AOH :: P52-05.TXT

Everything a hacker needs to know about getting busted


---[  Phrack Magazine   Volume 8, Issue 52 January 26, 1998, article 05 of 20


---------[  EVERYTHING A HACKER NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT GETTING BUSTED BY THE FEDS


--------[  Agent Steal <agentsteal@usa.net>


From Federal Prison, 1997

Contributions and editing by Minor Threat

Special thanks to Evian S. Sim

NOTICE: The following document is to be construed as "Legal Material" as set 
forth in The Federal Bureau of Prisons policy statement, P.S. 1315.05, and as 
codified in 28 C.F.R. 543.10-16

This article may be freely reproduced, in whole or in part, provided 
acknowledgments are given to the author.  Any reproduction for profit, lame 
zines, (that means you t0mmy, el8, thief) or law enforcement use is prohibited.
The author and contributor to this phile in no way advocate criminal behavior.

			----------------
			    CONTENTS
			----------------

INTRODUCTION

PART I - FEDERAL CRIMINAL LAW		PART II - FEDERAL PRISON

A.  Relevant Conduct			A.  State v. Federal
B.  Preparing for Trial			B.  Security Levels
C.  Plea Agreements and Attorneys	C.  Getting Designated
D.  Conspiracy				D.  Ignorant Inmates
E.  Sentencing				E.  Population
F.  Use of Special Skill		F.  Doing Time
G.  Getting Bail			G.  Disciplinary Action
H.  State v. Federal Charges		H.  Administrative Remedy
I.  Cooperating				I.  Prison Officials
J.  Still Thinking About Trial		J.  The Hole
K.  Search and Seizure			K.  Good Time
L.  Surveillance			L.  Halfway House
M.  Presentence Investigation		M.  Supervised Release
N.  Proceeding Pro Se
O.  Evidentiary Hearing
P.  Return of Property
Q.  Outstanding Warrants
R.  Encryption
S.  Summary

Part III - 2600 Special Section:

A.  How to Avoid Detection
B.  The Stealth Box
C.  More Protection

CLOSURE



INTRODUCTION

	The likelihood of getting arrested for computer hacking has increased 
to an unprecedented level.  No matter how precautionary or sage you are, you're
bound to make mistakes.  And the fact of the matter is if you have trusted 
anyone else with the knowledge of what you are involved in, you have made your 
first mistake.

	For anyone active in hacking I cannot begin to stress the importance 
of the information contained in this file.  To those who have just been 
arrested by the Feds, reading this file could mean the difference between a 
three-year or a one-year sentence.  To those who have never been busted, 
reading this file will likely change the way you hack, or stop you from 
hacking altogether.

	I realize my previous statements are somewhat lofty, but in the 35 
months I spent incarcerated I've heard countless inmates say it: "If I knew 
then what I know now..." I doubt that anyone would disagree: The criminal 
justice system is a game to be played, both by prosecution and defense.  And if
you have to be a player, you would be wise to learn the rules of engagement. 
The writer and contributors of this file have learned the hard way.  As a 
result we turned our hacking skills during the times of our incarceration 
towards the study of criminal law and, ultimately, survival.  Having filed our 
own motions, written our own briefs and endured life in prison, we now pass 
this knowledge back to the hacker community.  Learn from our experiences... 
and our mistakes.
 
    - Agent Steal


PART I - FEDERAL CRIMINAL LAW

A.  THE BOTTOM LINE - RELEVANT CONDUCT

	For those of you with a short G-phile attention span I'm going to 
cover the single most important topic first.  This is probably the most 
substantial misunderstanding of the present criminal justice system.  The 
subject I am talking about is referred to in legal circles as "relevant 
conduct."  It's a bit complex and I will get into this... However, I have to 
make this crystal clear so that it will stick in your heads.  It boils down to 
two concepts:

I.  ONCE YOU ARE FOUND GUILTY OF EVEN ONE COUNT, EVERY COUNT WILL BE USED TO 
    CALCULATE YOUR SENTENCE

	Regardless of whether you plea bargain to one count or 100, your 
sentence will be the same.  This is assuming we are talking about hacking, 
code abuse, carding, computer trespass, property theft, etc.  All of these are 
treated the same.  Other crimes you committed (but were not charged with) will 
also be used to calculate your sentence.  You do not have to be proven guilty 
of every act.  As long as it appears that you were responsible, or someone 
says you were, then it can be used against you. I know this sounds insane , 
but it's true; it's the preponderance of evidence standard for relevant 
conduct.  This practice includes using illegally seized evidence and 
acquittals as information in increasing the length of your sentence.

II.  YOUR SENTENCE WILL BE BASED ON THE TOTAL MONETARY LOSS

	The Feds use a sentencing table to calculate your sentence.  It's 
simple; More Money = More Time.  It doesn't matter if you tried to break in 10 
times or 10,000 times.  Each one could be a count but it's the loss that 
matters.  And an unsuccessful attempt is treated the same as a completed crime.
It also doesn't matter if you tried to break into one company's computer or 10.
The government will quite simply add all of the estimated loss figures up, and 
then refer to the sentencing table.

B.  PREPARING FOR TRIAL

	I've been trying to be overly simplistic with my explanation.  The 
United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.), are in fact quite complex.  So 
much so that special law firms are forming that deal only with sentencing.  If 
you get busted, I would highly recommend hiring one.  In some cases it might 
be wise to avoid hiring a trial attorney and go straight to one of these "Post 
Conviction Specialists."  Save your money, plead out, do your time.  This may 
sound a little harsh, but considering the fact that the U.S. Attorney's Office 
has a 95% conviction rate, it may be sage advice.  However, I don't want to 
gloss over the importance of a ready for trial posturing.  If you have a 
strong trial attorney, and have a strong case, it will go a long way towards 
good plea bargain negotiations. 

C.  PLEA AGREEMENTS AND ATTORNEYS

	Your attorney can be your worst foe or your finest advocate.  Finding 
the proper one can be a difficult task.  Costs will vary and typically the 
attorney asks you how much cash you can raise and then says, "that amount will 
be fine".  In actuality a simple plea and sentencing should run you around 
$15,000.  Trial fees can easily soar into the 6 figure category.  And finally, 
a post conviction specialist will charge $5000 to $15,000 to handle your 
sentencing presentation with final arguments.

	You may however, find yourself at the mercy of The Public Defenders 
Office.  Usually they are worthless, occasionally you'll find one that will 
fight for you.  Essentially it's a crap shoot.  All I can say is if you don't 
like the one you have, fire them and hope you get appointed a better one.  If 
you can scrape together $5000 for a sentencing (post conviction) specialist to 
work with your public defender I would highly recommend it. This specialist 
will make certain the judge sees the whole picture and will argue in the most 
effective manner for a light or reasonable sentence.  Do not rely on your 
public defender to thoroughly present your case.  Your sentencing hearing is 
going to flash by so fast you'll walk out of the court room dizzy.  You and 
your defense team need to go into that hearing fully prepared, having already 
filed a sentencing memorandum.

	The plea agreement you sign is going to affect you and your case well 
after you are sentenced.  Plea agreements can be tricky business and if you 
are not careful or are in a bad defense position (the case against you is 
strong), your agreement may get the best of you.  There are many issues in a 
plea to negotiate over.  But essentially my advice would be to avoid signing 
away your right to appeal.  Once you get to a real prison with real jailhouse 
lawyers you will find out how bad you got screwed.  That issue notwithstanding,
you are most likely going to want to appeal.  This being the case you need to 
remember two things: bring all your appealable issues up at sentencing and 
file a notice of appeal within 10 days of your sentencing.  Snooze and loose.

