Copyright © 1996 KRON-TV. All rights reserved.



Hackers - Part 2
Aired: July 27, 1996

Scientific evil has been personified by the warlock, the alchemist, the mad scientist, and now the hacker. But NewsCenter4's Anthony Moor visited the denizens of the computer underground, who say their bad reputation is undeserved.

Welcome to the war room, and say hello to Evil Pete. Evil Pete is a hacker. His license plate? "liv2hak."

"Most hackers, by the time they reach my age, are either in jail or very rich," says Evil Pete. "I somehow have not done either."

Evil Pete is war dialing today; a computer is, actually.

"I'm calling sequentially each phone number in the local dialing range and finding which ones have computers attached to them."

He can't break in without a password. There's a way around that though.

"You test each word in the dictionary against the password," he says.

But Evil Pete insists hackers are unjustly demonized, "There are lots of amateur radio enthusiasts, there are lots of amateur chemists in the world, there are lots of amateur machinists in the world. And people don't worry about these amateur machinists going out and building a bigger cannon and killing people."

"Same thing," he concludes. "Hackers aren't going to go out there and write a virus to kill people."

Evil Pete says he only breaks in to other systems when authorized by clients, "I professionally break into corporations."

Meet Yobie, Seven, and Dark Angel -- also members of the computer underground.

"The perception given to the general public is that hacking is out of control; it's very rampant [and] nothing is sacred, nothing is private, you're an open book to the lives of people," remarks Seven. "And it's not; it's completely the opposite. It's false."

They say most hackers don't steal or destroy; they just snoop.

"I wasn't doing any damage to anybody's system; I wasn't destroying anything," says Dark Angel. "I wasn't compromising any important data; I was just doing it to learn."

And that, they say, can benefit us all. "We view ourselves as part of a community and that community being the Internet," says Yobie. "And we have an obligation to point out the weaknesses of this community."

But they can be pranksters. Seven once intercepted OJ Simpson's video telemarketing line.

"Maybe 10 years from now they will understand hackers," says Seven. "And this fear and ignorance of the hacking community will be gone, and they won't think of us as evil any more."

Until then, even Evil Pete takes precautions.

This is his shredder. "I know a lot about security," he says. "I know how to break in, I know how to obtain your credit reports; I guard my own."

The hackers Anthony talked to do know their stuff. They insist financial transactions on the Internet are more secure than those over the phone. Encryption is so advanced, it would take longer than the earth has been in existence for a computer to crack codes.

You can vist Evil Pete's website at http://www.dis.org/shipley.