The Hacker Crackdown - Chronology

By Bruce Sterling

Chronology of the Hacker Crackdown

U.S. Secret Service (USSS) founded.
Alexander Graham Bell invents telephone.
First teenage males flung off phone system by enraged authorities.
"Futurian" science-fiction group raided by Secret Service.
Yippie phone phreaks start YIPL/TAP magazine.
Ramparts magazine seized in blue-box rip-off scandal.
Ward Christenson and Randy Suess create first personal computer bulletin board system.
William Gibson coins term "cyberspace." "414 Gang" raided.
AT&T dismantled in divestiture.

Congress passes Comprehensive Crime Control Act giving USSS jurisdiction over credit card fraud and computer fraud.

"Legion of Doom" formed.

2600: The Hacker Quarterly founded.

Whole Earth Software Catalog published.

First police "sting" bulletin board systems established. Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link computer conference (WELL) goes on-line.

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act passed.

Electronic Communications Privacy Act passed.

Chicago prosecutors form Computer Fraud and Abuse Task Force.

July. Secret Service covertly videotapes "SummerCon" hacker convention.

September. "Prophet" cracks BellSouth AIMSX computer network and downloads E911 Document to his own computer and to Jolnet.

September. AT&T Corporate Information Security informed of Prophet's action.

October. Bellcore Security informed of Prophet's action.


January. Prophet uploads E911 Document to Knight Lightning.

February 25. Knight Lightning publishes E911 Document in Phrack electronic newsletter.

May. Chicago Task Force raids and arrests "Kyrie."

June. "NuPrometheus League" distributes Apple Computer proprietary software.

June 13. Florida probation office crossed with phone-sex line in switching-station stunt.

July. "Fry Guy" raided by USSS and Chicago Computer Fraud and Abuse Task Force.

Secret Service raids "Prophet," "Leftist," and "Urvile" in Georgia.



  1. Martin Luther King Day Crash strikes AT&T long-distance network nationwide. January 18-19 Chicago Task Force raids Knight Lightning in St. Louis. January
  1. USSS and New York State Police raid "Phiber Optik," "Acid Phreak," and "Scorpion" in New York City. February
  1. USSS raids "Terminus" in Maryland. February
  1. Chicago Task Force raids Richard Andrews' home. February
  1. Chicago Task Force raids Richard Andrews' business. February
  1. USSS arrests Terminus, Prophet, Leftist, and Urvile. February
  1. Chicago Task Force arrests Knight Lightning.

February 20. AT&T Security shuts down public-access "attctc" computer in Dallas.

February 21. Chicago Task Force raids Robert Izenberg in Austin. March 1. Chicago Task Force raids Steve Jackson Games, Inc., "Mentor," and "Erik Bloodaxe" in Austin.

May 7,8,9. USSS and Arizona Organized Crime and Racketeering Bureau conduct "Operation Sundevil" raids in Cincinnatti, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Tucson, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco.

May. FBI interviews John Perry Barlow re NuPrometheus case.

June. Mitch Kapor and Barlow found Electronic Frontier Foundation; Barlow publishes Crime and Puzzlement manifesto.

July 24-27. Trial of Knight Lightning.


February. CPSR Roundtable in Washington, D.C.

March 25-28. Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in San Francisco.

May 1. Electronic Frontier Foundation, Steve Jackson, and others file suit against members of Chicago Task Force.

July 1-2. Switching station phone software crash affects Washington, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, San Francisco.

September 17. AT&T phone crash affects New York City and three airports.

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Last edited Sun Oct 01 20:13:10 2006.