	I should however, mention that you can appeal some issues even though 
you signed away your rights to appeal.  For example, you can not sign away 
your right to appeal an illegal sentence.  If the judge orders something that 
is not permissible by statute, you then have a constitutional right to appeal 
your sentence.

	I will close this subpart with a prison joke. Q: How can you tell when 
your attorney is lying? A: You can see his lips moving.

 D.  CONSPIRACY 

	Whatever happened to getting off on a technicality? I'm sorry to say 
those days are gone, left only to the movies.  The courts generally dismiss 
many arguments as "harmless error" or "the government acted in good faith". 
The most alarming trend, and surely the root of the prosecutions success, are 
the liberally worded conspiracy laws.  Quite simply, if two or more people 
plan to do something illegal, then one of them does something in furtherance 
of the objective (even something legal), then it's a crime.  Yes, it's true. 
In America it's illegal to simply talk about committing a crime. Paging Mr. 
Orwell. Hello?

	Here's a hypothetical example to clarify this. Bill G. and Marc A. are 
hackers (can you imagine?) Bill and Marc are talking on the phone and 
unbeknownst to them the FBI is recording the call.  They talk about hacking 
into Apple's mainframe and erasing the prototype of the new Apple Web Browser. 
Later that day, Marc does some legitimate research to find out what type of 
mainframe and operating system Apple uses.  The next morning, the Feds raid 
Marc's house and seize everything that has wires. Bill and Marc go to trial 
and spend millions to defend themselves.  They are both found guilty of 
conspiracy to commit unauthorized access to a computer system.

E.  SENTENCING

	At this point it is up to the probation department to prepare a report 
for the court.  It is their responsibility to calculate the loss and identify 
any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.  Apple Computer Corporation 
estimates that if Bill and Marc would have been successful it would have 
resulted in a loss of $2 million.  This is the figure the court will use. 
Based on this basic scenario our dynamic duo would receive roughly three-year 
sentences.

	As I mentioned, sentencing is complex and many factors can decrease or 
increase a sentence, usually the latter.  Let's say that the FBI also found a 
file on Marc's computer with 50,000 unauthorized account numbers and passwords 
to The Microsoft Network.  Even if the FBI does not charge him with this, it 
could be used to increase his sentence.  Generally the government places a 
$200-per-account attempted loss on things of this nature (i.e. credit card 
numbers and passwords = access devices).  This makes for a $10 million loss. 
Coupled with the $2 million from Apple, Marc is going away for about nine 
years.  Fortunately there is a Federal Prison not too far from Redmond, WA so 
Bill could come visit him.

	Some of the other factors to be used in the calculation of a sentence 
might include the following: past criminal record, how big your role in the 
offense was, mental disabilities, whether or not you were on probation at the 
time of the offense, if any weapons were used, if any threats were used, if 
your name is Kevin Mitnick (heh), if an elderly person was victimized, if you 
took advantage of your employment position, if you are highly trained and used 
your special skill, if you cooperated with the authorities, if you show 
remorse, if you went to trial, etc.

	These are just some of the many factors that could either increase or 
decrease a sentence.  It would be beyond the scope of this article to cover 
the U.S.S.G. in complete detail.  I do feel that I have skipped over some 
significant issues. Nevertheless, if you remember my two main points in 
addition to how the conspiracy law works, you'll be a long way ahead in 
protecting yourself. 

F.  USE OF A SPECIAL SKILL

	The only specific "sentencing enhancement" I would like to cover would 
be one that I am responsible for setting a precedent with.  In U.S. v Petersen,
98 F.3d. 502, 9th Cir., the United States Court of Appeals held that some 
computer hackers may qualify for the special skill enhancement.  What this 
generally means is a 6 to 24 month increase in a sentence.  In my case it 
added eight months to my 33-month sentence bringing it to 41 months.  
Essentially the court stated that since I used my "sophisticated" hacking 
skills towards a legitimate end as a computer security consultant, then the 
enhancement applies.  It's ironic that if I were to have remained strictly a 
criminal hacker then I would have served less time.

	The moral of the story is that the government will find ways to give 
you as much time as they want to.  The U.S.S.G. came into effect in 1987 in an 
attempt to eliminate disparity in sentencing.  Defendants with similar crimes 
and similar backgrounds would often receive different sentences. Unfortunately,
this practice still continues.  The U.S.S.G. are indeed a failure. 

G.  GETTING BAIL 

	In the past, the Feds might simply have executed their raid and then 
left without arresting you.  Presently this method will be the exception 
rather than the rule and it is more likely that you will be taken into custody 
at the time of the raid.  Chances are also good that you will not be released 
on bail.  This is part of the government's plan to break you down and win their 
case.  If they can find any reason to deny you bail they will.  In order to 
qualify for bail, you must meet the following criteria:

- You must be a resident of the jurisdiction in which you were arrested.
- You must be gainfully employed or have family ties to the area.
- You cannot have a history of failure to appear or escape.
- You cannot be considered a danger or threat to the community.

	In addition, your bail can be denied for the following reasons:

- Someone came forward and stated to the court that you said you would flee if 
  released.
- Your sentence will be long if convicted.
- You have a prior criminal history.
- You have pending charges in another jurisdiction.

	What results from all this "bail reform" is that only about 20% of 
persons arrested make bail.  On top of that it takes 1-3 weeks to process your 
bail papers when property is involved in securing your bond.

	Now you're in jail, more specifically you are either in an 
administrative holding facility or a county jail that has a contract with the 
Feds to hold their prisoners.  Pray that you are in a large enough city to 
justify its own Federal Detention Center.  County jails are typically the last 
place you would want to be.
 
H. STATE VS. FEDERAL CHARGES 

	In some cases you will be facing state charges with the possibility of 
the Feds "picking them up."  You may even be able to nudge the Feds into 
indicting you.  This is a tough decision.  With the state you will do 
considerably less time, but will face a tougher crowd and conditions in prison.
Granted, Federal Prisons can be violent too, but generally as a non-violent 
white collar criminal you will eventually be placed into an environment with 
other low security inmates.  More on this later.

	Until you are sentenced, you will remain as a "pretrial inmate" in 
general population with other inmates.  Some of the other inmates will be 
predatorial but the Feds do not tolerate much nonsense.  If someone acts up, 
they'll get thrown in the hole.  If they continue to pose a threat to the 
inmate population, they will be left in segregation (the hole).  Occasionally 
inmates that are at risk or that have been threatened will be placed in 
segregation.  This isn't really to protect the inmate.  It is to protect the 
prison from a lawsuit should the inmate get injured.

 I.  COOPERATING

	Naturally when you are first arrested the suits will want to talk to 
you.  First at your residence and, if you appear to be talkative, they will 
take you back to their offices for an extended chat and a cup of coffee.  My 
advice at this point is tried and true and we've all heard it before: remain 
silent and ask to speak with an attorney.  Regardless of what the situation is,
or how you plan to proceed, there is nothing you can say that will help you. 
Nothing.  Even if you know that you are going to cooperate, this is not the 
time.

	This is obviously a controversial subject, but the fact of the matter 
is roughly 80% of all defendants eventually confess and implicate others.  This
trend stems from the extremely long sentences the Feds are handing out these 
days.  Not many people want to do 10 to 20 years to save their buddies' hides 
when they could be doing 3 to 5.  This is a decision each individual needs to 
make.  My only advice would be to save your close friends and family.  Anyone 
else is fair game.  In the prison system the blacks have a saying "Getting 
down first."  It's no secret that the first defendant in a conspiracy is 
usually going to get the best deal.  I've even seen situations where the big 
fish turned in all his little fish and received 40% off his sentence. 

