AOH :: P16-08.TXT

The Story Of the West German Hackers

                      #### PHRACK PRESENTS ISSUE 16 ####
                   ^*^*^*^Phrack World News, Part 1^*^*^*^
                            **** File 8 of 12 ****

>From the 9/16 San Francisco Chronicle, page A19:


        A group of West German computer hobbyists broke into an international
computer network of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and
rummaged freely among the data for at least three months before they were
discovered, computer enthusiasts and network users said yesterday.

        An organization in Hamburg called the Chaos Computer Club, which
claimed to be speaking for an anonymous group that broke into the network,
said the illicit users managed to install a "Trojan horse," and gain entry
into 135 computers on the European network.

        A "Trojan  Horse" is a  term for  a  permanent  program  that  enables
amateur computer enthusiasts  [as opposed  to professionals?], or "hackers,"
to use a password to bypass  all the security  procedures of a system and gain
access to all the data in a target computer.

[Actually, this type of program is a 'back door' or a 'trap door.' The group
may very well have *used* a Trojan horse to enable them to create the back
door, but it probably wasn't a Trojan horse per se.  A Trojan horse is a
program that does something illicit and unknown to the user in addition to its
expected task.  See Phrack xx-x, "Unix Trojan Horses," for info on how to
create a Trojan horse which in turn creates a trap door into someone's

        The NASA network that was broken into is called the Space Physics
Analysis Network [ooh!] and is chiefly designed to provide authorized
scientists and organizations with access to NASA data.  The security system in
the network was supplied by an American company, the Digital Equipment Corp.
[Probably DECNET.  Serves them right.]  Users said the network is widely used
by scientists in the United States, Britain, West Germany, Japan and five
other countries and does not carry classified information.

        A Chaos club spokesman, Wau Holland, denied that any data had been
changed.  This, he said, went against "hacker ethics."

        West German television reports said that computer piracy carries a
penalty of three years in prison in West Germany.  The government has not said
what it plans to do.

        The Chaos club clearly views its break-in as a major coup.  Holland,
reached by telephone in Hamburg, said it was "the most successful running of a
Trojan horse" to his knowledge, and the club sent a lengthy telex message to
news organizations.

        It said the "Trojan horse" was spotted by a user in August, and the
infiltrating group then decided to go public because "they feared that they
had entered the dangerous field of industry espionage, economic crime, East-
West conflict...and the legitimate security interests of high-tech

        The weekly magazine Stern carried an interview with several anonymous
hobbyists who showed how they gained access to the network.  One described his
excitement when for the first time he saw on his screen, "Welcome to the NASA
headquarters VAX installation."

        According to Chaos, the hobbyists discovered a gap in the Digital VAX
systems 4.4 and 4.5 and used it to install their "Trojan Horse."

[Excerpted and Typed by Shooting Shark.  Comments by same.]

AOH Site layout & design copyright © 2006 AOH