HACKERS SMASH U.S. GOVERNMENT ENCRYPTION STANDARD,
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Computer underground Digest Wed June 18, 1997 Volume 9 : Issue 47
Editor: Jim Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
News Editor: Gordon Meyer (email@example.com)
Archivist: Brendan Kehoe
Shadow Master: Stanton McCandlish
Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth
Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala
Field Agent Extraordinaire: David Smith
Cu Digest Homepage: http://www.soci.niu.edu/~cudigest
CONTENTS, #9.47 (Wed, June 18, 1997)
File 1--HACKERS SMASH U.S. GOVERNMENT ENCRYPTION STANDARD
File 2--Hacker may have stolen JonBenet computer documents
File 3--Mitnick gets 22 months
File 4--Judge denies Mitnick computer access
File 5-- Hacker Vows 'Terror' for Child Pornographers
File 6--Trial Opens IN On-line Kidnapping Case
File 7--Call for Open Global Net
File 8--Cu Digest Header Info (unchanged since 7 May, 1997)
CuD ADMINISTRATIVE, EDITORIAL, AND SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION APPEARS IN
THE CONCLUDING FILE AT THE END OF EACH ISSUE.
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 1997 18:55:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: sameer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: File 1--HACKERS SMASH U.S. GOVERNMENT ENCRYPTION STANDARD
Source - email@example.com
C2Net Software, Inc.
Oakland, CA 94612
For Immediate Release
HACKERS SMASH U.S. GOVERNMENT ENCRYPTION STANDARD
Oakland, California (June 18, 1997)-The 56-bit DES encryption
standard, long claimed "adequate" by the U.S. Government, was
shattered yesterday using an ordinary Pentium personal computer
operated by Michael K. Sanders, an employee of iNetZ, a Salt Lake
City, Utah-based online commerce provider. Sanders was part of a
loosely organized group of computer users responding to the "RSA
$10,000 DES Challenge." The code-breaking group distributed computer
software over the Internet for harnessing idle moments of computers
around the world to perform a 'brute force' attack on the encrypted
"That DES can be broken so quickly should send a chill through the
heart of anyone relying on it for secure communications," said Sameer
Parekh, one of the group's participants and president of C2Net
Software, an Internet encryption provider headquartered in Oakland,
California (http://www.c2.net/). "Unfortunately, most people today
using the Internet assume the browser software is performing secure
communications when an image of a lock or a key appears on the
screen. Obviously, that is not true when the encryption scheme is
56-bit DES," he said.
INetZ vice president Jon Gay said "We hope that this will encourage
people to demand the highest available encryption security, such as
the 128-bit security provided by C2Net's Stronghold product, rather
than the weak 56-bit ciphers used in many other platforms."
Many browser programs have been crippled to use an even weaker, 40-bit
cipher, because that is the maximum encryption level the
U.S. government has approved for export. "People located within the US
can obtain more secure browser software, but that usually involves
submitting an affidavit of eligibility, which many people have not
done," said Parekh. "Strong encryption is not allowed to be exported
from the U.S., making it harder for people and businesses in
international locations to communicate securely," he explained.
According to computer security expert Ian Goldberg, "This effort
emphasizes that security systems based on 56-bit DES or
"export-quality" cryptography are out-of-date, and should be phased
out. Certainly no new systems should be designed with such weak
encryption.'' Goldberg is a member of the University of California at
Berkeley's ISAAC group, which discovered a serious security flaw in
the popular Netscape Navigator web browser software.
The 56-bit DES cipher was broken in 5 months, significantly faster
than the hundreds of years thought to be required when DES was adopted
as a national standard in 1977. The weakness of DES can be traced to
its "key length," the number of binary digits (or "bits") used in its
encryption algorithm. "Export grade" 40-bit encryption schemes can be
broken in less than an hour, presenting serious security risks for
companies seeking to protect sensitive information, especially those
whose competitors might receive code-breaking assistance from foreign
According to Parekh, today's common desktop computers are tremendously
more powerful than any computer that existed when DES was
created. "Using inexpensive (under $1000) computers, the group was
able to crack DES in a very short time," he noted. "Anyone with the
resources and motivation to employ modern "massively parallel"
supercomputers for the task can break 56-bit DES ciphers even faster,
and those types of advanced technologies will soon be present in
common desktop systems, providing the keys to DES to virtually
everyone in just a few more years."