	Incidentally, being debriefed or interrogated by the Feds can be an 
ordeal in itself.  I would -highly- recommend reading up on interrogation 
techniques ahead of time.  Once you know their methods it will be all quite 
transparent to you and the debriefing goes much more smoothly.

	When you make a deal with the government you're making a deal with the 
devil himself.  If you make any mistakes they will renege on the deal and 
you'll get nothing.  On some occasions the government will trick you into 
thinking they want you to cooperate when they are not really interested in 
anything you have to say.  They just want you to plead guilty.  When you sign 
the cooperation agreement there are no set promises as to how much of a 
sentence reduction you will receive.  That is to be decided after your 
testimony, etc.  and at the time of sentencing.  It's entirely up to the judge.
However, the prosecution makes the recommendation and the judge generally goes 
along with it.  In fact, if the prosecution does not motion the court for your 
"downward departure" the courts' hands are tied and you get no break.

	As you can see, cooperating is a tricky business.  Most people, 
particularly those who have never spent a day in jail, will tell you not to 
cooperate.  "Don't snitch."  This is a noble stance to take.  However, in some 
situations this is just plain stupid.  Saving someone's ass who would easily 
do the same to you is a tough call.  It's something that needs careful 
consideration.  Like I said, save your friends then do what you have to do to 
get out of prison and on with your life.

	I'm happy to say that I was able to avoid involving my good friends 
and a former employer in the massive investigation that surrounded my case.  It
wasn't easy.  I had to walk a fine line.  Many of you probably know that I 
(Agent Steal) went to work for the FBI after I was arrested.  I was 
responsible for teaching several agents about hacking and the culture.  What 
many of you don't know is that I had close FBI ties prior to my arrest.  I was 
involved in hacking for over 15 years and had worked as a computer security 
consultant.  That is why I was given that opportunity.  It is unlikely however,
that we will see many more of these types of arrangements in the future.  Our
relationship ran afoul, mostly due to their passive negligence and lack of 
experience in dealing with hackers.  The government in general now has their 
own resources, experience, and undercover agents within the community.  They 
no longer need hackers to show them the ropes or the latest security hole. 

	Nevertheless, if you are in the position to tell the Feds something 
they don't know and help them build a case against someone, you may qualify 
for a sentence reduction.  The typical range is 20% to 70%.  Usually it's 
around 35% to 50%.  Sometimes you may find yourself at the end of the 
prosecutorial food chain and the government will not let you cooperate.  Kevin 
Mitnick would be a good example of this.  Even if he wanted to roll over, I 
doubt it would get him much.  He's just too big of a fish, too much media. My 
final advice in this matter is get the deal in writing before you start 
cooperating.

	The Feds also like it when you "come clean" and accept responsibility. 
There is a provision in the Sentencing Guidelines, 3E1.1, that knocks a little 
bit of time off if you confess to your crime, plead guilty and show remorse.  
If you go to trial, typically you will not qualify for this "acceptance of 
responsibility" and your sentence will be longer.

J.  STILL THINKING ABOUT TRIAL

	Many hackers may remember the Craig Neidorf case over the famous 911 
System Operation documents.  Craig won his case when it was discovered that 
the manual in question, that he had published in Phrack magazine, was not 
proprietary as claimed but available  publicly from AT&T.  It was an egg in 
the face day for the Secret Service.

	Don't be misled by this.  The government learned a lot from this 
fiasco and even with the laudable support from the EFF, Craig narrowly 
thwarted off a conviction.  Regardless, it was a trying experience (no pun 
intended) for him and his attorneys.  The point I'm trying to make is that it's
tough to beat the Feds.  They play dirty and will do just about anything, 
including lie, to win their case.  If you want to really win you need to know 
how they build a case in the first place.

K.  SEARCH AND SEIZURE

	There is a document entitled "Federal Guidelines For Searching And 
Seizing Computers."  It first came to my attention when it was published in 
the 12-21-94 edition of the Criminal Law Reporter by the Bureau of National 
Affairs (Cite as 56 CRL 2023 ).  It's an intriguing collection of tips, cases, 
mistakes and, in general, how to bust computer hackers.  It's recommended 
reading.

	Search and seizure is an ever evolving jurisprudence.  What's not 
permissible today may, through some convoluted Supreme Court logic, be 
permissible and legal tomorrow.  Again, a complete treatment of this subject 
is beyond the scope of this paper.  But suffice it to say if a Federal agent 
wants to walk right into your bedroom and seize all of your computer equipment 
without a warrant he could do it by simply saying he had probable cause (PC). 
PC is anything that gives him an inkling to believe you were committing a 
crime.  Police have been known to find PC to search a car when the trunk sat 
too low to the ground or the high beams were always on.

L.  SURVEILLANCE AND WIRETAPS

	Fortunately the Feds still have to show a little restraint when 
wielding their wiretaps.  It requires a court order and they have to show that 
there is no other way to obtain the information they seek, a last resort if 
you will.  Wiretaps are also expensive to operate.  They have to lease lines 
from the phone company, pay agents to monitor it 24 hours a day and then 
transcribe it.  If we are talking about a data tap, there are additional costs.
Expensive interception/translation equipment must be in place to negotiate the 
various modem speeds.  Then the data has to be stored, deciphered, 
decompressed, formatted, protocoled, etc.  It's a daunting task and usually 
reserved for only the highest profile cases.  If the Feds can seize the data 
from any other source, like the service provider or victim, they will take 
that route.  I don't know what they hate worse though, asking for outside help 
or wasting valuable internal resources.

	The simplest method is to enlist the help of an informant who will 
testify "I saw him do it!," then obtain a search warrant to seize the evidence 
on your computer. Ba da boom, ba da busted.

	Other devices include a pen register which is a device that logs every 
digit you dial on your phone and the length of the calls, both incoming and 
outgoing.  The phone companies keep racks of them at their security 
departments. They can place one on your line within a day if they feel you are 
defrauding them.  They don't need a court order, but the Feds do.

	A trap, or trap and trace, is typically any method the phone company 
uses to log every number that calls a particular number.  This can be done on 
the switching system level or via a billing database search.  The Feds need a 
court order for this information too.  However, I've heard stories of 
cooperative telco security investigations passing the information along to an 
agent.  Naturally that would be a "harmless error while acting in good faith." 
(legal humor)...

	I'd love to tell you more about FBI wiretaps but this is as far as I 
can go without pissing them off.  Everything I've told you thus far is public 
knowledge.  So I think I'll stop here.  If you really want to know more, catch 
Kevin Poulsen (Dark Dante) at a cocktail party, buy him a Coke and he'll give 
you an earful. (hacker humor)

	In closing this subpart I will say that most electronic surveillance 
is backed up with at least part-time physical surveillance.  The Feds are 
often good at following people around.  They like late model mid-sized 
American cars, very stock, with no decals or bumper stickers.  If you really 
want to know if you're under surveillance, buy an Opto-electronics Scout or 
Xplorer frequency counter.  Hide it on your person, stick an ear plug in your 
ear (for the Xplorer) and take it everywhere you go.  If you hear people 
talking about you, or you continue to hear intermittent static (encrypted 
speech), you probably have a problem.

M.   YOUR PRESENTENCE INVESTIGATION REPORT, PSI OR PSR 

	After you plead guilty you will be dragged from the quiet and comfort 
of your prison cell to meet with a probation officer.  This has absolutely 
nothing to do with getting probation.  Quite the contrary.  The P.O. is 
empowered by the court to prepare a complete and, in theory, unbiased profile 
of the defendant.  Everything from education, criminal history, psychological 
behavior, offense characteristics plus more will be included in this 
voluminous and painfully detailed report about your life.  Every little dirty 
scrap of information that makes you look like a sociopath, demon worshiping, 
loathsome criminal will be included in this report.  They'll put a few negative
things in there as well.

