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Articles concerning California Fremont bust, March 1986 by Independent (IND)

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Articles concerning California "Fremont bust", March 1986. The feds recently arrested seven hackers and phreakers in fremont through a sting operation which centered around the phony bbs "phoenix fortress". The following are newspaper articles that deal with this operation, which is being hailed as a major step in the "war" against hacking Compiled by Maxwell's Demon ** The Mercury News March 6, 1986 Computer Sting Nets 7 Teen Suspects he calls himself the revenger. Others, like the highwayman, captain hacker and dr. Bob, know him well. Using computers, they've been giving him stolen credit card numbers and other illegal information for more than four months. But the seven hackers arrested wednesday in fremont didn't know him well enough. The revenger is sgt. Dan pasquale, a fremont police officer who's been operating waht he says is the nation's first computer sting operation based at a local law enforcement agency. Since november, when he first tapped into a nationwide underground computer network, pasquale said, he has communicated regularly with about 130 computer thieves in at least seven states. Of the seven hackers, or phreakers, arrested wednesday, three were 15 years old; two were 16; one was 17; and one, 19. A few of them, pasquale said, operate in a bay area hackers group called the nihilist order, based in fremont and sunnyvale. The charges, mostly misdemeanors, range from trafficking in stolen long distance service codes and stolen credit card numbers to possession of stolen property and dangerous weapons (a martial arts weapon). Conviction would mean forfeiture of the computer equiptment, pasquale said. After serving search warrents early wednesday morning on the seven fremont residences where the young men live with their parents, police confiscated at least $12,000 worth of compuper equiptment. Pasquale would not reveal what schools the teens attend, but he did say that "they live in all districts of town." Although paquale does not yet know the amount of money or value of the stolen merchandise involved in the scams, he said it was in the area of "tens of thousands of dollars." "The average (charge) on 25 mci codes alone is about $100 each, with $1500 on one of them," said pasquale, as he sat at his apple computer in a closet-like room at fremont ploice headquarters. Approximately 300 long-distance telephone service numbers and credit card account numbers have been recovered so far in the investigation. The telephone numbers and passwords to several educational and corporate computers were located and the owners notified. And several interstate groups of hackers have been identified, including high mountain hackers, kaaos inc. And shadow brotherhood. Scams included charging mail-order merchandise to stolen credit card numbers and selling the goods and charging calls internationally to telephone service numbers. Some data bases had tips on how to alter grades through computers, "how to defraud a money-changer machine and how to get money from a bank" by entering at the end of the day and giving the teller the wrong account number. On a more local basis, there were tips about which liquor stores in town would sell to minors and who was selling drugs at school. Hanging above pasquale's computer terminal is a sheet of paper describing "the revenger". His real name was supposedly wally richards, a 25 year-old hayward man who "phreaked back east a little" in new jersey. The hot spots for hackers, pasquale said, are the bay area; phoenix arizona; austin, texas; florida; and a strip along the east coast from new jersey to cambridge, mass. "It's place where you have your silicon valleys" that they tend to pop up, he said. Pasquale used an electronic bulletin board he called phoenix fortress. When he introduced his board to other computer users, he called it the "newest, coolest, phreak board in town." Boards, which are date bases used by hackers to exchange information, have various security levels, and only trusted users have access to the highest levels. Some bulletin board systems are legitimate. Those that aren't are known as pirate, or phreak boards, containing stolen information. Examples of phreak boards include bank vualt, containing stolen credit card information and tips on credit card scams, and phreakers phortress, dealing in telephone scams. Pasquale said he thought the hackers were motivated more by the challenge and satisfaction of cracking a data base than by the results of such manipulation. "Some are very knowledgeably about main-fram systems," pasquale said. "It's the the in thing. It's high tech. They get it from school. There are kids with the intelligence and wherewithal to sit for hours at a time at a computer." Pasquale said the parents of the teens arrested wednesday "thought they were using legitimate boards." One reason the police announced the results of their sting operation before the investigation is completed is to warn parents, pasquale said. "If a kid is sitting for hours and hours at a computer and if the time is not being charged to you telephone bill each month," he warned, "then unplug it. ** The Palo Alto Times-Tribune Computer Sting Operation Nets 7 March 5, 1986 fremont - police yesterday arrested six male juveniles and an 18 year-old man in what they called the first "electronic bulletin board sting operation" in history. During a press conference at police headquarters, they displayed about $12,000 in computers, modems, monitors, floppy disks and manuals, recovered during the arrests, which contained information ranging from how to make a bomb to the access codes for the merrill lynch and dean witter financial services firms's corporate computers. More than 300 long distance telephone access codes and credit card numbers were also recovered, police said. The names