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Mitnick Helps Bust Bomb Hoaxer 403

Posted by simoniker
from the you-go-girl dept.
PhrostyMcByte writes "According to The Register/SecurityFocus: 'Ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick is a hero to the small town of River Rouge, Michigan, after using his tech skills to help officials nab the culprit behind a harrowing series of bomb threats.'" According to the piece, Detective Lt. John Keck "began searching the Internet for technical guidance, which led him to Kevin Mitnick, who'd earlier demonstrated a technique for spoofing Caller ID on the specialty cable network TechTV." Mitnick's comment on the bomb hoaxer? "He wasn't really hacking... he was really just being a jerk."
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Mitnick Helps Bust Bomb Hoaxer

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  • by FreemanPatrickHenry (317847) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:41PM (#9042380)
    "He wasn't really hacking... he was really just being a jerk."

    Wait... can't the exact same thing be said about Kevin Mitnick?
  • move along. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garcia (6573) * on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:42PM (#9042391) Homepage
    ...the hoaxes unnerved some residents of the Detroit suburb, which boasts a population in the high four digits.

    "It is kind of funny, I'll admit, but this is not the time for these kinds of games," says Keck.


    No, it wasn't kind of funny. It was stupid... Really stupid. It wasted a lot of people's time. The bomb threat is one thing. Diverting police cars, forcing evacuations, searching for false bombs, making someone research how to track telephone calls, and having a writer tell a sensationalized story was a huge waste of time.

    This had nothing to do with phone phreaking, hacking, or anything. It was a dumbass kid who made a call from a cell phone and someone doing their job and finding Mitnick (who of course was willing to look like the good-guy) to solve the problem.

    For once I don't recommend that you RTFA.
    • Re:move along. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TedCheshireAcad (311748) <ted@@@fc...rit...edu> on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:45PM (#9042421) Homepage
      What a dumbass. Phoning in a bomb threat to your school from your cell phone...how do you expect not to get caught?
      • Re:move along. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Xzzy (111297) <[sether] [at] [tru7h.org]> on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:52PM (#9042522) Homepage
        > Phoning in a bomb threat to your school from your
        > cell phone...how do you expect not to get caught?

        Actually, he got away with it. Several times.

        He fell prey to the number one rule of getting caught though; not stopping. If the kid had only done it once or twice, the officer would have never sought Mitnick, would have never figured out how to query the phone companies, and the kid would have made the perfect crime.

    • Re:move along. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gr8Apes (679165) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:46PM (#9042443)
      The only halfway notable incident in this story is that Mitnick did some "good". That's it, and only for passing on some basic info on how to trace a phone number. Silly really.
    • re: move along (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ed.han (444783) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:47PM (#9042447) Journal
      OTOH, mitnick did say it wasn't to him that people ought to be grateful but rather to shimomura. to me, that says something about mitnick.

      but i agree the keck saying it was "kind of funny" is stupid.

      ed
      • Re: move along (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Short Circuit (52384)
        I thought it clear that Keck didn't mean it was humerous. He meant that Keck thought it ironic, almost silly, that classmates and/or his teacher didn't see him or turn him in.
      • Re: move along (Score:5, Insightful)

        by lunartik (94926) on Monday May 03, 2004 @04:17PM (#9044244) Homepage Journal
        Cue Websters:

        -------
        Main Entry: 1funny
        Pronunciation: 'f&-nE
        Function: adjective
        Inflected Form(s): funnier; -est
        1 a : affording light mirth and laughter : AMUSING b : seeking or intended to amuse : FACETIOUS
        2 : differing from the ordinary in a suspicious, perplexing, quaint, or eccentric way : PECULIAR -- often used as a sentence modifier (funny, things didn't turn out the way we planned)
        3 : involving trickery or deception (told his prisoner not to try anything funny)
        ------

        It was funny.