	My advice is simple.  Be careful what you tell them.  Have your 
attorney present and think about how what you say can be used against you. 
Here's an example:

P.O.: Tell me about your education and what you like to do in your spare time.

Mr. Steal: I am preparing to enroll in my final year of college. In my spare
           time I work for charity helping orphan children.

The PSR then reads "Mr. Steal has never completed his education and hangs 
around with little children in his spare time." Get the picture?

J.  PROCEEDING PRO SE 

	Pro Se or Pro Per is when a defendant represents himself.  A famous 
lawyer once said "a man that represents himself has a fool for a client." 
Truer words were never spoken.  However, I can't stress how important it is to 
fully understand the criminal justice system.  Even if you have a great 
attorney it's good to be able to keep an eye on him or even help out.  An 
educated client's help can be of enormous benefit to an attorney.  They may 
think you're a pain in the ass but it's your life.  Take a hold of it.  
Regardless, representing yourself is generally a mistake.

	However, after your appeal, when your court appointed attorney runs 
out on you, or you have run out of funds, you will be forced to handle matters 
yourself.  At this point there are legal avenues, although quite bleak, for 
post-conviction relief.

	But I digress.  The best place to start in understanding the legal 
system lies in three inexpensive books.  First the Federal Sentencing 
Guidelines ($14.00) and Federal Criminal Codes and Rules ($20.00) are 
available from West Publishing at 800-328-9352.  I consider possession of 
these books to be mandatory for any pretrial inmate.  Second would be the 
Georgetown Law Journal, available from Georgetown University Bookstore in 
Washington, DC.  The book sells for around $40.00 but if you write them a 
letter and tell them you're a Pro Se litigant they will send it for free.  And 
last but not least the definitive Pro Se authority, "The Prisoners Self Help 
Litigation Manual" $29.95 ISBN 0-379-20831-8.  Or try 
http://www.oceanalaw.com/books/n148.htm

O.  EVIDENTIARY HEARING 

	If you disagree with some of the information presented in the 
presentence report (PSR) you may be entitled to a special hearing.  This can 
be instrumental in lowering your sentence or correcting your PSR.  One 
important thing to know is that your PSR will follow you the whole time you 
are incarcerated.  The Bureau of Prisons uses the PSR to decide how to handle 
you.  This can affect your security level, your halfway house, your 
eligibility for the drug program (which gives you a year off your sentence),
and your medical care.  So make sure your PSR is accurate before you get 
sentenced!

P.  GETTING YOUR PROPERTY BACK 

	In most cases it will be necessary to formally ask the court to have 
your property returned.  They are not going to just call you up and say "Do 
you want this Sparc Station back or what?" No, they would just as soon keep it 
and not asking for it is as good as telling them they can have it.

	You will need to file a 41(e) "Motion For Return Of Property." The 
courts' authority to keep your stuff is not always clear and will have to be 
taken on a case-by-case basis.  They may not care and the judge will simply 
order that it be returned.

	If you don't know how to write a motion, just send a formal letter to 
the judge asking for it back.  Tell him you need it for your job.  This should 
suffice, but there may be a filing fee.

Q.  OUTSTANDING WARRANTS

	If you have an outstanding warrant or charges pending in another 
jurisdiction you would be wise to deal with them as soon as possible -after- 
you are sentenced.  If you follow the correct procedure chances are good the 
warrants will be dropped (quashed).  In the worst case scenario, you will be 
transported to the appropriate jurisdiction, plead guilty and have your "time 
run concurrent."  Typically in non-violent crimes you can serve several 
sentences all at the same time.  Many Federal inmates have their state time 
run with their Federal time.  In a nutshell: concurrent is good, consecutive 
bad.

	This procedure is referred to as the Interstate Agreement On Detainers 
Act (IADA).  You may also file a "demand for speedy trial", with the 
appropriate court.  This starts the meter running.  If they don't extradite 
you within a certain period of time, the charges will have to be dropped.  The 
"Inmates' Self-Help Litigation Manual" that I mentioned earlier covers this 
topic quite well.

R.   ENCRYPTION

	There are probably a few of you out there saying, "I triple DES 
encrypt my hard drive and 128 character RSA public key it for safety." Well, 
that's just great, but... the Feds can have a grand jury subpoena your 
passwords and if you don't give them up you may be charged with obstruction of 
justice.  Of course who's to say otherwise if you forgot your password in all 
the excitement of getting arrested.  I think I heard this once or twice before 
in a Senate Sub-committee hearing.  "Senator, I have no recollection of the 
aforementioned events at this time."  But seriously, strong encryption is 
great.  However, it would be foolish to rely on it.  If the Feds have your 
computer and access to your encryption software itself, it is likely they 
could break it given the motivation.  If you understand the true art of code 
breaking you should understand this.  People often overlook the fact that your 
password, the one you use to access your encryption program, is typically less 
than 8 characters long.  By attacking the access to your encryption program 
with a keyboard emulation sequencer your triple DES/128 bit RSA crypto is 
worthless.  Just remember, encryption may not protect you.

S.  LEGAL SUMMARY

	Before I move on to the Life in Prison subpart, let me tell you what 
this all means.  You're going to get busted, lose everything you own, not get 
out on bail, snitch on your enemies, get even more time than you expected and 
have to put up with a bunch of idiots in prison.  Sound fun?  Keep hacking. 
And, if possible, work on those sensitive .gov sites.  That way they can hang 
an espionage rap on you.  That will carry about 12 to 18 years for a first 
time offender.

	I know this may all sound a bit bleak, but the stakes for hackers have 
gone up and you need to know what they are.  Let's take a look at some recent 
sentences:

      Agent Steal (me) 41 months
      Kevin Poulsen 51 months
      Minor Threat 70 months
      Kevin Mitnick estimated 7-9 years

	As you can see, the Feds are giving out some time now.  If you are 
young, a first-time offender, unsophisticated (like MOD), and were just 
looking around in some little company's database, you might get probation.  But
chances are that if that is all you were doing, you would have been passed 
over for prosecution.  As a rule, the Feds won't take the case unless $10,000 
in damages are involved.  The problem is who is to say what the loss is?  The 
company can say whatever figure it likes and it would be tough to prove 
otherwise.  They may decide to, for insurance purposes, blame some huge 
downtime expense on you.  I can hear it now, "When we detected the intruder, 
we promptly took our system off-line.  It took us two weeks to bring it up 
again for a loss in wasted manpower of $2 million."  In some cases you might 
be better off just using the company's payroll system to cut you a couple of 
$10,000 checks.  That way the government has a firm loss figure.  This would 
result in a much shorter sentence.  I'm not advocating blatant criminal actions.
I just think the sentencing guidelines definitely need some work.


PART II - FEDERAL PRISON


A.  STATE v. FEDERAL 

	In most cases I would say that doing time in a Federal Prison is better
than doing time in the state institutions.  Some state prisons are such 
violent and pathetic places that it's worth doing a little more time in the 
Federal system.  This is going to be changing however.  The public seems to 
think that prisons are too comfortable and as a result Congress has passed a 
few bills to toughen things up.

