AOH :: P46-23.TXT

Cyber Christ Bites the Big Apple


                              ==Phrack Magazine==

                 Volume Five, Issue Forty-Six, File 23 of 28

****************************************************************************

                Cyber Christ Bites The Big Apple
                 HOPE - Hackers On Planet Earth,
               New York City - August 13-14, 1994
                     (C) 1994 Winn Schwartau
                        by Winn Schwartau

(This  is  Part II of the ongoing Cyber Christ series.   Part  I, 
"Cyber Christ Meets Lady Luck" DefCon II, Las Vegas, July  22-24, 
1994 is available all over the 'Net.)

Las Vegas is a miserable place, and with a nasty cold no less; it 
took me three weeks of inhaling salt water and sand at the  beach 
to  finally dry up the post nasal drip after my jaunt  to  DefCon 
II.  My ears returned to normal so that I no longer had to answer 
every  question with an old Jewish man's "Eh?" while fondling  my 
lobes for better reception.   

New York had to be better.

Emmanuel  Goldstein  -aka Eric Corely - or is it  the  other  way 
around? is the host of HOPE, Hackers on Planet Earth, a  celebra
tion of his successfully publishing 2600 - The Hackers  Quarterly  
for  ten  years without getting jailed, shot or  worse.   For  as 
Congressman  Ed Markey said to Eric/Emmanuel in  a  Congressional 
hearing  last  year,  and I paraphrase, 2600 is no  more  than  a 
handbook  for hacking (comparable obviously to a terrorist  hand
book for blowing up the World Trade Center) for which Eric/Emman
uel should be properly vilified, countenanced and then drawn  and 
quartered on Letterman's Stupid Pet Tricks. 

Ed  and Eric/Emmanuel obviously have little room for  negotiation 
and  I frankly enjoyed watching their Congressional  movie  where 
communication  was  at  a virtual standstill:  and  neither  side 
understood the viewpoints or positions of the other.  

But  Ed is from Baaahhhsten, and Eric/Emmanuel is from New  York, 
and  HOPE  will take place in the Hotel  Filthadelphia,  straight 
across the street from Pennsylvania Station in beautiful downtown 
fast-food-before-they-mug-you  34th  street,  right  around   the 
corner  from  clean-the-streets-its-Thanksgiving  Herald  Square.  
Geography notwithstanding, HOPE promised to be a more  iconoclas
tic gathering than that of DefCon II. 

First  off,  to set the record straight, I am a New  Yorker.   No 
matter that I escaped in 1981 for the sunny beaches of California 
for  7  years, and then moved to the Great State of  the  Legally 
Stupid  for four more (Tennessee); no matter that I now  live  on 
the Gulf Coast of Florida where the water temperature never  dips 
below a chilly  98 degrees; I am and always will be a New Yorker.  

It  took me the better part of a decade of living away  from  New 
York to come to that undeniable and inescapable conclusion:  Once 
a  New Yorker, always a New Yorker. Not that that makes  my  wife 
any the happier.

"You  are  so rude.  You love to argue.   Confrontation  is  your 
middle name."  Yeah, so what's your point?

You  see,  for a true New Yorker these aren't insults to  be  re-
regurgitated  at the mental moron who attempts to combat us in  a 
battle  of wits yet enters the ring unarmed; these are mere  tru
isms  as seen by someone who views the world in black and  white, 
not black, white and New York.

Case in point.

I  used  to commute into Manhattan from  the  Westchester  County 
suburb  of Ossining where I lived 47 feet from the walls of  Sing 
Sing  prison  (no shit!).  Overlooking the wide  expanse  of  the 
Hudson  River from my aerie several hundred feet above, the  only 
disquieting aspect of that location were the enormously deafening 
thunderclaps which resounded a hundred and one times between  the 
cliffs on either side of the river.  Then there was the occasion
al escapee-alarm from the prison. .

So,  it was my daily New York regimen to take the 8:15  into  the 
city. If the train's on time I'll get to work by nine . . .

Grand  Central Station - the grand old landmark thankfully  saved 
by  the late Jackie O. - is the nexus for a few  hundred  million 
commuters  who congregate in New York Shitty for no other  reason 
that to collect a paycheck to afford blood pressure medicine.  

You  have  to understand that New York  is  different.   Imagine, 
picture  in your mind: nothing is so endearing as to watch  thou
sands of briefcase carrying suits scrambling like ants in a  Gary 
Larson cartoon for the nearest taxi, all the while greeting their 
neighbors with the prototypical New York G'day! 

With both fists high in the air, middle fingers locked into erect 
prominence,  a  cacophonous  chorus of   "Good  Fucking  Morning" 
brightens  the  day  of a true New Yorker.   His  bloodshot  eyes 
instantly clear, the blood pressure sinks by 50% and already  the 
first conflict of the day has been waged and won.

Welcome to the Big Apple, and remember never, ever, to say, "Have 
a Nice Day."  Oh, no.  Never.

So  HOPE was bound to be radically different from Vegas's  DefCon 
II,  if  only for the setting.  But, I expected hard  core.   The 
European  contingent  will  be there, as will  Israel  and  South 
America and even the Far East. All told, I am told, 1000 or  more 
are  expected.   And again, as at DefCon II, I am to  speak,  but 
Eric/Emmanuel never told me about what, when, or any of the other 
niceties that go along with this thing we call a schedule.

* * * * *

God, I hate rushing.  

Leaving  Vienna at 3:15 for a 4PM Amtrak "put your life in  their 
hands" three hour trip to New York is not for the faint of heart.  
My rented Hyundai four cylinder limousine wound up like a  sewing 
machine  to 9,600 RPM and hydroplaned the bone dry route 66  into 
the  pot holed, traffic hell of Friday afternoon Washington,  DC.   
Twelve minutes to spare.
 
I made the 23 mile trip is something less than three minutes  and 
bounded  into  the Budget rental return, decelerated  to  impulse 
power  and  let  my brick and lead filled suitcase  drop  to  the 
pavement with a dent and a thud.  "Send me the bill," I  hollered 
at  the attendant.  Never mind that Budget doesn't offer  express 
service like real car rental companies.  "Just send me the bill!" 
and I was off.

Eight minute to spare.  Schlepp, schlepp. Heavy, heavy. 

Holy shit! Look at the line for tickets and I had reservations.  

"Is  this  the  line for the four o'clock to  New  York?"   Pant, 
breathless.

"Yeah."  She never looked up.  

"Will they hold the train?"

"No." A resoundingly rude no at that.  Panic gene takes over.  

"What about the self-ticketing computer?" I said pointing at  the 
self ticketing computer.

"Do you have a reservation?"  

"Yup."  Maybe there is a God.

"Won't help you."

"What?"

Nothing.

"What do you mean won't help?"

"Computer's  broken."  Criminy! I have 4 minutes and here's  this 
over-paid  over-attituded  Amtrak employee who thinks  she's  the 
echo of Whoopi Goldberg.  "The line's over there."

Have you ever begged? I mean really begged?  Well I have.