of the persons arrested were not released because of their ages, but they were known as "the punisher," "dr. Bob," "captain hacker," "the warden," "lasertech," and "the adventurer." Police also declined to name the adult, saying he allegedly passed the stolen information while still a juvenile. Investigators said they belonged to local, regional, even international computer "hackers" groups, including the high mountain hackers, kaos inc., The nihilist order and the shadow brotherhood. Police say they expect to make more arrests in the next few days, and that they are sharing information with state and federal authorities. Those arrested yesterday face a variety of charges, ranging from trafficking in stolen long distance service codes to possession of dangerous weapons and stolen property. All but one was released to the custody of his parents after the arrests around 7 a.M. Yesterday. An electronic bulletin board is a form of communication among computer users who have their machines conncected via telephone lines. By dialing the bulletin board telephone numbers, they can exchange information, which appears on the computer monitors. Such communication can be perfectly legal, but sgt. Daniel pasquale, a computer enthusiast who took the name "the revenger" to establish the computer date base in november, said police had targeted local "phreakers" and "hackers" who regularly exchanged stolen credit card numbers' long distance telephone sevice codes, and passwords to corporate, university, and even federal computers. Pasquale estimated the teenagers had made "hundreds of dollars" worth of telephone calls with the codes, but he was unable to estimate other losses from the credit cards and other sources. Pasquale said he got the idea for the sting operation after a 16-year old arrested last summer for possession of stolen property "rolled them over. He told us all about their operation." Using a police department iie computer and equipment, access codes and information provided by eight corporations, including wells fargo bank, sprint and mci, pasquale composed a phony biography for himself, using the name "wally richards" and created the "phoenix fortress" bulletin board. The police received more than 2,500 calls from about 130 regular users around the country, as far away as florida and new jersey. "We started getting calls almost immediately," he said. "I made my first case three days after the board went up." We had taken the unlisted phonenumber under the name al davis," pasquale said. "In six days, these kids had the name on the bulletin board. I would have needed a search warrent to get that information." He said the teenagers ran the gamut from good to poor students, and all but one were arrested at home. The other was arrested at school. "They would post credit cards numbers they had taken from carbons and knew to be good and they would use these numbers to make a phone order for ninja suits or battle stars," pasquale said. "Just posting the numbers gave them a sense of power. Every one of them knew what he was doing was wrong, but the parents were quite upset. They thought they were just talking to other kids." ** The Daily Review Teens Held in Computer Scam Case March 5, 1986 Several local teen-agers were arrested wednesday on suspicion of nationwide computer "hacking." The arrests were made after five months of investigation by sgt. Dan pasquale, who used a rented computer and the nickname "the revenger" to infiltrate the group. Pasquale said he believes the infiltration by local police is the first of its kind in the nation. The suspects, seven boys ranging in age from 15 to 18, are suspected of publishing stolen credit-card and long-distance telephone access codes on electronic computer bulletin boards accessible to computer users across the nation. Three of the youths are also suspected of felony possession of stolen property, and one was arrested on suspicion of possessing martial arts weapons. Pasquale said the teens were not acting as a ring. During the investigation, pasquale and four other investigators identified a number of nationwide groups of hackers that have used credit- card numbers to order thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and take valuable information from computer systems for corporations, government institutions and universities. Five of the fremont teen-agers, who were not identified by police because of their ages, were released to their parents' custody. The 18-year-old was being held at fremont in lieu of $3,500 bail, said pasquale. The boy was not identified because he is accused of hacking while still a juvenile. Another juvenile was in custody at juvenile hall in san leandro. During a wednesday press conference at the police station, pasquale said his investigation is expected to result in other local arrests of computer hackers in seven other states. Hackers and "phreakers," as the computer enthusiasts call themselves, operate by hooking their computer terminals to telephone modems, which allow them to speak with one another or read "computer bulletins," pasquale said. Whing electronic bulletins transmitted by phone, the hackers and phreakers exchange information. During the investigation, detectives recovered more than 300 stolen long-distance telephone service codes and credit card numbers. Investigators also located several computer phone numbers and the passwords to several educational and corporate computers. During the press conference, pasquale stood amid part of the $12,000 worth of computer equipment, including terminals and an array of floppy disks, seized during raids on the youth's homes. Pasquale said the alleged hackers' main target was long-distance telephone service codes that were used to contact computer systems all over the nation. Articles compiled by Maxwell's Demon, from The Dange Gang. (>Call The Works BBS - 1600+ Textfiles! - [914]/238-8195 - 300/1200 - Always Open
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