56-bit DES uses a 56-bit key, but most security experts today consider
a minimum key length of 128 bits to be necessary for secure
encryption. Mathematically, breaking a 56-bit cipher requires just
65,000 times more work than breaking a 40-bit cipher. Breaking a
128-bit cipher requires 4.7 trillion billion times as much work as one
using 56 bits, providing considerable protection against brute-force
attacks and technical progress.
C2Net is the leading worldwide provider of uncompromised Internet
security software. C2Net's encryption products are developed entirely
outside the United States, allowing the firm to offer full-strength
cryptography solutions for international communications and
commerce. "Our products offer the highest levels of security available
today. We refuse to sell weak products that might provide a false
sense of security and create easy targets for foreign governments,
criminals, and bored college students," said Parekh. "We also oppose
so-called "key escrow" plans that would put everyone's cryptography
keys in a few centralized locations where they can be stolen and sold
to the highest bidder," he added. C2Net's products include the
Stronghold secure web server and SafePassage Web Proxy, an enhancement
that adds full-strength encryption to any security-crippled "export
grade" web browser software.
# # #
Pentium is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation.
Netscape and Netscape Navigator are registered trademarks of Netscape
Stronghold and SafePassage are trademarks of C2Net Software, Inc.
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 20:03:14 -0400
From: "Evian S. Sim" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: File 2--Hacker may have stolen JonBenet computer documents
By JENNIFER MEARS, The Associated Press
Copyright 1997 The Associated Press
BOULDER, Colo. (June 13, 1997 07:38 a.m. EDT) -- A computer hacker has
infiltrated the system set aside for authorities investigating the slaying
of JonBenet Ramsey, the latest blow to a heavily criticized inquiry.
Boulder police spokeswoman Leslie Aaholm said the computer was "hacked"
sometime early Saturday. The incident was announced by police Thursday.
"We don't believe anything has been lost, but we don't know what, if
anything, has been copied," said Detective John Eller, who is leading the
investigation into the slaying of the 6-year-old girl nearly six months ago.
The computer is in a room at the district attorney's office that police
share with the prosecutor's investigators. The room apparently had not been
broken into. Computer experts with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations
were examining equipment to determine what had been done.
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 1997 17:42:07 -0400
From: "Evian S. Sim" <email@example.com>
Subject: File 3--Mitnick gets 22 months
Computer Hacker Mitnick to Get 22-Month Term Courts:
In addition to sentence for cellular phone fraud and probation violation,
former fugitive faces a 25-count federal indictment on software theft.
Los Angeles Times (LT)
TUESDAY June 17, 1997
By: JULIE TAMAKI; TIMES STAFF WRITER
Edition: Valley Edition
Page: 4 Pt. B
Story Type: Full Run
Word Count: 398
A federal judge indicated Monday that she plans to sentence famed computer
hacker Kevin Mitnick to 22 months in prison for cellular phone fraud and
violating his probation from an earlier computer crime conviction.
The sentencing Monday is only a small part of Mitnick's legal problems.
Still pending against him is a 25-count federal indictment accusing him of
stealing millions of dollars in software during an elaborate hacking spree
while he was a fugitive. A trial date in that case has yet to be set.
U.S. District Judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer on Monday held off on formally
sentencing Mitnick for a week in order to give her time to draft conditions
for Mitnick's probation after he serves the prison term.
Pfaelzer said she plans to sentence Mitnick to eight months on the cellular
phone fraud charge and 14 months for violating his probation from a 1988
computer-hacking conviction, Assistant U.S. Atty. Christopher Painter said.
The sentences will run consecutively.