"Are you waiting for the four?"  "Can I slip ahead?"  "Are you in 
a  death defying hurry?"  "I'll give you a dime for your spot  in 
line."  "You are so pretty for 76, ma'am.  Can I sneak ahead?"  

Tears work.  Two excruciating minutes to go.  I bounced ahead  of 
everyone in a line the length of the Great Wall of China, got  my 
tickets  and  tore ass through Union Station   The  closing  gate 
missed  me but caught the suitcase costing me yet more time as  I 
attempted to disgorge my now-shattered valise from the fork-lift-
like spikes which protect the trains from late-coming  commuters.  
The  rubber edged doors on the train itself were kinder and  gen
tler,  but at this point, screw it.  It was Evian and Fritos  for 
the next three hours. 

* * * * *

Promises  tend to be lies.  The check is in the mail; Dan  Quayle 
will learn to spell; I won't raise taxes.  I wonder about HOPE.

"It's  going to be Bust Central," said one prominent  hacker  who 
threatened  me with electronic assassination if I used his  name.  
"Emmanuel will kill me."   Apparently the authorities-who-be  are 
going to be there in force.  "They want to see if Corrupt or  any 
of  the MoD crew stay after dark, then Zap! Back to jail.   (gig
gle, giggle.)  I want to see that."  

Will Mitnick show up?  I'd like to talk to that boy.  A  thousand 
hackers  in one place and Eric/Emmanuel egging on the Feds to  do 
something  stupid.  Agent Steal will be there, or  registered  at 
least, and half of the folks I know going are using aliases.

"I'd like a room please."

"Yessir. Name?"

"Monkey Meat."

"Is that your first or last name?"

"First."

"Last name?"

"Dilithium Crystal."

"Could you spell that?"

Now:   I  know the Hotel Pennsylvania.  It used to  be  the  high 
class  Statler Hilton until Mr. Hilton himself decided  that  the 
place  was beyond hope.  "Sell it or scuttle it."  They sold  and 
thus  begat the hotel Filthadelphia.  I stayed here once in  1989 
and  it  was a cesspool then.  I wondered  why  the  Farsi-fluent 
bellhop  wouldn't  tell me how bad the damage was from  the  fire 
bombed 12th floor.  The carpets were the same dingy, once upon  a 
time colorful, drab as I remembered.  And, I always have a bit of 
trouble  with a hotel who puts a security check by  the  elevator 
bank.  Gives you the warm and fuzzies that make you want to  come 
back right away.  

I  saved $2 because none of the bell hops noticed I needed  help, 
but then again, it wouldn't have mattered for there was no way he 
and  I and my luggage were going to fit inside of what the  hotel 
euphemistically refers to as a 'room'.  Closet would be kind  but 
still inaccurate.  I think the word, ah, '$95 a night slum' might 
still  be overly generous.  Let's try . . . ah ha! the room  that 
almost survived the fire bombing.  Yeah, that's the ticket.

The  walls were pealing.  Long strips of yellowed  antique  wall
paper  embellished the flatness of the walls as they  curled  to
wards the floor and windows.  The chunks of dried glue  decorated 
the pastel gray with texture and the water stains from I know not 
where  slithered  their way to the soggy carpet in  fractal  pat
terned  rivulets.   I stood in awe at early funk motif  that  the 
Hotel  Filthadelphia  chose in honor of my  attendance  at  HOPE.  
But,  no  matter how bad my room was, at least  it  was  bachelor 
clean.  (Ask your significant other what that means. . .)

In  one hacker's room no bigger than mine I counted  13  sleeping 
bags  lying amongst the growing mold at the intersection  of  the 
drenched  wallboard  and putrefying carpet shreds. (God,  I  love 
going  to hacker conferences!  It's not that I like  Hyatt's  and 
Hilton' all that much: I do prefer the smaller facilities, but, I 
am sad to admit, clean counts at my age.).  My nose did not  have 
to  venture towards the floor to be aware that the Hotel  Filtha
delphia  was  engaging  in top  secret  exobiological  government 
experiments bent on determining their communicability and  infec
tion factor.

The  top  floor of the Hotel Filthadelphia - the 18th -  was  the 
place  for  HOPE, except the elevator door  wouldn't  open.   The 
inner door did, but even with the combined strength of my person
al crowbar (a New York defensive measure only; I never use it  at 
home) and three roughians with a bad case of Mexican Claustropho
bia, we never got the door open.  

The guard in the lobby was a big help. 

"Try again."

Damned  if  he didn't know his elevators and I emerged  into  the 
pre-HOPE chaos of  preparing for a conference.

About  100 hackers lounged around in varying forms of disarray  - 
Hey Rop!

Rop Gongrijjp editor of the Dutch Hacktic is a both a friend  and 
an occasional source of stimulating argument.  Smart as a whip, I 
don't  always agree with him, though, the  above-ground  security 
types  ought  to talk to him for a clear,  concise  and  coherent 
description of the whys and wherefores of hacking.  

Hey Emmanuel!  Hey Strat!  Hey Garbage Heap!  Hey Erikb! Hey   to 
lots of folks.  Is that you Supernigger?  And Julio?  I was  sur
prised.   I knew a lot more of these guys that I thought  I  did. 
Some indicted, some unindicted, some mere sympathizers and  other 
techno-freaks  who  enjoy  a weekend  with  other  techno-freaks. 
Security  dudes  - get hip!  Contact your local hacker  and  make 
friends.  You'll be glad you did.

>From  behind - got me.  My adrenaline went  into  super-saturated 
mode as I was grabbed.  I turned and it was . . . Ben.  Ben is  a 
hugger.  "I just wanted to hug you," he said sweetly but  without 
the  humorous sexually deviant connotation that  occurred  during 
Novocain's  offer  to let Phil Zimmerman sleep with  him  in  Las 
Vegas.

I  smiled a crooked smile.  "Yeah, right."  Woodstock '94  was  a 
mere  120 miles away . . .maybe there was a  psychic  connection.  
But  Ben was being sincere.  He was hugging everyone.   Everyone.  
At  17, he really believes that hugging and hacking are  next  to 
Godliness.   Boy does he have surprise coming the first time  his 
mortgage is late.  Keep hugging while you have the chance, Ben.

Assorted cases of Zima (the disgusting Polish is-this-really-lime 
flavored  beer of choice by those without taste  buds)  appeared, 
but  anyone over the age of 21 drank Bud. What about the 12  year 
olds drinking?  And the 18 year olds?  And the 16 year olds?

"Rop, I don't think you need to give the hotel an excuse to  bust 
you  guys outta here."  Me, fatherly and  responsible?   Stranger 
things have happened.  The beer was gone.  I'm not a  teetotaler, 
but  I didn't want my weekend going up in flames because of  some 
trashed  16 year old puking on an Irani ambassador in the  lobby. 
No reason to test fate. 

* * * * * 

Nothing worked, but that's normal.  

Rop  had  set  up HEU (Hacking at the End of   the  Universe)  in 
Holland last year with a single length of 800m ethernet.  (That's 
meter  for the Americans: about 2625 ft.)  HOPE, though was  dif
ferent.  The Hotel Filthadelphia's switchboard and phone  systems 
crashed  every  half hour or so which doesn't do a  lot  for  the 
health of 28.8 slip lines.  

