the charges were for a continuing course of conduct,

meaning that they applied to the same activity over an extended period

of time.


Federal investigators had been astonished to find Par was so young.

Dealing with a minor in the federal court system was a big hassle, so

the prosecutor decided to ask the state authorities to prosecute the

case. Par was ordered to appear in Monterey County Juvenile Court on

10 July 1989.

Over the next few months, Par worked closely with Rosen. Though Rosen

was a very adept lawyer, the situation looked pretty depressing.

Citibank claimed it had spent $30000 on securing its systems and Par

believed that the corporation might be looking for up to $3 million in

total damages. While they couldn't prove Par had made any money from

the cards himself, the prosecution would argue that his generous

distribution of them had led to serious financial losses. And that was

just the financial institutions.

Much more worrying was what might come out about Par's visits to TRW's

computers. The Secret Service had seized at least one disk with TRW

material on it.

TRW was a large, diverse company, with assets of $2.1 billion and

sales of almost $7 billion in 1989, nearly half of which came from the

US government. It employed more than 73000 people, many of who worked

with the company's credit ratings business. TRW's vast databases held

private details of millions of people--addresses, phone numbers,

financial data.


Directory: ~suelette -> underground

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