    • Re:move along. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dave cutler (222400) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:12PM (#9042754)
      I think you missed the subject of "It is kind of funny." The young man called the bomb threat in FROM HIS CLASSROOM. Apparently he was in shop class on the cellphone dialing in a bomb threat. The fact that the childish misbehavior occurred under the noise of the school itself is the part that amused the Detective, and I would have to agree with him. It was funny.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:43PM (#9042400)
    Sorry, had to be said.
  • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:44PM (#9042414) Homepage Journal
    The detective is to be applauded for his creativity in finding the culprit. And let's also have some sympathy for him, 'cause you know this outcome has got him seeing red:

    The prankster confessed, and this week pleaded guilty to a single count of making bomb threats. He's not expected to spend any time incarcerated. "They're going to try to come up to some sentence that will put him on track to be more productive," says Keck.

    I'll bet five bucks the kid is in the "in crowd". Football season's over, and he's sitting in "gimme an 'A'!" shop class with the other jocks, figuring out what to do after they're done lifting the cheerleaders' skirts. "Hey, I know, let's call in a bomb threat. They'll strip search the geeks while we laugh our a$$ off!"

    Here in Texas, 15 year olds who aren't in the "in crowd" get sent to jail for life, and nobody even seems to care. And there are plenty of ridiculous [edweek.org] examples [cnn.com] of innocuous behavior being punished by schools.

    And this kid, a serial terrorist, is going to get off with a suspension -- probably because he's some bigwig's son, or else he's on "the team". What a load of crap.
    • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:50PM (#9042494) Journal
      Case in point. Longview, Texas (where a very large portion of the senior class can not read at 8th grade level) is paying over 500,000 to have artificial turf installed on the damn football field.

      They might not be able to read, but they have a kickass football stadium.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:51PM (#9042508)
      Tell me about it. at my school last year three jerks were accused of raping a girl in the year below them. They were let off with fines and immediately returned to school because there was doubt over whether it was rape or consensual. Why? because she'd once dated one of the guys involved for a month.

      Same school, same year, kid borrows a laptop from the school for a weekend as he'd done for months, but this time didn't sign out for it correctly. Suspended and grades withheld. There you go. Borrowing a laptop without proper authorisation is a worse crime than rape in School Land.

      (not to mention the ridiculousness of the logical conclusion that if you date one person you could be consenting to have forced violent sex with all their friends)
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:03PM (#9042636)
        Borrowing a laptop without proper authorisation is a worse crime than rape in School Land.

        The more I hear of the insane bureaucratic messups that are happening in schools, the more I realise that kids today who say "There's no use learning nuffing in school cos it don't apply to da real world" aren't being young naive and stupid... but damned insightful.

        Leave adulthood for kids to become jaded & cynical dammit, don't make them that at 15!
      • by stienman (51024) <adavis.ubasics@com> on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:18PM (#9042828) Homepage Journal
        The rape charges are brought by the state, not the school. The school cannot legally punish the kids for crimes not under their jurisdiction. If it happened on school grounds, then perhaps.

        The laptop signout could not have been prosecuted by the state, as no crime was committed. He broke school rules (accidently or not) and suffered the consequences.

        Nothing in your comment really gets to the point you are trying to make, that popular kids get slaps on the wrist and unpopular kids get leg irons. I don't doubt it happens, but pick more analogous circumstances if you really want to make a case.

        -Adam
      • by ad0gg (594412) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:34PM (#9043037)
        Umm unless the rape happened on school ground during school hours, it should be left up to the local police department and DA for final punishment. And even if this rape did happen on school ground and during school hours, this type of matter should be left up to the court room decide. I assume forgeting to checkout a computer is just a school violation, therefore its up for the school to decide.
    • by jhines0042 (184217) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:55PM (#9042554) Journal
      More likely explanation, this is a small town, (article says about 4 digit population) and they don't want to send a kid to jail for being stupid. If he does it again though I'm sure that he'll be deported or maybe even defenistratred.
    • Here in Texas, 15 year olds who aren't in the "in crowd" get sent to jail for life, and nobody even seems to care. And there are plenty of ridiculous examples of innocuous behavior being punished by schools.