The  object of the exercise was seemingly simple:  plug  together 
about  20 terminals into a terminal server connected to  Hope.Com 
and  let  'em go at it.  Provide 'net access and,  to  the  lucky 
winner of the crack-the-hopenet server (root) the keys to a  1994 
Corvette!

You  heard  it right! For breaking into root of  their  allegedly 
secure  server, the folks at 2600 are giving away keys to a  1994 
Corvette.  They don't know where the car is, just the keys.   But 
they will give you the car's last known location . . . or was  it 
$50 in cash?

Erikb - Chris Goggans - showed up late Friday night in  disguise: 
a  baseball  cap over his nearly waist length dirty  blond  hair.  
"He's here!" one could hear being muttered.  "He had the balls to 
show  up!"  "He's gonna get his ass kicked to a pulp."   "So  you 
did  come  . . . I was afraid they'd intimidated you to  stay  in 
Texas."

No way! "Why tell the enemy what your plans are."  Even the 50's-
something ex-amphetamine-dealer turned reseller of public-records 
Bootleg  didn't  know  Goggans was going to be  there.   But  the 
multiple fans of Erikb, (a strong resemblance to Cyber Christ  if 
he do say so himself) were a-mighty proud to see him.

This  stunning Asian girl with skin too soft to touch (maybe  she 
was  14, maybe she was 25) looked at Erikb by the message  board.  
"You're," she pointed in disbelief "Erikb?"  Chris nods,  getting 
arrogantly used to the respectful adulation.  Yeah, that's me, to 
which  the  lady/girl/woman instantly replied,  "You're  such  an 
asshole."  Smile, wide smile, hug, kiss, big kiss.  Erikb  revels 
in the attention and hundreds of horny hackers jealously look on.

Friday night was more of an experience - a Baba Ram Dass-like  Be 
Here Now experience - with mellow being the operative word.   The 
hotel  had apparently sacrificed 20,000 square feet of its  pent
house  to hackers, but it was obvious to see they  really  didn't 
give  a  damn  if the whole floor got  trashed.   Ceiling  panels 
dripped from their 12 foot lofts making a scorched Shuttle under
belly look pristine.  What a cesspool!  I swear nothing had  been 
done  to the decorative environs since the day Kennedy was  shot.  
But  kudos to Emmanuel for finding a centrally  located  cesspool 
that undoubtedly gave him one hell of a deal. I think it would be 
a  big mistake to hold a hacker conference at the Plaza  or  some 
such snooty overly-self-indulgent denizen of the rich. 

Filth sort of lends credibility to an event that otherwise  seeks 
notoriety.  

I didn't want to take up too much of Emmanuel's and Rop's time  - 
they were in setup panic - so it was off to the netherworld until 
noon.  That's when a civilized Con begins.

* * * * * 

I  dared to go outside; it was about 11AM and I was in search  of 
the perfect New York breakfast: a greasy spoon that serves coffee 
as  tough  as tree bark and a catatonia inducing  egg  and  bacon 
sandwich.  Munch, munch, munch on that coffee.

I'd forgotten how many beggars hang out on the corner of 33rd and 
7th, all armed with the same words, "how about a handout,  Winn?"  
How the hell do they know my name?  "Whatever you give will  come 
back to you double and triple . . . please man, I gotta eat."  It 
is sad, but John Paul Getty I ain't.  

As  I  munched on my coffee and sipped my  runny  egg-sandwich  I 
noticed that right in front of the runny-egg-sandwich place sat a 
Ford  Econoline van. Nice van.  Nice phone company van. What  are 
they doing here? Oh, yeah, the hackers need lines and the switch
board  is  down.   Of course, the phone company  is  here.   But, 
what's  that? Hello? A Hacker playing in the phone van? I  recog
nize  you! You work with Emmanuel.  How?  He's robbing  it.   Not 
robbing, maybe borrowing.  

The  ersatz telephone van could have fooled anyone - even  me,  a 
color blind quasi-techno-weanie to yell "Yo! Ma Bell!"  But, upon 
not-too-closer inspection, the TPC (The Phone Company) van was in 
fact  a  2600  van  - straight from the  minds  of  Emmanuel  and 
friends.  Impeccable!  The telephone bell in a circle logo is, in 
this  case, connected via cable to a hacker at a  keyboard.   The 
commercial plates add an additional air of respectability to  the 
whole image.  It works.

* * * * *

Up to HOPE - egg sandwich and all.

The  keynote  speech was to be provided courtesy of  the  Man  in 
Blue.   Scheduled  for noon, things were getting off  to  a  late 
start.   The media (who were there in droves, eat your heart  out 
CSI)  converged  on  the MIB to see who and why  someone  of  his 
stature  would  (gasp!) appear/speak at  a  funky-downtown  hotel 
filled  with  the  scourges of Cyberspace. I didn't  see  if  Ben 
hugged the MIB, but I would understand if he didn't.  Few  people 
knew  him or suspected what size of Jim-Carey-MASK arsenal  might 
suddenly appear if a passive hug were accidentally interpreted as 
being too aggressive. The MIB is imposing and Ben too shy.

The  media can ask some dumb questions and write some dumb  arti
cles  because they spend 12 1/2 minutes trying to  understand  an 
entire culture.  Can't do that fellows!  

The  MIB, though, knows hackers and is learning about  them  more 
and  more; and since he is respectable, the media asks him  about 
hackers.  What are hackers?  Why are YOU here, Mr. MIB?

"Because they have a lot to offer.  They are the future," the Man 
In Blue said over and over.  Interview after interview - how time 
flies  when  you're having fun - and the lights and  cameras  are 
rolling from NBC and PIX and CNN and assorted other channels  and 
magazines.   At  12:55 chaos had not settled down  to  regimented 
disorganization and the MIB was getting antsy.  After all, he was 
a military man and 55 minutes off schedule: Egad! Take charge.  

The MIB stood on a chair and hollered to the 700+ hacker  phreaks 
in the demonstration ballroom, "Hey! It's starting.  Let's go the 
theater and get rocking! Follow me."  He leaned over to me:   "Do 
you know where the room is?" 

"Sure, follow me."

"Everyone  follow,  c'mon," yelled the MIB.  "I'm  going  to  get 
started  in exactly three minutes," and three minutes  he  meant.  
Despite the fact that I got lost in a hallway and had hundreds of 
followers  following  my missteps and the MIB yelling at  me  for 
getting lost in a room with only two doors, we did make the  main 
hall,  and  within 90 seconds he took over the podium  and  began 
speaking.  

"I bet you've always wanted to ask a spy a few questions.  Here's 
your chance.  But let me say that the United States  intelligence 
community needs help and you guys are part of the solution."  The 
MIB was impeccably dressed  in his pin stripe with only traces of 
a  Hackers  80 T-shirt leaking through his starched  white  dress 
shirt.   The MIB is no less than Robert Steele, ex-CIA type  spy, 
senior  civilian in Marine Corps Intelligence and now the  Presi
dent of Open Source Solutions, Inc.  