Mitnick faces the sentence for violating terms of his probation when he
broke into Pac Bell voice mail computers in 1992 and used stolen passwords
of Pac Bell security employees to listen to voice mail, Painter said. At the
time, Mitnick was employed by Teltec Communications, which was under
investigation by Pac Bell.
Copyright © 1997, Times Mirror Company
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 1997 21:17:06 -0400
From: "Evian S. Sim" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: File 4--Judge denies Mitnick computer access
JUDGE DENIES HACKER ACCESS TO COMPUTER
Daily News of Los Angeles (LA)
Tuesday, June 17, 1997
By: Anne Burke Daily News Staff Writer
Word Count: 564
San Fernando Valley hacker Kevin Mitnick wants to log on while in
the lock up, but a judge said Monday she doesn't think that's
such a good idea.
"I have real apprehension about any situation where Mr. Mitnick
is near a computer," U.S. District Court Judge Mariana Pfaelzer
told the 33-year-old and his attorney.
After all, Mitnick was in court Monday for sentencing on digital
crimes he committed while leading the FBI on a manhunt through
cyberspace and the nation.
While Pfaelzer refused Mitnick access to a computer, she said she
is going to give him something else - 22 months behind bars for
violating his supervised release from prison on an earlier
computer hacking conviction and illegally possessing telephone
access codes. Mitnick is expected to be sentenced formally
Monday, after the judge considers the terms of his supervised
In custody since February 1995, Mitnick now faces a 25-count
indictment charging him with a 2-1/2-year hacking spree from June
1992 to February 1995.
Speaking Monday through his attorney in court, Mitnick said he
now needs access to a computer for strictly legitimate reasons -
helping to prepare his defense for the upcoming trial.
Randolph said Mitnick is not a thief, but rather an electronic
eavesdropper. The difference is that Mitnick never tries to
profit, the attorney said.
At Monday's sentencing, Mitnick got 14 months for violating his
supervised release by breaking into Pacific Bell's computers and
associating with an old buddy named Lewis De Payne, his
co-defendant in the coming federal trial. He received eight more
months for the cellular telephone fraud in North Carolina.
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 14:17:01 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jim Thomas <email@example.com>
Subject: File 5-- Hacker Vows 'Terror' for Child Pornographers
Hacker Vows 'Terror' for Child Pornographers
by Steve Silberman
Source - WIRED News
Copyright 1993-97 Wired Ventures, Inc. and affiliated companies
After 17 years in the hacker underground,
Christian Valor - well known among old-school hackers and phone
phreaks as "Se7en" - was convinced that most of what gets written in
the papers about computers and hacking is sensationalistic jive. For
years, Valor says, he sneered at reports of the incidence of child
pornography on the Net as
Now making his living as a lecturer on computer security, Se7en claims
he combed the Net for child pornography for eight weeks last year
without finding a single image.
That changed a couple of weeks ago, he says, when a JPEG mailed by an
anonymous prankster sent him on an odyssey through a different kind of
underground: IRC chat rooms with names like #littlegirlsex, ftp
directories crammed with filenames like 6yoanal.jpg and 8&dad.jpg, and
newsgroups like alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.pre-teen. The anonymous
file, he says, contained a "very graphic" image of a girl "no older
than 4 years old."
On 8 June, Se7en vowed on a hacker's mailing list to deliver a dose of
"genuine hacker terror" to those who upload and distribute such images
on the Net. The debate over his methods has stirred up tough questions
among his peers about civil liberties, property rights, and the ethics
of vigilante justice.
A declaration of war
What Se7en tapped into, he says, was a "very paranoid" network of
traders of preteen erotica. In his declaration of "public war" -
posted to a mailing list devoted to an annual hacker's convention
called DefCon - Se7en explains that the protocol on most child-porn
servers is to upload selections from your own stash, in exchange for
credits for more images.
What he saw on those servers made him physically sick, he says. "For
someone who took a virtual tour of the kiddie-porn world for only one
day," he writes, "I had the opportunity to fully max out an Iomega
100-MB Zip disc."
Se7en's plan to "eradicate" child-porn traders from the Net is
"advocating malicious, destructive hacking against these people." He
has enlisted the expertise of two fellow hackers for the first wave of
attacks, which are under way.