	Federal prisons are generally going to be somewhat less crowded, 
cleaner, and more laid back.  The prison I was at looked a lot like a college 
campus with plenty of grass and trees, rolling hills, and stucco buildings.  I 
spent most of my time in the library hanging out with Minor Threat.  We would 
argue over who was more elite. "My sentence was longer," he would argue.  "I 
was in more books and newspapers," I would rebut. (humor)

	Exceptions to the Fed is better rule would be states that permit 
televisions and word processors in your cell.  As I sit here just prior to 
release scribbling this article with pen and paper I yearn for even a Smith 
Corona with one line display.  The states have varying privileges.  You could 
wind up someplace where everything gets stolen from you.  There are also 
states that are abolishing parole, thus taking away the ability to get out 
early with good behavior.  That is what the Feds did.

B.  SECURITY LEVELS

	The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has six security levels.  Prisons are 
assigned a security level and only prisoners with the appropriate ratings are 
housed there.  Often the BOP will have two or three facilities at one location.
Still, they are essentially separate prisons, divided by fences.

	The lowest level facility is called a minimum, a camp, or FPC. 
Generally speaking, you will find first time, non-violent offenders with less 
than 10 year sentences there.  Camps have no fences.  Your work assignment at 
a camp is usually off the prison grounds at a nearby military base.  Other 
times camps operate as support for other nearby prisons.

	The next level up is a low Federal Correctional Institution (FCI). 
These are where you find a lot of people who should be in a camp but for some 
technical reason didn't qualify.  There is a double fence with razor wire 
surrounding it.  Again you will find mostly non-violent types here.  You would 
really have to piss someone off before they would take a swing at you.

	Moving up again we get to medium and high FCI's which are often 
combined.  More razor wire, more guards, restricted movement and a rougher 
crowd.  It's also common to find people with 20 or 30+ year sentences. 
Fighting is much more common.  Keep to yourself, however, and people generally 
leave you alone.  Killings are not too terribly common.  With a prison 
population of 1500-2000, about one or two a year leave on a stretcher and don't
come back.

	The United States Penitentiary (U.S.P.) is where you find the murderers,
rapists, spies and the roughest gang bangers.  "Leavenworth" and "Atlanta" are 
the most infamous of these joints.  Traditionally surrounded by a 40 foot 
brick wall, they take on an ominous appearance.  The murder rate per prison 
averages about 30 per year with well over 250 stabbings.

	The highest security level in the system is Max, sometimes referred to 
as "Supermax."  Max custody inmates are locked down all the time.  Your mail is
shown to you over a TV screen in your cell.  The shower is on wheels and it 
comes to your door.  You rarely see other humans and if you do leave your cell 
you will be handcuffed and have at least a three guard escort.  Mr. Gotti, the 
Mafia boss, remains in Supermax.  So does Aldridge Ames, the spy.


C.  GETTING DESIGNATED 

	Once you are sentenced, the BOP has to figure out what they want to do 
with you.  There is a manual called the "Custody and Classification Manual" 
that they are supposed to follow.  It is publicly available through the 
Freedom of Information Act and it is also in most prison law libraries.  
Unfortunately, it can be interpreted a number of different ways.  As a result, 
most prison officials responsible for classifying you do pretty much as they 
please.

	Your first classification is done by the Region Designator at BOP 
Regional Headquarters.  As a computer hacker you will most likely be placed in 
a camp or a low FCI.  This is assuming you weren't pulling bank jobs on the 
side.  -IF- you do wind up in an FCI, you should make it to a camp after six 
months.  This is assuming you behave yourself.

	Another thing the Region Designator will do is to place a "Computer 
No" on your file.  This means you will not be allowed to operate a computer at 
your prison work assignment.  In my case I wasn't allowed to be within 10 feet 
of one.  It was explained to me that they didn't even want me to know the 
types of software they were running.  Incidentally, the BOP uses PC/Server 
based LANs with NetWare 4.1 running on Fiber 10baseT Ethernet connections to 
Cabletron switches and hubs.  PC based gateways reside at every prison. The 
connection to the IBM mainframe (Sentry) is done through leased lines via 
Sprintnet's Frame Relay service with 3270 emulation software/hardware resident 
on the local servers.  Sentry resides in Washington, D.C. with SNA type 
network concentrators at the regional offices. ;-) And I picked all of this up 
without even trying to.  Needless to say, BOP computer security is very lax. 
Many of their publicly available "Program Statements" contain specific 
information on how to use Sentry and what it's designed to do.  They have other
networks as well, but this is not a tutorial on how to hack the BOP.  I'll save
that for if they ever really piss me off. (humor)

	Not surprisingly, the BOP is very paranoid about computer hackers. I 
went out of my way not to be interested in their systems or to receive 
computer security related mail.  Nevertheless, they tried restricting my mail 
on numerous occasions.  After I filed numerous grievances and had a meeting 
with the warden, they decided I was probably going to behave myself. My 20 or 
so magazine subscriptions were permitted to come in, after a special screening.
Despite all of that I still had occasional problems, usually when I received 
something esoteric in nature.  It's my understanding, however, that many 
hackers at other prisons have not been as fortunate as I was. 

D.  IGNORANT INMATES

	 You will meet some of the stupidest people on the planet in prison. I 
suppose that is why they are there, too dumb to do anything except crime.  And 
for some strange reason these uneducated low class common thieves think they 
deserve your respect.  In fact they will often demand it.  These are the same 
people that condemn everyone who cooperated, while at the same time feel it is 
fine to break into your house or rob a store at gunpoint.  These are the types 
of inmates you will be incarcerated with, and occasionally these inmates will 
try to get over on you.  They will do this for no reason other than the fact 
you are an easy mark.

	There are a few tricks hackers can do to protect themselves in prison. 
The key to your success is acting before the problem escalates.  It is also 
important to have someone outside (preferably another hacker) that can do some 
social engineering for you.  The objective is simply to have your problem 
inmate moved to another institution.  I don't want to give away my methods but 
if staff believes that an inmate is going to cause trouble, or if they believe 
his life is in danger, they will move him or lock him away in segregation. 
Social engineered letters (official looking) or phone calls from the right 
source to the right department will often evoke brisk action.  It's also quite 
simple to make an inmates life quite miserable.  If the BOP has reason to 
believe that an inmate is an escape risk, a suicide threat, or had pending 
charges, they will handle them much differently.  Tacking these labels on an 
inmate would be a real nasty trick.  I have a saying: "Hackers usually have 
the last word in arguments." Indeed.

	Chances are you won't have many troubles in prison.  This especially 
applies if you go to a camp, mind your own business, and watch your mouth.  
Nevertheless, I've covered all of this in the event you find yourself caught 
up in the ignorant behavior of inmates whose lives revolve around prison.  And 
one last piece of advice, don't make threats, truly stupid people are too 
stupid to fear anything, particularly an intelligent man.  Just do it.

E.  POPULATION

	The distribution of blacks, whites and Hispanics varies from 
institution to institution.  Overall it works out to roughly 30% white, 30% 
Hispanic and 30% black.  The remaining 10% are various other races.  Some 
joints have a high percent of blacks and vice versa.  I'm not necessarily a 
prejudiced person, but prisons where blacks are in majority are a nightmare. 
Acting loud, disrespectful, and trying to run the place is par for the course.

	In terms of crimes, 60% of the Federal inmate population are 
incarcerated for drug related crimes.  The next most common would be bank 
robbery (usually for quick drug money), then various white collar crimes.  The 
Federal prison population has changed over the years.  It used to be a place 
for the criminal elite.  The tough drug laws have changed all of that.