He  got these guys (and gals) going.  Robert doesn't mince  words 
and that's why as he puts it, he's "been adopted by the hackers."  
At his OSS conferences he has successfully juxtaposed hackers and 
senior  KGB officials who needed full time security during  their 
specially  arranged 48 hour visa to Washington, DC.   He  brought 
Emmanuel  and  Rop and clan to his show and since  their  agendas 
aren't all that different, a camaraderie was formed.

Robert MIB Steele believes that the current intelligence  machin
ery is inadequate to meet the challenges of today's world.   Over 
80%  of the classified information contained with  the  Byzantine 
bowels of the government is actually available from open sources.  
We  need to realize that the future is more of an open book  than 
ever before.

We classify newspaper articles from Peru in the incredibly  naive 
belief  that  only Pentagon spooks subscribe.   We  classify  BBC 
video  tapes from the UK with the inane belief that no  one  will 
watch  it  if  it so stamped.  We classify  $4  Billion  National 
Reconnaissance  Office satellite generated street maps of  Calle, 
Colombia  when anyone with an IQ only slightly above a  rock  can 
get  the  same  one from the tourist office.   And  that's  where 
hackers come in.

"You guys are a national resource.  Too bad everyone's so  scared 
of you."  Applause from everywhere.  The MIB knows how to massage 
a crowd.  Hackers, according to Steele, and to a certain extent I 
agree,  are  the  truth tellers "in a  constellation  of  complex 
systems run amok and on the verge of catastrophic collapse."  

Hackers  are the greatest sources of open source  information  in 
the world.  They have the navigation skills, they have the  time, 
and  they have the motivation, Robert says.  Hackers  peruse  the 
edges  of technology and there is little that will stop  them  in 
their efforts.  The intelligence community should take  advantage 
of the skills and lessons that the hackers have to teach us,  yet 
as we all know, political and social oppositions keep both  sides 
(who are really more similar then dissimilar) from talking.  

"Hackers  put  a mirror up to the technical  designers  who  have 
built the networks, and what they see, they don't like.   Hackers 
have  shown  us all the chinks in the armor of  a  house  without 
doors or windows.  The information infrastructure is fragile  and 
we had better do something about it now; before it's too late."  

Beat them at their own game, suggests Steele.  Keep the doors  of 
Cyberspace  open, and sooner or later, the denizens of the  black 
holes of information will have to sooner or late realize that the 
cat is out of the bag.

Steele educated the Hacker crowd in a way new to them:  he treat
ed  them with respect, and in turn he opened a channel of  dialog 
that  few above ground suit-types have ever  envisioned.   Steele 
works at the source.

HOPE had begun and Robert had set the tone.

* * * * * 

The  day was long.  Dogged by press, hackers rolled over  so  the 
reporters  could tickle their stomachs on camera.  Despite  their 
public allegations that the media screws it up and never can  get 
the  story right, a camera is like a magnet.  The New York  Times 
printed  an article about HOPE so off the wall I wondered if  the 
reporter  had actually been there.  Nonetheless, the crowds  fol
lowed  the  cameras,  the cameras followed the  crowds,  and  the 
crowds  parted like the Red Sea.  But these were mighty  colorful 
crowds.

We  all hear of that prototypical image of the acne faced,  Jolt-
drinking,  pepperoni  downing nerdish teenager  who  has  himself 
locked  in  the  un-air-conditioned attic of  his  parents'  half 
million  dollar house from the time school gets out till the  sun 
rises. Wrongo security-breath.  Yeah, there's that component, but 
I was reminded of the '80's, the early '80's by a large  percent
age of the crowd.

Purple  hair  was present but scarce, and I swear on a  stack  of 
2600's that Pat from Saturday Night Live was there putting every
one's hormonal guess-machines to the test.  But what cannot  help 
but  capture one's attention is a 40 pin integrated  circuit  in
serted  into  the  shaved side skull of  an  otherwise  clean-cut 
Mohawk haircut.  

The story goes that Chip Head went to a doctor and had a pair  of 
small  incisions placed in his skull which would hold  the  leads 
from  the chip.  A little dab of glue and in a few days the  skin 
would  grow  back to hold the 40 pins in the natural  way;  God's 
way.

There  was a time that I thought ponytails were 'out' and  passe, 
but  I thought wrong.  Mine got chopped off in roughly 1976  down 
to shoulder length which remained for another six years, but half 
of the HOPE audience is the reason for wide spread poverty in the 
hair salon industry.

Nothing  wrong with long, styled, inventive, outrageous  hair  as 
long  as it's clean; and with barely an exception, such  was  the 
case.   In New York it's not too hard to be perceived  as  clean, 
especially  when you consider the frame of reference. Nothing  is 
too weird.

The energy level of HOPE was much higher than the almost  lethar
gic (but good!) DefCon II.  People move in a great hurry, perhaps 
to  convey  the  sense of importance to others, or  just  out  of 
frenetic  hyperactivity.  Hackers hunched over their keyboards  - 
yet with a sense of urgency and purpose. Quiet yet highly animat
ed  conversations  in all corners.  HOPE staff  endlessly  pacing 
throughout  the  event with their walkie-talkies glued  to  their 
ears.  

Not many suit types.  A handful at best, and what about the Feds?  
I  was accosted a few times for being a Fed, but word spread:  no 
Fed,  no bust.  Where were the Feds?  In the lobby.  The  typical 
NYPD  cop  has  the distinctive reputation  of  being  overweight 
especially when he wearing two holsters - one for the gun and one 
for  the Italian sausage. Perpetually portrayed as donut  dunking 
dodo's,  some New York cops' asses are referred to as the  Fourth 
Precinct and a few actually moonlight as sofas.

So  rather than make a stink, (NY cops hate to make a scene)  the 
lobby  of the Hotel Filthadelphia was home to the  Coffee  Clutch 
for  Cops.   About  a  half dozen of  them  made  their  profound 
presence known by merely spending their day consuming mass  quan
tities  of  questionable  ingestibles, but  that  was  infinitely 
preferable to hanging out on the 18th floor.  The hackers weren't 
causing any trouble, the cops knew that, so why push it.  Hackers 
don't fight, they hack.  Right?

After hours of running hours behind schedule, the HOPE conference 
was  in  first  place for disorganized, with DefCon  II  not  far 
behind.   Only  with 1000 people to keep happy and in  the  right 
rooms,  chaos  reigns sooner.  The free Unix sessions  and  Pager 
session  and open microphone bitch session and the  unadulterated 
true history of 2600 kept audiences of several hundred  hankering 
for more - hour after hour.  

Over by the cellular hacking demonstrations, I ran into a  hacker 
I  had written about: Julio, from the almost defunct  Masters  of 
Destruction.  Julio had gone state's evidence and was prepared to 
testify against MoD ring leader Mark Abene (aka Phiber Optik) but 
once Mark pled guilty to enough crimes to satisfy the Feds, Julio 
was  off  the hook with mere probation.  Good guy, sworn  off  of 
hacking.  Cell phones are so much more interesting.