Se7en feels confident that legal authorities will look the other way
when the victims of hacks are child pornographers - and he claims that
a Secret Service agent told him so explicitly. Referring to a command
to wipe out a hard drive by remote access, Se7en boasted, "Who are
they going to run to? The police? 'They hacked my kiddie-porn server
and rm -rf'd my computer!' Right."
Se7en claims to have already "taken down" a "major player" - an
employee of Southwestern Bell who Se7en says was "posting ads all over
the place." Se7en told Wired News that he covertly watched the man's
activities for days, gathering evidence that he emailed to the
president of Southwestern Bell. Pseudonymous remailers like
hotmail.com and juno.com, Se7en insists, provide no security blanket
for traders against hackers uncovering their true identities by
cracking server logs. Se7en admits the process of gaining access to
the logs is time consuming, however. Even with three hackers on the
case, it "can take two or three days. We don't want to hit the wrong
A couple of days after submitting message headers and logs to the
president and network administrators of Southwestern Bell, Se7en says,
he got a letter saying the employee was "no longer on the payroll."
The hacker search for acceptance
Se7en's declaration of war received support on the original mailing
list. "I am all for freedom of speech/expression," wrote one poster,
"but there are some things that are just wrong.... I feel a certain
moral obligation to the human race to do my part in cleaning up the
Federal crackdowns targeting child pornographers are ineffective, many
argued. In April, FBI director Louis Freeh testified to the Senate
that the bureau operation dubbed "Innocent Images" had gathered the
names of nearly 4,000 suspected child-porn traffickers into its
database. Freeh admitted, however, that only 83 of those cases
resulted in convictions. (The Washington Times reports that there have
also been two suicides.)
The director's plan? Ask for more federal money to fight the "dark
side of the Internet" - US$10 million.
Pitching in to assist the Feds just isn't the hacker way. As one
poster to the DefCon list put it, "The government can't enforce laws
on the Internet. We all know that. We can enforce laws on the
Internet. We all know that too."
The DefCon list was not a unanimous chorus of praise for Se7en's plan
to give the pornographers a taste of hacker terror, however. The most
vocal dissenter has been Declan McCullagh, Washington correspondent
for the Netly News. McCullagh is an outspoken champion of
constitutional rights, and a former hacker himself. He says he was
disturbed by hackers on the list affirming the validity of laws
against child porn that he condemns as blatantly unconstitutional.
"Few people seem to realize that the long-standing federal child-porn
law outlawed pictures of dancing girls wearing leotards," McCullagh
wrote - alluding to the conviction of Stephen Knox, a graduate student
sentenced to five years in prison for possession of three videotapes
of young girls in bathing suits. The camera, the US attorney general
pointed out, lingered on the girls' genitals, though they remained
clothed. "The sexual implications of certain modes of dress, posture,
or movement may readily put the genitals on exhibition in a lascivious
manner, without revealing them in a nude display," the Feds argued -
It's decisions like Knox v. US, and a law criminalizing completely
synthetic digital images "presented as" child porn, McCullagh says,
that are making the definition of child pornography unacceptably
broad: a "thought crime."
The menace of child porn is being exploited by "censor-happy"
legislators to "rein in this unruly cyberspace," McCullagh says. The
rush to revile child porn on the DefCon list, McCullagh told Wired
News, reminded him of the "loyalty oaths" of the McCarthy era.
"These are hackers in need of social acceptance," he says. "They've
been marginalized for so long, they want to be embraced for stamping
out a social evil." McCullagh knows his position is a difficult one to
put across to an audience of hackers. In arguing that hackers respect
the property rights of pornographers, and ponder the constitutionality
of the laws they're affirming, McCullagh says, "I'm trying to convince
hackers to respect the rule of law, when hacking systems is the
opposite of that."
But McCullagh is not alone. As the debate over Se7en's declaration
spread to the cypherpunks mailing list and alt.cypherpunks -
frequented by an older crowd than the DefCon list - others expressed
similar reservations over Se7en's plan.