	Just to quell the rumors, I'm going to cover the topic of prison rape. 
Quite simply, in medium and low security level Federal prisons it is unheard 
of.  In the highs it rarely happens.  When it does happen, one could argue 
that the victim was asking for it.  I heard an inmate say once, "You can't 
make no inmate suck cock that don't wanta."  Indeed.  In my 41 months of 
incarceration, I never felt in any danger.  I would occasionally have inmates 
that would subtly ask me questions to see where my preferences lie, but once I 
made it clear that I didn't swing that way I would be left alone.  Hell, I got 
hit on more often when I was hanging out in Hollywood!

	On the other hand, state prisons can be a hostile environment for rape 
and fighting in general.  Many of us heard how Bernie S. got beat up over use 
of the phone.  Indeed, I had to get busy a couple of times.  Most prison 
arguments occur over three simple things: the phone, the TV and money/drugs. 
If you want to stay out of trouble in a state prison, or Federal for that 
matter, don't use the phone too long, don't change the channel and don't get 
involved in gambling or drugs.  As far as rape goes, pick your friends 
carefully and stick with them.  And always, always, be respectful.  Even if 
the guy is a fucking idiot (and most inmates are), say excuse me.

	My final piece of prison etiquette advice would be to never take your 
inmate problems to "the man" (prison staff).  Despite the fact that most 
everyone in prison snitched on their co-defendants at trial, there is no 
excuse for being a prison rat.  The rules are set by the prisoners themselves. 
If someone steps out of line there will likely be another inmate who will be 
happy to knock him back.  In some prisons inmates are so afraid of being 
labeled a rat that they refuse to be seen talking alone with a prison staff 
member.  I should close this paragraph by stating that this bit of etiquette 
is routinely ignored as other inmates will snitch on you for any reason 
whatsoever.  Prison is a strange environment.

F.  DOING TIME

	You can make what you want to out of prison.  Some people sit around 
and do dope all day.  Others immerse themselves in a routine of work and 
exercise.  I studied technology and music.  Regardless, prisons are no longer 
a place of rehabilitation.  They serve only to punish and conditions are only 
going to worsen.  The effect is that angry, uneducated, and unproductive 
inmates are being released back into society.

	While I was incarcerated in 95/96, the prison band program was still 
in operation.  I played drums for two different prison bands.  It really helped
pass the time and when I get out I will continue with my career in music. Now 
the program has been canceled, all because some senator wanted to be seen as 
being tough on crime.  Bills were passed in Congress.  The cable TV is gone, 
pornography mags are no longer permitted, and the weight piles are being 
removed.  All this means is that prisoners will have more spare time on their 
hands, and so more guards will have to be hired to watch the prisoners.  I 
don't want to get started on this subject.  Essentially what I'm saying is 
make something out of your time.  Study, get in to a routine and before you 
know you'll be going home, and a better person on top of it.

G.  DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS 

	What fun is it if you go to prison and don't get into some mischief? 
Well, I'm happy to say the only "shots" (violations) I ever received were for 
having a friend place a call with his three-way calling for me (you can't call 
everyone collect), and drinking homemade wine. |-) The prison occasionally 
monitors your phone calls and on the seven or eight hundredth time I made a 
three-way I got caught.  My punishment was ten hours of extra duty (cleaning 
up).  Other punishments for shots include loss of phone use, loss of 
commissary, loss of visits, and getting thrown in the hole.  Shots can also 
increase your security level and can get you transferred to a higher level 
institution.  If you find yourself having trouble in this area you may want to 
pick up the book, "How to win prison disciplinary hearings", by Alan Parmelee, 
206-328-2875.

H.  ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDY 

	If you have a disagreement with the way staff is handling your case 
(and you will) or another complaint, there is an administrative remedy 
procedure.  First you must try to resolve it informally.  Then you can file a 
form BP-9.  The BP-9 goes to the warden.  After that you can file a BP-10 
which goes to the region.  Finally, a BP-11 goes to the National BOP 
Headquarters (Central Office).  The whole procedure is a joke and takes about 
six months to complete.  Delay and conquer is the BOP motto.  After you 
complete the remedy process to no avail, you may file your action in a civil 
court.  In some extreme cases you may take your case directly to the courts 
without exhausting the remedy process. Again, the "Prisoners Self-Help 
Litigation Manual" covers this quite well.

	My best advice with this remedy nonsense is to keep your request brief,
clear, concise and only ask for one specific thing per form.  Usually if you 
"got it coming" you will get it.  If you don't, or if the BOP can find any 
reason to deny your request, they will. 

	For this reason I often took my problems outside the prison from the 
start.  If it was a substantial enough issue I would inform the media, the 
director of the BOP, all three of my attorneys, my judge and the ACLU.  Often 
this worked. It always pissed them off.  But, alas I'm a man of principle and 
if you deprive me of my rights I'm going to raise hell.  In the past I might 
have resorted to hacker tactics, like disrupting the BOP's entire 
communication system bringing it crashing down!  But...I'm rehabilitated now. 
Incidentally, most BOP officials and inmates have no concept of the kind of 
havoc a hacker can wield on an individuals life.  So until some hacker shows 
the BOP which end is up you will have to accept the fact most everyone you 
meet in prison will have only nominal respect for you.  Deal with it, you're 
not in cyberspace anymore.

I.  PRISON OFFICIALS 

	There are two types, dumb and dumber.  I've had respect for several
but I've never met one that impressed me as being particularly talented in a 
way other than following orders.  Typically you will find staff that are 
either just doing their job, or staff that is determined to advance their 
career.  The latter take their jobs and themselves way too seriously.  They 
don't get anywhere by being nice to inmates so they are often quite curt.
Ex-military and law enforcement wannabes are commonplace.  All in all they're 
a pain in the ass but easy to deal with.  Anyone who has ever been down 
(incarcerated) for awhile knows it's best to keep a low profile.  If they don't
know you by name you're in good shape.

	One of the problems that computer hackers will encounter with prison 
staff is fear and/or resentment.  If you are a pretentious articulate educated 
white boy like myself you would be wise to act a little stupid.  These people 
don't want to respect you and some of them will hate everything that you stand 
for.  Many dislike all inmates to begin with.  And the concept of you someday 
having a great job and being successful bothers them.  It's all a rather 
bizarre environment where everyone seems to hate their jobs. I guess I've led 
a sheltered life.

	Before I move on, sometimes there will be certain staff members, like 
your Case Manager, that will have a substantial amount of control over your 
situation.  The best way to deal with the person is to stay out of their way. 
Be polite, don't file grievances against them and hope that they will take 
care of you when it comes time.  If this doesn't seem to work, then you need 
to be a total pain in the ass and ride them with every possible request you 
can muster.  It's especially helpful if you have outside people willing to 
make calls.  Strong media attention will usually, at the very least, make the 
prison do what they are supposed to do.  If you have received a lot of bad 
press, this could be a disadvantage.  If your care continues to be a problem, 
the prison will transfer you to another facility where you are more likely to 
get a break.  All in all how you choose to deal with staff is often a 
difficult decision.  My advice is that unless you are really getting screwed 
over or really hate the prison you are in, don't rock the boat.

J.  THE HOLE

	Segregation sucks, but chances are you will find yourself there at 
some point and usually for the most ridiculous of reasons.  Sometimes you will 
wind up there because of what someone else did.  The hole is a 6' x 10' 
concrete room with a steel bed and steel toilet.  Your privileges will vary, 
but at first you get nothing but a shower every couple of days.  Naturally they
feed you but, it's never enough, and it's often cold.  With no snacks you 
often find yourself quite hungry in-between meals.  There is nothing to do 
there except read and hopefully some guard has been kind enough to throw you 
some old novel.