However,  while standing around with Erikb and a gaggle of  Cyber 
Christ wanna-bes, Julio and his friend (who was the size of Texas 
on  two legs) began a pushing match with Goggans.   "You  fucking 
narc  red-neck  son of a bitch."  Goggans helped build  the  case 
against the MoD and didn't make a lot of friends in the process.

The  shoving  and shouldering reminded me of  slam  dancing  from 
decades past, but these kids are too young to have taken part  in 
the social niceties of deranged high speed propulsion and  revul
sion on the dance floor.  So it was a straight out pushing match, 
which found Erikb doing his bloody best to avoid.  Julio and  pal 
kept a'coming and Erikb kept avoiding.  It took a dozen of us  to 
get  in the middle and see that Julio was escorted to the  eleva
tors.

Julio  said Corrupt, also of the MoD,  was coming down  to  HOPE, 
too.  Corrupt has been accused of mugging drug dealers to finance 
his computer escapades, and was busted along with the rest of the 
MoD  gang.   The  implied threat was taken  seriously,  but,  for 
whatever  reason,  Corrupt  never showed.  It is  said  that  the 
majority of the hacking community distances itself from him; he's 
not  good  for  the collective reputation.  So  much  for  hacker 
fights.  All is calm.

The evening sessions continued and continued with estimates of as 
late  as 4AM being bandied about. Somewhere around 1:00AM  I  ran 
into  Bootleg  in the downstairs bar. Where was  everybody?   Not 
upstairs.   Not in the bar.  I saw a Garbage Heap in  the  street 
outside (now that's a double entendre) and then Goggans popped up 
from  the door of  the Blarney Stone, a syndicated chain of  low-
class Irish bars that serve fabulously thick hot sandwiches.  

"We're about to get thrown out."

"From  the  Blarney Stone?  That's impossible.  Drunks  call  the 
phone booths home!"

Fifty or so hacker/phreaks had migrated to the least likely, most 
anachronistic  location one could imagine.  A handful of  drunken 
sots leaning over their beers on a stain encrusted wooden  breed
ing  ground  for salmonella.  A men's room that hasn't  seen  the 
fuzzy end of a brush for the best part of a century made  Turkish 
toilets appear refreshingly clean.  And they serve food here.

I didn't look like a hacker so I asked the bartender, "Big crowd, 
eh?"

The  barrel  chested beer bellied  barman  nonchalantly  replied, 
"nah.  Pretty usual."  He cleaned a glass so thoroughly the water 
marks stood out plainly.

"Really?   This  much action on a Saturday night on a  dark  side 
street so questionably safe that Manhattan's Mugger Society posts 
warnings?"

"Yup."

"So," I continued.  "These hackers come here a lot?"

"Sure do," he said emphatically.

"Wow.  I didn't know that.  So this is sort of a hacker bar,  you 
might say?"

"Exactly.   Every Saturday night they come in and raise a  little 
hell."

With  a  straight face I somehow managed to  thank  the  confused 
barman  for  his help and for the next four  hours  learned  that 
socially, hackers of today are no different than many if not most 
of  us were in our late teens ad early twenties.  We laughed  and 
joked  and  so  do they - but there is more  computer  talk.   We 
decried the political status of our day as they do theirs, albeit 
they   with less fervor and more resignation.   The  X-Generation 
factor:  most  of them give little more than a  tiny  shit  about 
things  they view as being totally outside their control, so  why 
bother.  Live for today.  

Know they enemy.  Robert hung in with me intermingling and  argu
ing  and  debating  and learning from them,  and  they  from  us.  
Hackers aren't the enemy - their knowledge is - and they are  not 
the  exclusive holders of that information.  Information  Warfare 
is about capabilities, and no matter who possesses that capabili
ty, there ought to be a corresponding amount respect. 

Indeed,  rather than adversaries, hackers could well become  gov
ernment allies and national security assets in an intense  inter
national  cyber-conflict.   In the LoD/MoD War  of  1990-91,  one 
group of hackers did help authorities. Today many hackers  assist 
professional organizations, governments in the US and overseas  - 
although  very  quietly.   'Can't be  seen  consorting  with  the 
enemy.'    Is hacking from an Army or Navy or NATO base  illegal?  
Damned  if I know, but more than one Cyber Christ-like  character 
makes  a  tidy sum providing hands-on hacking  education  to  the 
brass in Europe.  

Where  these guys went after 5AM I don't know, but I was  one  of 
the first to be back at the HOPE conference later that day; 12:30 
PM Sunday.

* * * * * 

The Nazi Hunters were out in force.

"The Neo-Nazi skinheads are trying to start another Holocaust." A 
piercing, almost annoying voice stabbed right through the crowds.  
"Their racist propaganda advocates killing Jews and blacks.  They 
have to be stopped, now."

Mortechai Levy (I'll call him Morty) commanded the attention of a 
couple  dozen  hackers.  Morty was a  good,  emotional,  riveting 
shouter.  "These cowardly bastards have set up vicious hate  call 
lines  in  over 50 cities.  The messages advocate  burning  syna
gogues, killing minorities and other violence.  These phones have 
to be stopped!"

The ever-present leaflet from Morty's Jewish Defense Organization 
asked for help from the 2600 population.  

     "Phone  freaks  you must use your various  assorted  bag  of 
     tricks  to  shut these lines down. No  cowardly  sputterings 
     about 'free speech' for these fascist scum."  

The headline invited the hacker/phreak community to:

               "Let's Shut Down 'Dial-A-Nazi'!!!"

Morty was looking for political and technical support from a band 
of  nowhere  men and women who largely don't know  where  they're 
going  much  less care about an organized political  response  to 
someone  elses cause.  He wasn't making a lot of headway, and  he 
must  have  know that he would walk right  into  the  anarchist's 
bible: the 1st amendment.

The  battle  lines had been set.  Morty wanted to see  the  Nazis 
censored  and  hackers are absolute freedom of speechers  by  any 
measure.  Even Ben sauntering over for a group hug did little  to 
defuse the mounting tension.

I  couldn't help but play mediator. Morty was belligerently  loud 
and being deafeningly intrusive which affected the on-going  ses
sions.  To tone it down some, we nudged Morty and company off  to 
the  side  and occupied a corner of thread bare  carpet,  leaning 
against a boorish beige wall that had lost its better epidermis.  

The  heated  freedom  of speech versus the  promotion  of  racial 
genocide rancor subdued little even though we were all buns  side 
down.  I tried to get a little control of the situation.

"Morty. Answer me this so we know where you're coming from.   You 
advocate the silencing of the Nazis, right?

"They're planning a new race war; they have to be stopped."

"So  you  want  them silenced.  You say their  phones  should  be 
stopped and that the hackers should help."

"Call  that  number  and they'll tell you that  Jews  and  blacks 
should be killed and then they . . ."

"Morty.  OK, you want to censor the Nazis.  Yes or No."

"Yes."

"OK,  I can understand that.  The question really is, and I  need 
your help here, what is the line of censorship that you advocate.  
Where is your line of legal versus censored?"