"Basically, we're talking about a Dirty Harry attitude," one network
technician/cypherpunk told Wired News. Though he senses "real feeling"
behind Se7en's battle cry, he feels that the best way to deal with
pornographers is to "turn the police loose on them." Another
participant in the discussion says that while he condemns child porn
as "terrible, intrinsically a crime against innocence," he questions
the effectiveness of Se7en's strategy.
"Killing their computer isn't going to do anything," he says,
cautioning that the vigilante approach could be taken up by others.
"What happens if you have somebody who doesn't like abortion? At what
point are you supposed to be enforcing your personal beliefs?"
Raising the paranoia level
Se7en's loathing for aficionados of newsgroups like
alt.sex.pedophilia.swaps runs deeper than "belief." "I myself was
abused when I was a kid," Se7en told Wired News. "Luckily, I wasn't a
victim of child pornography, but I know what these kids are going
With just a few hackers working independently to crack server logs,
sniff IP addresses, and sound the alarm to network administrators, he
says, "We can take out one or two people a week ... and get the
paranoia level up," so that "casual traders" will be frightened away
from IRC rooms like "#100%preteensexfuckpics."
It's not JPEGs of clothed ballerinas that raise his ire, Se7en says.
It's "the 4-year-olds being raped, the 6-year-old forced to have oral
sex with cum running down themselves." Such images, Se7en admits, are
very rare - even in online spaces dedicated to trading sexual imagery
"I know what I'm doing is wrong. I'm trampling on the rights of these
guys," he says. "But somewhere in the chain, someone is putting these
images on paper before they get uploaded. Your freedom ends when you
start hurting other people."
Copyright 1993-97 Wired Ventures, Inc. and affiliated companies
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 1997 22:15:08 -0500
From: jthomas@SUN.SOCI.NIU.EDU(Jim Thomas)
Subject: File 6--Trial Opens IN On-line Kidnapping Case
Date: Tuesday, June 10, 1997
Source: By Graeme Zielinski, Tribune Staff Writer.
Copyright Chicago Tribune
TRIAL OPENS IN ON-LINE KIDNAPPING CASE
Opening statements are expected Tuesday in the federal trial of
a Florida man accused of using the Internet to seduce and kidnap a
troubled Chicago-area boy.
Defense attorneys for Richard Romero are expected to argue that
the boy, then 13, was merely running away from his Mt. Prospect
home when he left with Romero in March 1996 on a bus bound for
But U.S. attorneys charge that Romero planned to molest the boy
before his plans were thwarted when the pair was intercepted at a
bus stop in Louisville.
Prosecutors say Romero first made contact with the boy in the
summer of 1995 in an America Online electronic "chat room," where
typed dialogue is displayed. Prosecutors say that Romero, posing
as a 15-year-old boy named "Kyle" from Iowa, exchanged messages
about UFOs and space creatures with the Mt. Prospect boy.
Months later, Romero took over the correspondence upon the
advice of "Kyle," prosecutors allege.
Romero is charged with persuading the boy, now 14, to come to
his Florida home, where prosecutors say they discovered sexually
explicit pictures of young boys and a wooden "altar box" that
Romero, a Brazilian native, allegedly intended to use in sex acts.
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 07:14:54
From: Richard Thieme <rthieme@THIEMEWORKS.COM>
Subject: File 7--Call for Open Global Net
STOP THE INTERNET COUP
Assn. for Interactive Media demands an end to the hostile takeover
of the Internet by the International Ad Hoc Committee
Defend your Internet rights by opposing the gTLD-MoU, the Internet
Society, and IANA
Washington, D.C. (July 11, 1997) The stability of the Internet is
being threatened by an attempted takeover by a group from Geneva
known as the International Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC).
Internet-based business and user have been taken unawares by a
power grab orchestrated by a technical group with no legal
authority. The Association for Interactive Media and the Open
Internet Congress have called for everyone in the Internet
community to oppose this move.
