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TUCoPS :: Cyber Law :: lodthrt.txt

Telephones and the Hacker Threat (AP)





APn  11/16 1225  Telephones-Hacker Threat

Copyright, 1990. The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

By JAY ARNOLD
 Associated Press Writer
   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Telephone companies reported normal operations today after
bracing for a possible disruption of service somewhere in the country by
computer "hackers" breaking into the phone network.
   Non-specific threats had been made to invade the massive computers that
control the telephone network, but not to attack physical facilities, industry
sources said.
   The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the threats apparently
were in connection with a sentencing scheduled in Atlanta this afternoon for
three members of a hackers' group called the Legion of Doom who had broken into
BellSouth Corp. computers.
   Franklin E. Darden Jr. and Robert J. Riggs pleaded guilty earlier this year
in federal court to one conspiracy count each. Adam E. Grant pleaded guilty to
possessing 15 or more access devices with intent to defraud.
   But late morning on the East Coast, no problems had been reported.
   "This has been a normal weekday and there's been no indication of trouble
anywhere in the network," said Herb Linnen, a spokesman for American Telephone &
Telegraph Co.
   On Thursday, Linnen had said AT&T was aware of a "purported threat to try and
disrupt at least part of the nationwide network," and that company security
officials had alerted AT&T managers nationwide to be alert.
   "We have not been able to assess the validity of the threats, but we
certainly take any threats seriously, and we've taken precautions to minimize
the risk of intrusion," BellSouth spokesman Bill McCloskey said.
   Linnen said the purported threat was not against any single company. He said
the rumor of the attempted disruption was discussed at a regular meeting
Wednesday of technical executives of a number of phone companies.
   "We have no idea how widespread the threat might be, but it's our
understanding that the group may be national," said Peter Goodale, a spokesman
for Nynex Corp., parent of the New England Telephone and New York Telephone
companies. "We've taken the appropriate security measures to ensure the
integrity of our network."
   FBI and Defense Department officials said they were unaware of any such
threat.
   Federal prosecutors in Chicago last year charged that members of the Legion
of Doom had used their computers in February 1989 to tap into the 911 system of
Atlanta-based BellSouth and copy the program.
   The information then was published in an electronic newsletter in Chicago for
hackers, but the 911 network was not disrupted.
   Charges against the Chicago publisher were dropped in July.




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