A  few more minutes of political diatribe and then he got to  the 
point.  "Any group with a history of violence should be  censored 
and stopped."  A little imagination and suddenly the whole planet 
is silenced.  We need a better line, please.  "Hate group, Nazis, 
people   who   advocate   genocide  .  .   .   they   should   be 
silenced . . . ."

"So,"  I  analyzed.  "You want to establish  censorship  criteria 
based  upon  subjective interpretation.   Whose  interpretation?"  
My approach brought nods of approval.

One  has to admire Morty and his sheer audacity and tenacity  and 
how  much  he strenuously and single-mindedly drives  his  points 
home.   He  didn't have the ideal sympathetic  audience,  but  he 
wouldn't give an inch.  Not an inch.  A little self righteousness 
goes  a long way; boisterous extremism grows stale.   It  invites 
punitive  retorts  and  teasing, or  in  counter-culture  jargon, 
"fucking with their heads."

Morty  (perhaps for justifiable reasons) was  totally  inflexible 
and  thus  more prone to verbal barbing.  "You're just  a  Jewish 
racist.   Racism in reverse," accused one jocular but  definitely 
lower  middle  class hacker with an accent thicker  than  all  of 
Brooklyn.    

Incoming  Scuds!   Look  out! Morty went nuts and  as  they  say, 
freedom  of  speech ends when my fists impacts  upon  your  nose.  
Morty  came  dangerously  close to crossing  that  line.   Whoah, 
Morty,  whoah.  He's just fucking with your head.  The  calm-down 
brigade did its level best to keep these two mortals at  opposite 
ends of the room. 

"You  support  that  Neo Nazi down there; you're as  bad  as  the 
rest!"  Morty  said. "See what I have to tolerate.  I  know  him, 
we've been keeping track of him and he hangs out with the son  of 
the  Grand  Wizard of Nazi Oz."  The paranoid train  got  on  the 
tracks.  

"Do you really know the Big Poo-bah of Hate?" I asked the  hacker 
under assault and now under protective custody.

"Yeah," he said candidly.  "He's some dick head who hates  every
one.  Real jerk."

"So what about you said to Morty over there?"

"Just  fucking with his head.  He gets a little extreme."  So  we 
had  in our midst the Al Sharpton of the Jewish  faith.   Ballsy. 
Since Morty takes Saturday's off by religious law, he missed  the 
press  cavalcade,  but as a radical New York fixture,  the  media 
probably didn't mind too much.

I was off to sessions, Morty found new audiences as they came off 
the elevators, and the band played on.

* * * * *

In  my humble 40-something opinion, the best session of HOPE  was 
the  one  on social engineering.  

The  panel consisted of only Emmanuel, Supernigger (social  engi
neer par excellence) and Cheshire Catalyst.  The first bits  were 
pretty  staid dry conventional conference (ConCon) oriented,  but 
nonetheless, not the kind of info that you expect to find William 
H. Murray, Executive Consultant handing out.  

The  best social engineers make friends of their victims.  Remem
ber: you're playing a role.  Think Remington Steele.

Schmooze!  "Hey,  Jack did you get a load of the blond  on  Stern 
last night?"

Justifiable anger: "Your department has caused nothing but  head
aches.   These  damn new computers/phones/technology  just  don't 
work like the old ones.  Now either you help me now or I'm  going 
all the way to Shellhorn and we'll what he says about these kinds 
of screwups."  A contrite response is the desired effect. 

Butt  headed bosses: "Hey, my boss is all over my butt,  can  you 
help me out?"

Management  hatred:  "I'm sitting here at 3PM working while  man
agement is on their yachts.  Can you tell me . . .?"

Giveaways: "Did you know that so and so is having an affair  with 
so and so?  It's true, I swear.  By the way, can you tell me  how 
to . . ."

Empathy:  "I'm new, haven't been to the training course and  they 
expect me to figure this out all by myself.  It's not fair."

Thick Accent: "Hi.  Dees computes haf big no wurk. Eet no makedah 
passurt. Cunu help?  Ah, tanku." Good for a quick exchange and  a 
quick  good-bye.  Carefully done, people want you off  the  phone 
quickly.

Billsf,  the  almost 40 American phreak who now  calls  Amsterdam 
home  was  wiring  up Supernigger's real  live  demonstration  of 
social  engineering against Sprint. A dial tone came over the  PA 
system followed by the pulses to 411.

"Directory  Assistance," the operator's male voice  was  squeezed 
into a mere three kilohertz bandwidth.

Suddenly, to the immense pleasure of the audience, an  ear-split
ting screech a thousand times louder than finger nails on a chalk 
board not only belched across the sound system but caused instant 
bleeding  in  the ears of the innocent but now deaf  operator.  .  
Billsf   sheepishly  grinned.   "Just trying to wire  up  a  mute 
button."  

Three hundred people in unison responded: "It doesn't work."   No 
shit.

While  Billsf feverishly worked to regain his reputation,  Super
nigger  explained  what he was going to do. The  phone  companies 
have a service, ostensibly for internal use, called a C/NA.  Sort 
of a reverse directory when you have the number but want to  know 
who  the  number  belongs to and from whence it  comes.  You  can 
understand  that this is not the sort of feature that  the  phone 
company  wants to have in the hands of a generation of  kids  who 
are  so  apathetic that they don't even know they  don't  give  a 
shit.   Nonetheless, the access to this capability is through  an 
800 number and a PIN.

Supernigger  was going to show us how to acquire such  privileged 
information.   Live.  "When you get some phone company person  as 
dumb  as a bolt on the other end, and you know a few buzz  words. 
you convince them that it is in their best interest and that they 
are supposed to give you the information."

"I've never  done this in front of an audience before, so give me 
three  tries," he explained to an anxiously foaming at the  mouth 
crowd.  No one took a cheap pot shot at him: tacit acceptance  of 
his rules.

Ring. Ring. 

"Operations.  Mary."

"Mary.  Hi, this is Don Brewer in social engineering over at CIS, 
how's it going?"  Defuse.

"Oh, fine. I guess."

"I know, I hate working Sundays.  Been busy?"

"Nah, no more.  Pretty calm.  How can I help you?"

"I'm  doing a verification and I got systems down.  I  just  need 
the C/NA.  You got it handy?"  Long pause.

"Sure,  lemme  look. Ah, it's 313.424.0900."  700  notebooks  ap
peared  out  of  nowhere, accompanied by the sound  of  700  pens 
writing down a now-public phone number.

"Got  it.  Thanks."  The audience is gasping  at  the  stunningly 
stupid  gullibility  of  Mary.  But quiet was  essential  to  the 
mission. 

"Here's  the PIN number while we're at it." Double  gasp.   She's 
offering the supposedly super secret and secure PIN number?   Was 
this event legal?  Had Supernigger gone over the line?

"No, CIS just came up.  Thanks anyway."

"Sure you don't need it?"

"Yeah.  Thanks.  Bye."  Click. No need to press the  issue.   PIN 
access  might  be worth a close look from the  next  computer  DA 
wanna-be.

