Blind Hacker Says He's No Friend of Convicted SWATters

Blind Hacker Says He's No Friend of Convicted SWATters
Blind Hacker Says He's No Friend of Convicted SWATters 

By Kevin Poulsen
December 03, 2007

The FBI is circling around a blind 17-year-old phone hacker in Boston 
suspected of being the brains behind a gang of phone phreaks who sent 
police SWAT teams bursting into the homes of party line foes.

But the teen, known on the lines as "Li'l Hacker," says he actually 
helped the FBI bust the gang's ringleader, 40-year-old Stuart Rosoff, 
who he describes as an enemy.

"I'm actually against those people," the teenager told THREAT LEVEL in a 
phone interview.  "Mr. Rosoff and I are at odds ... He actually came 
after me and disconnected my phone service, but of course I had it 
turned back on instantly."

Because he is a minor, and hasn't been charged with a crime, THREAT 
LEVEL is not reporting Li'l Hacker's real name. He's identified in court 
documents by the initials M.W.

Blind from birth, Li'l Hacker admits to a deep and abiding interest in 
telecommunications from the age of eight. He can identify touch-tones by 
sound, commit vast amounts of information to memory in an instant, and 
he once ordered manuals for DMS and #5 ESS switching gear then paid a 
transcription service to convert them to Braille.

But, contrary to the FBI's allegations in court documents, the teenager 
never helped Rosoff and other SWATters use a Caller ID spoofing service 
to phone in fake hostage reports to police, he claims, or use social 
engineering skills to obtain information on the gang's targets.

"If I get charged, to be honest with you dude, I'm not going to hold 
anybody responsible for anything that I've done," he says. "I don't do 
SWATs, that's the thing."

Stuart Rosoff of Cleveland, Ohio (left, in a 2004 mugshot) pleaded 
guilty to one count of conspiracy last month in federal court in the 
Northern District of Texas. In his plea deal, he stipulated that he 
worked with Li'l Hacker to obtain "telephone numbers, pass phrases, 
employee identification numbers, and employee account information used 
by the conspirators by various means including through 'social 
engineering' or pretexting of telephone calls to telecommunications 
company employees, 'war dialing', trafficking in pass phrases and access 
information with other phone 'phreakers,' etc."

Li'l Hacker, though, says he told the FBI all about Rosoff, and 
confessed co-conspirator Guadalupe Santana Martinez, when two agents 
interviewed him last year.  "Not snitching, merely revenge," he says.

The pair had targeted his mother, he says, phoning her up and 
threatening to call the Secret Service on the family. "She didn't know 
what was going on because she didn't know what I was involved in."

In court documents, the FBI accuses Li'l Hacker of, in effect, hacking 
with his voice. He allegedly made more than 50 pretext phone calls to 
the Verizon Provisioning Center in Irving, Texas, "and obtained 
unauthorized access to the computers located there, and used the access 
to obtain telecommunications services including Caller I.D. blocking and 
call forwarding."

He says he didn't do it. "I wouldn't do it directly if I was going to 
... If I were to do that, hypothetically speaking."

The FBI also says the teen has the ability to listen in on phone calls 
-- he declined to comment on that. He also allegedly gained access to 
the network operations center of Frontier Telecommunications in 
Rochester, New York, in October and November 2006. Li'l Hacker says he 
really just called a mysterious phone number somebody gave him in a chat 

"I made a mistake and dialed into a number, and apparently it was the 
NOC," he says. "I didn't log into anything ... I heard a tone, and said, 
'What the hell is this?' And I just hung up."

He says the dialup wasn't even a computer modem. He knows, because he 
can identify different types of modems by ear. " I know the songs."

Li'l Hacker has some light perception, and he attends a local high 
school with sighted students, using a PAC Mate portable Braille display.

He has not been charged with a crime, but he turns 18-years-old in 
April, and some of his friends are worried. Counting Rosoff, three 
people have pleaded guilty in the SWATting case: Martinez last April, 
and co-defendant Angela Roberson in October. All three have named Li'l 
Hacker as a co-conspirator.

Two other defendants, Jason Trowbridge and Chad Ward, are set for trial 
in Texas this month.

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