	Disciplinary actions will land you in the hole for typically a week or 
two.  In some cases you might get stuck there for a month or three.  It depends 
on the shot and on the Lieutenant that sent you there.  Sometimes people never 
leave the hole....

K.  GOOD TIME

	You get 54 days per year off of your sentence for good behavior.  If 
anyone tells you that a bill is going to be passed to give 108 days, they are 
lying.  54 days a year works out to 15% and you have to do something 
significant to justify getting that taken away.  The BOP has come up with the 
most complicated and ridiculous way to calculate how much good time you have 
earned.  They have a book about three inches thick that discusses how to 
calculate your exact release date.  I studied the book intensely and came to 
the conclusion that the only purpose it serves is to covertly steal a few days 
of good time from you.  Go figure.

L.  HALFWAY HOUSE

	All "eligible" inmates are to serve the last 10% of their sentence 
(not to exceed six months) in a Community Corrections Center (CCC).  At the CCC
, which is nothing more than a large house in a bad part of town, you are to 
find a job in the community and spend your evenings and nights at the CCC.  You
have to give 25% of the gross amount of your check to the CCC to pay for all of
your expenses, unless you are a rare Federal prisoner sentenced to serve all of
your time at the CCC in which case it is 10%.  They will breathalyse and 
urinanalyse you routinely to make sure you are not having too much fun.  If 
you're a good little hacker you'll get a weekend pass so you can stay out all 
night.  Most CCCs will transfer you to home confinement status after a few 
weeks.  This means you can move into your own place, (if they approve it) but 
still have to be in for the evenings.  They check up on you by phone.  And no, 
you are not allowed call forwarding, silly rabbit.

M.  SUPERVISED RELEASE

	Just when you think the fun is all over, after you are released from 
prison or the CCC, you will be required to report to a Probation Officer.  For
the next 3 to 5 years you will be on Supervised Release.  The government 
abolished parole, thereby preventing convicts from getting out of prison early.
Despite this they still want to keep tabs on you for awhile.

	Supervised Release, in my opinion, is nothing more than extended 
punishment.  You are a not a free man able to travel and work as you please. 
All of your activities will have to be presented to your Probation Officer 
(P.O.).  And probation is essentially what Supervised Release is.  Your P.O. 
can violate you for any technical violations and send you back to prison for 
several months, or over a year.  If you have ANY history of drug use you will 
be required to submit to random (weekly) urinalyses.  If you come up dirty it's
back to the joint.

	As a hacker you may find that your access to work with, or possession 
of computer equipment may be restricted.  While this may sound pragmatic to 
the public, in practice it serves no other purpose that to punish and limit a 
former hacker's ability to support himself.  With computers at libraries, copy 
shops, schools, and virtually everywhere, it's much like restricting someone 
who used a car to get to and from a bank robbery to not ever drive again.  If a
hacker is predisposed to hacking he's going to be able to do it with or 
without restrictions.  In reality many hackers don't even need a computer to 
achieve their goals.  As you probably know a phone and a little social 
engineering go a long way.

	But with any luck you will be assigned a reasonable P.O. and you will 
stay out of trouble.  If you give your P.O. no cause to keep an eye on you, 
you may find the reins loosening up.  You may also be able to have your
Supervised Release terminated early by the court.  After a year or so, with 
good cause, and all of your government debts paid, it might be plausible.  Hire
an attorney, file a motion.

	For many convicts Supervised Release is simply too much like being in 
prison.  For those it is best to violate, go back to prison for a few months, 
and hope the judge terminates their Supervised Release.  Although the judge 
may continue your supervision, he/she typically will not.


PART III


A.  HOW TO AVOID DETECTION

        Now that you know what kind of trouble you are facing I'll go back to
the beginning.  If what I've just covered doesn't make you want to stop
hacking then you had better learn how to protect yourself.  Many hackers feel
they have some god given constitutional right to hack.  Many don't believe it
should be illegal.  Well, neurosis and personality disorders work in strange
ways.  Regardless, I'll cover the topic of stealth.  Please note that I in no
way advocate or encourage hacking.  This technical information is being
provided for educational purposes only.  And as I mentioned you may feel you
have a perfectly legitimate reason for avoiding detection, simply trying to
stay clear of other hackers would be an acceptable reason.  This paper (I'm
sure) will also serve to educate law enforcement officials on the methods
currently being deployed by hackers to avoid detection.

        Avoiding being identified while hacking is in actually a rather simple
feat, assuming you follow a few simple rules.  Unfortunately, very few
people bother with them, due typically to arrogance and ego.  Which as I have
noticed, seems to be a trait that is a prerequisite to being a successful
hacker.  I've never met a hacker who didn't think he was the shit.  And when
it gets right down to it that was the reason that Mitnick got caught.  I'll
examine this incident a little later.

     So I will list here a few of the basic rules I used, and then I'll
expound upon them a little later.

     * Most important of all, I would never tell another hacker who I was,
       where I lived, or give out my home phone number. (OK, I screwed up
       on that one.)

     * I didn't set up network access accounts up in my real name or use
       my real address.

     * I didn't set up phone numbers in my real name.

     * I would never dial directly in to anything I was hacking.

     * I would set up some kind of notification system that would let me
       know if someone was trying to figure out where I was connecting from.

     * I didn't transmit personal data on systems I had have hacked into.

     * When I used a network or computer for work or social objectives, I
       tried to keep it separate from my hacking.

     * I never assumed that just by connecting through a bunch of different
       networks or using cellular phones that I was safe.  Even though most
       cellular networks do not have triangulation equipment installed they
       still have the ability to narrow a transmitting location down to a
       square mile of even a few blocks, this even well after you have dis-
       connected.

     * The minute I got into a system I would examine and edit all of the
       logs.  I would also look for email daemons on admin or admin assoc-
       iated accts. that sent out copies of the system security logs.
     
     * When setting up accts. on systems I would use different login ID's.

     * I never went to hacker cons. (Until I worked with the FBI)

     * I would change network access dial up accts. and dial up numbers
       every so often. I would also change living locations every 8-12
       months.

     * I would keep in mind that the numbers I dialed on my phone could
       eventually be used to track me again.  For example, if I called my
       girl friend frequently, after I changed numbers and location I might
       still be calling that number.  The telcos now have toll record data
       base software that can cross reference and track this type of thing.

     * I rarely used IRC until I worked with the FBI.  If -you- must, change
       your handle frequently, remain in invisible mode, and if you're leet
       enough, spoof your IP.  Remember that you should never trust other
       hackers.  Many times association with them will cause you as much
       trouble as a run in with the Feds.

        And yes the FBI logs all of the IRC channels and searches them for key
words when they are looking for information on someone or some breech.  There
is a secret logging program running on a special irc.server that doesn't
accept port 6667 connections, etc.  Doesn't show up as a link either. Hmm. ;-)

         Following all of those rules would be tough.  The fact of the matter
is if you generate enough interest and piss off the right people, they will
come after you.  However, the FBI routinely passes over low level hackers.
When I worked with the Bureau I was instructed that only the most malicious
and aggressive hackers where to be investigated.  Fine with me, wasn't my goal 
in life to put a bunch a little hacker dorks in jail.  It's not real easy to
catch an accomplished hacker but it can be done, it's really just a matter of
contacting all of the right people and putting a little time into it.
Typically hackers get caught because someone snitched.  Thus the importance of
my first rule, I never told anyone who I really was.  The other primary reason
for getting caught is arrogance or underestimating the abilities of the
authorities.  Poulsen didn't believe an investigator would sit outside of a
grocery store for a week on the off chance he might show up.  Poulsen had used
the pay phones at that store a few times, which was determined by a toll
record search.  Mitnick didn't think someone would go through the trouble of
doing toll searches on cell phone records then radio frequency triangulating
his location.