Takeover plans are detailed in a recent memorandum by IAHC
regarding issues related to assigning domain names to Internet
users. IAHC was assigned to meet to discuss the possibility of
making more domain names available. When they released their
final report, called the Generic Top Level Domain Memorandum of
Understanding (gTLD-MoU), it actually contained the structure for
a world government for the Internet. The leaders of the IAHC,
including the Internet Society and the Internet Assigned Numbers
Authority, have installed themselves as leaders of this
Businesses are being pushed to sign the gTLD-MoU in a global
effort by IAHC. This document is disguised as an innocent
standards agreement regarding domain names. It is actually a
treaty that it actually assigns permanent control over the
Internet to six tightly controlled, non-representative
organizations. There are no provisions for elections,
representation, or input from consumers, business, and
Make no mistake If you sign the gTLD-MoU, you will give up all of
your rights to have any say on the structure and management of the
internet forever. said Andy Sernovitz, president of the
Association for Interactive Media. A group of selfappointed
autocrats have declared themselves rulers of the Internet without
regard to international law, the stability of the Internet, and
the rights of you and your organization.
The Open Internet Congress (OIC) was founded to fight for an open
process that guarantees that all of the Internet's stakeholders
have a fair and representative voice in its management and
operations. OIC has called for an Internet Constitutional
Convention to develop the representative process. An
organizational meeting will be held July 9, 1997 in Washington,
D.C., and is open to all.
Founded in 1993, the Association for Interactive Media is the most
diverse coalition of organizational users of the Internet, with
over 300 members. AIM's mission is to support the efforts of
leaders from for-profit and non-profit organizations seeking to
serve the public through interactive media. With the ability to
form partnerships and friendships among a wide variety of
organizations, AIM bridges the gaps between groups working in
dozens of different fields to ensure the successful future of new
Who is staging this coup, and how do they plan on pulling it off?
The gTLD-MoU gives permanent control of the Internet to: Internet
Society, Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, Internet
Architecture Board, International Telecommunications Union, World
Intellectual Property Organization, and International Trademark
Association. They have already declared control. They have
created an organization to take control, appointed themselves
leaders of it, and have begun issuing technical orders to Internet
server operators. They have publicly declared that they do not
need the support of governments, consumers, and businesses because
"the committee says it has direct control of the computers that
run the Net's addressing system." (CNET, 5/2/97)
What happens to the Internet if they succeed? The Internet is
likely to break apart on October 15, 1997. That is the date that
the coup leaders intend to re-route the Internet to be under their
control against the advice of those who keep things running
smoothly today. When they rip the essential root servers off the
Internet backbone, the entire system may begin to fragment. Your
email will be returned and your Web site visitors will be turned
away. These organizations have refused to recognize the validity
of the registries that ensure that traffic is successfully
delivered to ".com", ".org", and ".net" addresses. Serious
concern has arisen over the possibility of malicious viruses and
"Trojan Horses" being hidden in the software that runs the
What happens to me and my business if they succeed? You are
likely to lose access to reliable Internet communications.
Control of your trademarks on the Internet will be given up. You
will be forced to submit to binding decisions made by a "challenge
panel" in Geneva created and run by this group. If you lose, you
will not be able to use your trademark in your domain name
someone else will. You will never have a voice in the governance
of the Internet. You will not be able to effectively defend
yourself, your organization, and your rights against future moves
by these aggressors.
What should I do? Do not sign the gTLD-MOU! Sign up with the
Open Internet Congress to secure your place in the decision-making
process. Contact the OIC immediately to get involved. Help us
gather support from governments, consumers, and businesses.
Distribute this document to all of your email lists as soon as
_________________________ For More Information:
Contact the Open Internet Congress: 202-408-0008 or
firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the web site:
http://www.interactivehq.org/oic Subscribe to the news list:
email the words "subscribe oic" in the body of a message to
ThiemeWorks ... professional speaking and
P. O. Box 17737 the impact of computer technology
Milwaukee Wisconsin on people in organizations:
53217-0737 helping people stay flexible
voice: 414.351.2321 and effective
during times of accelerated change.
Date: Thu, 7 May 1997 22:51:01 CST
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