Hacking, a History

Hacking, a History

Hacking, a History

John Draper

Draper was one of the first well known phone hackers, and the first famous “phone phreak”. He was honorably discharged from the US Air Force in 1968 after posting in Vietnam, and then became an engineer at the electronics company National Semiconductor.

Steve Worniak

Worniak is a computer engineer and the co-founder of Apple Inc. (with Steve Jobs.) Worniak is credited with greatly contributing to the personal computer revolution of the 1970s. The Apple II gained a sizable amount of popularity, eventually becoming one of the best selling personal computers of the 1970s and early 1980s.

Kevin Mitnick

Mitnick has been undeniably titled the greatest hacker of our time. He has forever changed the way we handle information security and trust both computer and social networks. He was on the run from the F.B.I. for 3 years using fake identities. Police Officials were scarred of Kevin locking him up for 4 years without a trial

Draper, Worniak and Mitnick laid the foundation of hacking through the 1970s. So you may ask, how was hacking started, and why? ? In the 1970s phone companies started relying on computers to track phone calls. Which saved a lot of time and money for the companies, but also created havoc as “phone phreaking” began. John Draper began “phone phreaking” by using a whistle he dug out of a Captain Crunch box.(earning him his nickname “Captain Crunch” or “Crunchman”)

Draper was “phone phreaking” by calling some one blowing his whistle, after his whistle is blown the phone call is not tracked, thus giving him a 10 second charge for a phone call he can make to anywhere in the world.

Draper soon created the “blue box”. The blue box was an electronic device that simulates a telephone operator’s dialing console. It functioned by replicating the tones used to switch long-distance calls and using them to route the user’s own call, bypassing the normal switching mechanism. This box made “phone phreaking” a lot easier and understandable to do.

The phone companies were finding out how their computers were being tricked and investigated. Journalist Ron Rosenbaum smelt a big story and longed to be the author. Ron started to interview many “phone phreakers.” Every interview led to one person, “Captain Crunch.” The article explained Draper’s blue box , how it worked, and even how it was built. The printing of this article brings in Steve Worniak. (Worniak was in his second year at the University Of Burkley majoring in Engineering)

Worniak read Ron’s article and instating became hooked. He tried to reproduce Draper’s “blue box” as described in Ron’s article. Enthusiastic Worniak called Draper and asked if he could make a visit to his dorm at UC Burkley. Draper could not ignore his enthusiasm and agreed. Draper showed him how to manipulate the blue box to call anyone in the world. Worniak asked if he could call the Pope, Draper got the number and they called. The Pope was sleeping, it was four in the morning. That night Worniak absorbed all the codes he could from Draper and other attending guests.

Wile all this “phone phreaking” was going on computers were a rare commodity that only large Businesses had the Luxury to own. This all changed with the new altair 8800, the altair 8800 was the first minicomputer kit. The release of the altair was appealing to many people in the bay area. This appealment led to the beginning of the homebrew computer club, (Steve Worniak was one of the hundreds of members) they had built their atair’s but what was next, what does it do? The homebrew meetings were a place to learn and share new tips and ideas to other members. The homebrew members soon began building their own computers. When you finish building your computer you would bring it to the next meeting and share your experience making it.

After Worniak built his first computer is was obvious he was above the other members. Worniak’s college roommate Steve Jobs talked him into inventing computers to sell for a profit. Jobs was the marketer, Worniak the designer. Their company, Apple Inc introduced the Apple I in the 1970s. Apple Inc. stayed ahead of the competition with the release of the Top Selling Apple II. The Apple II was made based on the idea of making a computer home ready straight out of the box. By 1982 Apple was worth half a billion dollars. With Worniak’s business’ thriving he soon found his love for the homebrew club dieing. He found he could not tell his secrets to other members of the homebrew club. In 1986 the homebrew club disbanded, leaving behind 23 computer companies founded by its members.

The Hackers who had built the computers and created the software where now being looked at as convicts. This revolution started with Kevin Mitnick. Mitnick brought to the table of hacking, social engineering. Social engineering is a collection of techniques used to manipulate people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. For example Mitnick would call phone companies and pretend he was with a different office to retrieve useful information. At age 17 Mitnick broke into the phone companies data base and stole millions of dollars worth of information. (being underage he spent 7 months in juvenile hall)

The movie “War Games” over night changed the term hacker. Steve Worniak who transformed the computer world was a hacker. And now teenagers who had nothing better to do then crack into data bases, were being described as the same term, “hacker.”

Mitnick found his teenage hobby sticking with him. Mitnick, now choosing bigger companies to hack, in 1988 hacked into the network of computer giant DEC, and copied details of top secret software. Later in 1988 the police caught up with Mitnick and arrested him. He was charged to have copied four million dollars worth of software. Mitnick was held in isolation for a year based on the idea he could start a war through the pay phone the inmates used to make collect calls.

Once released Mitnick tapped his investigation officers at Pac Bell. Soon he was issued a warrant for his arrest in 1992. Kevin mad at the injustice of his arrest, ran. Mitnick settled in Denver and worked for a law firm under the name Eric Wies. Kevin was now hacking into the phone companies to get useful information to stay a step ahead of the police.

In 1994 the police caught up with Mitnick in North Carolina under the name Tom Case. Mitnick spent four and half years in jail without trial. Finally going to trial Mitnick was sentenced to five years in prison. After his release Mitnick was not allowed to touch a computer..

Draper,Worniak, and Mitnick established hacking through different methods, “phone phreaking”, hacking to improve computers, and crack into phone files. Although they all used different methods they all contributed to the hacking history

Hello, my name is Beau Felder. I run a Internet Marketing & affiliating blog at www.felderproducions.com

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