     Poulsen and I went through some rather elaborate anti-detection
procedures.  Since I had physical access to my local telco Central Office I
would activate, connect, and wire all of my own phone services.  There was
essentially no record of my phone number or cable and pair data.  In addition, 
I ran the wires going into my apartment through a trash chute, over the roof
covered by tar, and down a vent pipe into my bathroom.  The connection to the
bridging terminal (F2) was through a hole drilled into the back of the
junction box.  Examination of the telephone box in the basement of my building
revealed no connections, you would have had to take the box apart to see it.
And if that wasn't enough over at the C.O. I tapped on to the output channel
(SC1, which was the feed to SCCS) of the 1AESS telephone switch and ran it up
to my apartment.  There I had an old PC-XT with a Bell 202 modem watching the
1AESS output.  Poulsen wrote a small basic program that looked for call traces
and any other suspicious activity.  The XT would start beeping and print out
any of those output messages.  Elaborate indeed.


B.  THE STEALTH BOX


        But a truly good anti-detection system would notify you absolutely if
someone was attempting to trace your connection.  In addition, it would
terminate the connection before it allowed someone to see where it was going.
What I am suggesting is some type of dial in/dial out mechanism.  For example,
2 modems connected back to back, with their 232 ports connected.  They would
then be placed in a generic wall mounted box in anonymous phone closet
somewhere.  In addition, a stun gun would be wired to give the modems a death
shock if the box was opened by an unauthorized person.  A password would be
set on the modem for dial out and the phone lines feeding the two modems would
have to be set up under separate accounts.  This would require anyone
investigating, to come out and take a gander at this device to determine that,
it's not the location of the hacker, and that yet another call trace is in
order to see who is dialing in.  However, having opened the box the
investigator has disabled the device and when you dial in you'll know that
something is up.  Even if they attempt to replace the device, they could never
know the original password, or even if there was one.  It would be further
advisable to disguise the telephone lines feeding the device, making it
necessary to open the box to identify them.

        Well that's just an idea for the design of an anti-detection device.
It's obviously a bit complex, but you get the idea.  My point being that
avoiding detection is not a simple task.  If someone wants you they can get
you.  There really isn't such a thing as a secure connection; virtually
everything can be traced, short of a highly directional data burst satellite
uplink.  At that point the Air Force National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) or
the NSA would have to get involved, big bucks.

        Aside from setting up physical hardware another idea would be to find
a Sysadmin that will let you use his system to connect through.  If you trust
him to tell you if there has been an inquiry regarding your connection then
you might be OK.  It would also be wise to set up background processes that
monitor finger and other related probes of your account.  Watch them watch you.

        As I mentioned earlier if you fall under surveillance there will be
2-way radio traffic in your vicinity.  Using the Opto-Electronics Explorer
will detect this and you can further investigate to see who it may be.  Good
physical surveillance is difficult to detect.  Bad physical surveillance is
comical.


C.  MORE PROTECTION


        I covered encryption earlier and as I mentioned it really is not safe
to assume that it will protect you from someone who takes possession of your
computer.  The only truly safe encryption would be a military spec.
hardware/software implementation.  When people talk about secure encryption
they are not taking into account that all the power of a Government might be 
trying to crack it, and that they will have physical access to the encryption
device, your computer!  This leaves us with one other method, destroying the
data.  Now this in and of it's self can be construed as obstruction of
justice.  However, should you feel the need to instantly destroy all of the
data on your hard drive, for oh.. lets say educational purposes.  I would
suggest mounting a bulk magnetic tape eraser next to your hard drive.  You can
pick one up at Radio Hack, err Shack.  One flip of the panic switch, thus
powering up the eraser while the drive is turning, and ZAP!  Mount a switch
next to your bed. ;-)

        This may or may not destroy all of the data on your drive.  If the
drive disk is removed and placed on a special reader some data may still be
recovered.  This is a science in itself.  DOD spec. requires that a hard drive
be written to with O's 7 times before it is considered erased.  Simply erasing
a file, formatting, or defragging will not suffice.  Look for a shareware
utility named "BCwipe".  This will erase to military spec.  You may also want
to install some type of program that auto erases under certain conditions.
Regardless, computer specialists that work with computer crime are trained to
look for this.

        There are still a lot of issues that could be covered with respect to
avoiding detection and keeping clear of hackers.  In fact I could fill a book, 
and in retrospect I probably should have.  But I told a lot of people I would
write this file and make it public.  Hope you found it of some assistance.
            

CLOSURE

	What a long strange trip it's been.  I have a great deal of mixed 
emotions about my whole ordeal.  I can however, say that I HAVE benefited 
from my incarceration.  However, it certainly was not on the behalf of how I 
was handled by the government.  No, despite their efforts to kick me when I 
was down, use me, turn their backs after I had assisted them, and in general, 
just violate my rights, I was still able to emerge better educated than when I 
went in.  But frankly, my release from prison was just in the nick of time.
The long term effects of incarceration and stress were creeping up on me, and 
I could see prison conditions were worsening.  It's hard to express the 
poignancy of the situation but the majority of those incarcerated feel that if 
drastic changes are not made America is due for some serious turmoil, perhaps 
even a civil war.  Yes, the criminal justice system is that screwed up.  The 
Nation's thirst for vengeance on criminals is leading us into a vicious 
feedback loop of crime and punishment, and once again crime.  Quite simply, 
the system is not working.  My purpose in writing this article was not to send 
any kind of message.  I'm not telling you how not to get caught and I'm not 
telling you to stop hacking.  I wrote this simply because I feel like I owe it 
to whomever might get use of it.  For some strange reason I am oddly compelled 
to tell you what happened to me.  Perhaps this is some kind or therapy, 
perhaps it's just my ego, perhaps I just want to help some poor 18 year old 
hacker who really doesn't know what he is getting himself in to.  Whatever the 
reason, I just sat down one day and started writing.

	If there is a central theme to this article it would be how ugly your 
world can become.  Once you get grabbed by the law, sucked into their vacuum, 
and they shine the spotlight on you, there will be little you can do to 
protect yourself.  The vultures and predators will try to pick what they can 
off of you.  It's open season for the U.S. Attorneys, your attorney, other 
inmates, and prison officials.  You become fair game.  Defending yourself from 
all of these forces will require all of your wits, all of your resources, and 
occasionally your fists.

	Furthering the humiliation, the press, as a general rule, will not be 
concerned with presenting the truth.  They will print what suits them and 
often omit many relevant facts.  If you have read any of the 5 books I am 
covered in you will no doubt have a rather jaded opinion of me.  Let me assure 
you that if you met me today you would quickly see that I am quite likable and 
not the villain many (especially Jon Littman) have made me out to be.  You may 
not agree with how I lived my life, but you wouldn't have any trouble 
understanding why I chose to live it that way.  Granted I've made my mistakes, 
growing up has been a long road for me.  Nevertheless, I have no shortage of 
good friends.  Friends that I am immensely loyal to.  But if you believe 
everything you read you'd have the impression that Mitnick is a vindictive 
loser, Poulsen a furtive stalker, and I a two faced rat.  All of those 
assessments would be incorrect.

	So much for first impressions.  I just hope I was able to enlighten 
you and in some way to help you make the right choice.  Whether it's 
protecting yourself from what could be a traumatic life altering experience, 
or compelling you to focus your computer skills on other avenues, it's 
important for you to know the program, the language, and the rules.

See you in the movies.

Agent Steal
1997

----[ EOF


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