An  instant  shock wave of cacophonous approval  worked  its  way 
throughout  the  750 seat ballroom in less than  2  microseconds.  
Supernigger  had  just  successfully set himself  as  a  publicly 
ordained  Cyber  Christ of Social Engineering.  His  white  robes 
were on the way.  Almost a standing ovation lasted for the better 
part  of a minute by everyone but the narcs in the  audience.   I 
don't know if they were telco or Feds of whatever, but I do  know 
that they were the stupidest narcs in the city of New York.  This 
pair of dour thirty something Republicans had sphincters so tight 
you could mine diamonds  out of their ass.  

Arms  defiantly and defensively crossed, they were stupid  enough 
to sit in the third row center aisle.  They never cracked a smile 
at some of the most entertaining performances I have seen outside 
of  the giant sucking sound that emanates from Ross Perot's ears.

Agree or disagree with hacking and phreaking, this was funny  and 
unrehearsed ad lib material.  Fools.  So, for fun, I crawled over 
the legs of the front row and sat in the aisle, a bare eight feet 
from the narcs.  Camera in hand I extended the 3000mm  tele-photo 
lens  which can distinguish the color of a  mosquitoes  underwear 
from a kilometer and pointed it in their exact direction.   Their 
childhood  acne scars appeared the depth of the Marianna  Trench.  
Click,  and the flash went off into their eyes, which at  such  a 
short  distance should have caused instant blindness.  But  noth
ing.  No reaction.  Nada. Cold as ice.  Rather disappointing, but 
now  we know that almost human looking narc-bots have  been  per
fected and are being beta tested at hacker cons. 

Emmanuel Goldstein is very funny.  Maybe that's why Ed Markey and 
he  get  along so well.  His low key voice rings  of  a  gentler, 
kinder  sarcasm but has a youthful charm despite that he  is  30-
something himself. 

"Sometimes  you  have to call back.  Sometimes you have  to  call 
over  and  over to get what you want.  You have to keep  in  mind 
that  the people at the other end of the phone are generally  not 
as  intelligent  as a powered down computer."   He  proceeded  to 
prove the point.

Ring ring,

"Directory Assistance."

"Hi."

"Hi."

"Hi."

"Can I help you."

"Yes."

Pause.

"Hello?"

"Hi."

"Hi."

"Can I help you.:

"OK."  

Shhhhh.  Ssshhh.  Quiet.  Shhhh.  Too damned funny for words.

"Directory Assistance."

"I need some information."

"How can I help you."

"Is this where I get numbers?"

"What number would you like?"

"Information."

"This is information."

"You said directory assistance."

"This is."

"But I need information."

"What information do you need?"

"For information."

"This is information."

"What's the number?"

"For what?"

"Information."

"This is directory assistance."

"I need the number for information."

Pause.  Pause.

"What number do you want?"

"For information."

Pause.  Guffaws, some stifled, some less so.  Funny stuff. 

"Hold on please."

Pause.

"Supervisor.  May I help you?"

"Hi."

"Hi."

Pause.

"Can I help you?"

"I need the number for information."

"This is directory assistance."

"Hi."

"Hi."

"What's the number for information?"

"This is information."

"What about directory assistance?"

"This is directory assistance."

"But I need information."

"This is information."

"Oh, OK. What's the number for information?"

Pause.

"Ah 411."

"That's it?"

"No. 555.1212 works too."

"So there's two numbers for information?"

"Yes."

"Which  one  is better?"   How this audience kept  its  cool  was 
beyond me.  Me and my compatriots were beside ourselves.

Pause.

"Neither."

"Then why are there two?"

Pause.

"I don't know."

"OK.  So I can use 411 or 555.1212."

"That's right."

"And which one should I use?"

Pause.

"411 is faster."  Huge guffaws.  Ssshhhh.  Ssshhhh..

"Oh. What about the ones?"

"Ones?"

"The ones."

"Which ones?"

"The ones at the front of the number."

"Oh, those ones.  You don't need ones.  Just 411 or 555.1212.."

"My friends say they get to use ones."  Big laugh.  Shhhhhh.

"That's only for long distance."

"To where?"  How does he keep a straight face?

Pause.

"If you wanted 914 information you'd use a one."

"If I wanted to go where?"

"To 914?"

"Where's that?"

"Westchester."

"Oh, Westchester.  I have friends there."

Pause.

"Hello?"

"Yes?"

"So I use ones?"

"Yes.  A one for the 914 area."

"How?"

Pause.

"Put a one before the number."

"Like 1914. Right?"

"1914.555.1212."

"All of those numbers?"

"Yes."

"That's three ones."

"That's the area code."

"I've  heard about those.  They confuse me."   Rumbling  chuckles 
and laughs throughout the hall. 

Pause.

She  slowly and carefully explained what an area code is  to  the 
howlingly irreverent amusement of the entire crowd except for the 
fool narcs. 

"Thanks.  So I can call information and get a number?"

"That's right."

"And there's two numbers I can use?"

"Yes."

"So I got two numbers on one call?"

"Yeah . . ."

"Wow.  Thanks.  Have a nice day."

* * * * * 

Comments heard around HOPE.

Rop Gongrijjp, Hacktic:  "The local phone companies use their own 
social  engineers  when they can't get their own people  to  tell 
them what they need to know."

Sprint  is  using what they consider to be  the  greatest  access 
mechanism since the guillotine.  For all of us road warriors  out 
there  who are forever needing long distance voice  service  from 
the Whattownisthis, USA airport, Sprint thinks they have a better 
mousetrap.  No more messing finger entry.  No more pass-codes  or 
PIN's.  

I  remember at the Washington National Airport last summer I  was 
using my Cable and Wireless long distance access card and entered 
the PIN and to my surprise, an automated voice came on and  said, 
"Sorry,  you entered your PIN with the wrong finger.  Please  try 
again."

Sprint says they've solved this thorny cumbersome problem with  a 
service  called  "The Voice Fone Card".   Instead  of  memorizing 
another  64 digit long PIN, you just speak into the phone:   "Hi, 
it's me.  Give me dial tone or give me death."  The voice  recog
nition  circuits  masturbate  for a while to  determine  if  it's 
really you or not.   

Good idea.  But according to Strat, not a good execution.   Strat 
found  that someone performing a poor imitation of his voice  was 
enough  to break through the front door with ease.  Even  a  poor 
tape  recording  played back over a cheap  cassette  speaker  was 
sufficient to get through Sprint's new whiz-banger ID system.  

Strat  laughed that Sprint officials said in defense, "We  didn't 
say it was secure: just convenient."  

Smart.  Oh, so smart.

* * * * * 

"If  my  generation of the late 60's and early 70's had  had  the 
same  technology  you guys have there never would  have  been  an 
80's."  This was how I opened my portion of the author's panel.

The authors panel was meant to give HOPE hackers insight into how 
they  are  perceived  from the so-called outside.   I  think  the 
session  achieved that well, and I understand the videos will  be 
available soon.  

