Wednesday, November 16, 2005

War Stories

Well Miker just posted a story about our BBS days, so I figured I should too and Miker agreed with me. So here is one, that doesn't really realte to the wars, but some of the stupidity that was underneath...

Back then we all had Commodore 64 computers, and we all traded and shared programs with each other, we would even bring our floppy drives to each other's houses to hook them all up and copy disks faster. Sometimes, Our TV's and Commies. Well, I had seen Wargames and I got hooked. That was what made me pester my mom and dad to no end for a computer of my own. After getting one and buying a modem for it later on, I got on the BBSes and made a few friends and got a few contacts that had programs that I wanted to get my hands on. Basiclly, hacking and phreaking tools. One program that I wanted was Phoneman. It was a ll around phreaking tool. It could play Bluebox tones, Redbox tones, DTMF, and it even had a wardialer!

For those who wonder what a wardialer is, it's a program that dials phone numbers and looks for modems on the other end. When it finds one, it then logs the number for you to check out at a later time. Well I played with it here and there but I never really did much with the wardialer at first. But our friend Vaughn did.

Vaughn was kinda the pariah of the group. We tolerated him and did treat him as a friend, but some of the stuff he did was nothign short of annoying and down right asinine. But we accepted him, or more like tolerated him.

Anyways, Vaughn and I were talking and I told him about Phoneman soon after I got it. Now, the people that gave it to me said to not hand it out to anyone. They were the kind of people that wanted tobe greedy and not share. Basiclly be snobs and hold it over everyone's head that they had something everyone else didn't. Well, After I managed to 'social engineer" them to give me a copy, I promptly decided to give a copy to anyone that wanted it, including Vaughn. Now Vaughn had the hacker drive but not the ethics. So in hindsight, giving him a copy was probably a bad idea, but I did it, and that was it.

Every now and again I would venture over to Vaughn's house during summer break from school and see what he was up to, hang out, swap programs, and play games. We both seemed to be the ones that were hooked up with cotacts to get shit so we were the ones that distributed the stuff to the rest of the guys. So I'm at his house, and I show Vaughn, Phoneman. He loves it, mostly because if the wardialer. I tell him I haven't really done anything with it. He said he wanted a copy, I said I wanted a copy of something he had and so we traded. Like dealers making an exchange on a dimly lit street corner.

So a few days go by and Vaughn calls me up using his Commie. Back then, we would hear the carrier whistle of the modems when we picked up so we would switch to our computers and put our modem in answer mode and it would pick up, then connect. And then we would do a direct link and chat. This was back before TCP/IP was in common use, so it wasn't where you could chat and exchange files at the same time. But he called and I fired up my terminal and we chated a bit. Exchanged files and I asked him if he had used phoneman yet. He told me he did and in fact, had found a couple numbers here in town! I asked if I could have them and he sent the list on over. Now I didn't know it at the time, but he had been letting his wardialer, dial numbers in town in sequence.... 555-0001,555-0002 and so on. Later on it would bite him in the ass hard!

So a few weeks go by, and everything seems normal. Then one day I get a call from Vaughn, sounding kinda depressed and upset at the same time. He says he needs a new copy of Phoneman. I ask what happened to yours? He kinda hem and hawed about it and would only say he needed a new copy. But I refused to give him one unless he told me what happened to his. Well, reluctantly he tells me that all week long, he had been having his dialer go through all the numbers in town while he was sleeping. So people at 30 am would be getting a phone call and be hearing the creeching of the carrier whistle in their ear! Naturally, people got pissed! Well, I guess Vaughn didn't put much thought into the use of the war dialer, because he put in a sequence that dialed the non emergency numbers of the police, fire and ambulance service here in town. And all those numbers were assigned, in sequence!! So we can see where this is going right?

First the fire department gets the calls, then the abmulance does. Now not knowing what is going on, they call next door to the cops and tell them. They put a "trap" on their numbers, and when Vaughn's computer calls them.. WHAM! They get his ANI and he's busted! They showed up at his house, took his copy of phoneman, bitch him out and give him a ticket to appear in court. And the next day in the local paper, there is a story, where he isn't named because we're all still considered minors, where a teen placed over 6000... Yes 6000, nusence phone calls!

Well, I made the connection of course and promptly filled in the guys and we all had a great laugh. And I might say, Vaughn got off because he had a good lawyer and played dumb! Those two things seemed to save him from a very big fine!

Well Vaughn had called me like 10 mins after the cops left. And 30 minutes later, I was at his house with a fresh copy of Phoneman. Needless to say, he did stop using the war dialer.

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