The question of electronic transvestites on AOL came up to every
one's enjoyment, and all of us on the panel retorted with a  big, 
"So  what?"  If you have cyber-sex with someone on the  'Net  and 
enjoy  it,  what the hell's the difference?   Uncomfortable  butt 
shifting  on chairs echoed how the largely male  audience  likely 
feels about male-male sex regardless of distance. 

"Imagine,"  I  kinda said, "that is a few years you have  a  body 
suit  which  not only can duplicate your moves exactly,  but  can 
touch you in surprisingly private ways when your suit is connect
ed  to another.  In this VR world, you select the gorgeous  woman 
of choice to virtually occupy the other suit, and then the two of 
you  go  for it.  How do you react when you  discover  that  like 
Lola, 'I know what I am, and what I am is a man and so's  Lola.'"   
Muted  acknowledgment  that  unisex may come  to  mean  something 
entirely different in the not too distant future.

"Ooh, ooh, please call on me."  I don't mean to be insulting, but 
purely  for identification purposes, the woman behind  the  voice 
bordered  on five foot four and four hundred pounds. Her  bathtub 
had stretch marks.

I never called on her but that didn't stop her.

"I want to know what you think of how the democratization of  the 
internet  is affected by the differences between  the  government 
and  the  people who think that freedom of the net  is  the  most 
important thing and that government is fucked but for freedom  to 
be  free  you have to have the democracy behind you  which  means 
that the people and the government need to, I mean, you know, and 
get  along  but the sub culture of the hackers doesn't  help  the 
government but hackers are doing their thing which means that the 
democracy will not work , now I know that people are laughing and 
giggling  (which they were in waves) but I'm serious  about  this 
and I know that I have a bad case of hypomania but the medication 
is working so it's not a bad as it could be.  What do you think?"

I  leaned forward into the microphone and gave the only  possible 
answer.   "I  dunno.  Next."  The thunderous  round  of  applause 
which  followed my in-depth response certainly suggested that  my 
answer was correct.  Not politically, not technically, but  anar
chistically. Flexibility counts.

* * * * * 

HOPE  was attended by around one thousands folks, and  the  Hotel 
Filthadelphia still stands.  (Aw shucks.)  

My single biggest complaint was not that the schedules slipped by 
an  hour or two or three; sessions at conferences like this  keep 
going  if  the  audience is into them and they are  found  to  be 
educational and productive.  So an hour session can run into  two 
if  the  material and presentations fit the mood.   In  theory  a 
boring session could find itself kama kazi'd into early melt-down 
if  you have the monotone bean counter from hell  explaining  the 
distributed  statistical means of aggregate synthetic  transverse 
digitization   in  composite  analogous  integral   fruminations.  
(Yeah, this audience would buy off on that in a hot minute.)  But 
there were not any bad sessions.  The single track plenary  style 
attracted  hundred  of  hackers for every  event.   Emmanuel  and 
friends picked their panels and speakers well.  When dealing with 
sponge-like minds who want to soak up all they can learn, even in 
somewhat of a party atmosphere, the response is bound to be good.  

My single biggest complaint was the registration nightmare.   I'd 
rather go the DMV and stand in line there than get tagged by  the 
seemingly  infinite lines at HOPE.  At DefCon early  registration 
was encouraged and the sign up verification kept simple.

For some reason I cannot thoroughly (or even partially) fathom, a 
two  step  procedure was chosen.  Upon entering, and  before  the 
door narcs would let anyone in, each attendee  had to be assigned 
a piece of red cardboard with a number on it.  For the first  day 
you could enter the 'exhibits' and auditorium without  challenge.  
But by Day 2 one was expected to wait in line for the better part 
of  a week, have a digital picture taken on a computer tied to  a 
CCD  camera,  and then receive a legitimate HOPE  photo-ID  card.  
What  a  mess. I don't have to beat them up on it too  bad;  they 
know the whole scheme was rotten to the core.  

I waited till near  the end of Day 2 when the lines were gone and 
the  show was over.  That's when I got my Photo ID card.  I  used 
the MIB's photo ID card the rest of the time.

HOPE  was a lot of fun and I was sorry to see it end, but as  all 
experiences, there is a certain amount of letdown.  After a great 
vacation, or summer camp, or a cruise, or maybe even after  Wood
stock, a tear welts up.  Now I didn't cry that HOPE was over, but 
an  intense 48 hours with hackers is definitely not your  average 
computer  security convention that only rolls from 9AM  to  Happy 
Hour.   At a hacker conference, you snooze, you lose.  You  never 
know  what is going to happen next - so much is  spontaneous  and 
unplanned  - and it generally is highly educational,  informative 
and entertaining.

Computer  security folks:  you missed an event  worth  attending.  
You  missed some very funny entertainment.  You missed some  fine 
young people dressed in some fine garb.  You missed the chance to 
meet with your perceived 'enemy'.  You missed the opportunity  to 
get  inside  the heads of the generation that  knows  more  about 
keyboards  than  Huck  Finning in suburbia.   You  really  missed 
something,  and  you should join Robert MIB Steele and I  at  the 
next hacker conference.              

* * * * *

If only I had known.
  
If  only I had known that tornadoes had been dancing up and  down 
5th  avenue  I would have stayed at the Hotel  Filthadelphia  for 
another night.  

La  Guardia airport was closed.  Flights were up to 6  hours  de
layed if not out and out canceled.  Thousands of stranded travel
ers hunkered down for the night.  If only I had known.  

Wait, wait. Hours to wait.  And then, finally, a plane ready  and 
willing to take off and swerve and dive between thunderbolts  and 
twisters and set me on my way home.  

My kids were bouncing out of the car windows when my wife  picked 
me up at the airport somewhere in the vicinity of 1AM.  

"Not  too  late are you dear?"  Sweet Southern  Sarcasm  from  my 
Sweet Southern Wife.  

"Don't  blame me," I said in all seriousness.  "It was the  hack
ers.  They caused the whole thing."

* * * * * 

Notice: This article is free, and the author encourages responsi
ble  widespread electronic distribution of the document in  full, 
not  piecemeal.  No fees may be charged for its use.    For  hard 
copy print rights, please contact the author and I'll make you an 
offer  you can't refuse.  The author retains full  copyrights  to 
the contents and the term Cyber-Christ.

Winn is the author of "Terminal Compromise",  a  novel  detailing 
a  fictionalized account of a computer war waged on   the  United 
States.   After selling well as a book-store-book, Terminal  Com
promise  was placed on the Global Network as the  world's   first 
Novel-on-the-Net Shareware and has become an underground classic.  
(Gopher TERMCOMP.ZIP)  

His  new  non-fiction book, "Information Warfare:  Chaos  on  the 
Electronic  Superhighway" is  a compelling, non-technical  analy
sis   of personal privacy, economic and industrial espionage  and 
national  security.   He calls for the creation  of   a  National 
Information Policy,  a  Constitution  in Cyberspace and an  Elec
tronic Bill of Rights.

He   may  be reached at INTER.PACT,  11511  Pine  St.,  Seminole, 
FL.  34642. 813-393-6600, fax 813-393-6361,  E-Mail:
P00506@psilink.com.


AOH Site layout & design copyright © 2006 AOH