      I read those articles, no one got sent to jail. Just suspended. And as far as I'm concerned that's the best thing that can happen. "What? No school for 2 weeks? WooHoo!" Though, perhaps in the second article they were trying to encourage the students, I sure would have.
    • Bob,

      You seem to have issues....

      Wow, talk about projection!

      BTW, I don't know about YOUR highschool, but at mine, the "in crowd" might have gotten A's in English or Calculus, but everyone of them would have flunked wood shop hard. I was following you until that line. And do you happen to know if anyone got a video of that kiss in Texas? Just curious.... ;)
    • yea its the same shit everywhere.

      Here in my little burg 3 football players beat the crap out of some kid after school and left him unconscious in the gutter. The school took it on themselves to punnish the kids -- they recieved a couple days suspension, oddly they would be back at school in time for the next game. (In this school district the penalty for being in a fight is immediate expulsion).

      • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:55PM (#9043307) Homepage
        "Here in my little burg 3 football players beat the crap out of some kid after school and left him unconscious in the gutter."

        and still to this day people are suprised when that kid finally cracks and puts a couple of slugs in the back of each of those assholes...

        The problem will not go away until the schools officials pull their heads out of their asses.
    • by Mandomania (151423) <mondo@mando.org> on Monday May 03, 2004 @03:04PM (#9043392) Homepage
      Ssshhhhhh!!!

      You keep talking about the "in crowd" and schools and stuff, and Jon Katz'll hear you and come back.

      Oh sweet Jesus, I've said his name. We're doomed. DOOMED!!

      --
      Mando
  • Heh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Erwos (553607) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:45PM (#9042418)
    I guess some criminals _can_ be rehabilitated. Nice to see our system isn't _totally_ broken.

    -Erwos
    • by FooGoo (98336)
      Don't worry we'll get him eventually. Somone that stupid won't go unnoticed for long.
    • by whoda (569082) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:06PM (#9042687) Homepage
      Mitnick wasn't rehabilitated.

      He has just used his super-powerful skills of social engineering to make people 'think' he has been rehabilitated.
    • Re:Heh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by necro2607 (771790) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:31PM (#9042996)
      I doubt it's a matter of the system not being broken. I'd say it's just more likely that Kevin is a decent guy at heart, and that's what allows/allowed him to learn from his unwise choices.

      One other thing - breaking the law doesn't exactly make a person a "criminal"; they aren't suddenly some evil hateful person who only does bad things and so on. Defining a person by their actions is easy to do and is considered "reasonable" but usually results in inaccurately classifying someone's whole personality and overlooking other aspects of his or her personality and behaviour.
  • by MysticalMatt517 (772389) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:45PM (#9042429) Homepage
    To the media, what's the difference? Anyone who commits a crime involving a computer is considered a hacker to them...
  • uh.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by sxtxixtxcxh (757736) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:46PM (#9042434) Homepage Journal
    He'd apparently made the calls, unnoticed, from class. "It is kind of funny, I'll admit, but this is not the time for these kinds of games," says Keck.
    br uh... exactly when is the RIGHT time for calling in bomb threats from class....?
  • A good example? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by david_reese (460043) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:46PM (#9042436)
    I'd have to say that it's good we can show a clear example of a "good hacker"... and what's best is this is a local effort. Good will for white-hats will be best done at the grassroots level.

    You can make a difference by doing good hackerly things and at the same time denouncing the draconian measures [eff.org].

  • by Aslan72 (647654) <psjuvin@@@ilstu...edu> on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:47PM (#9042448)
    Said by the kid when captured "I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling haxors and your dog!"
  • by Fubar411 (562908) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:48PM (#9042474)
    The dead-end led Keck to suspect that the caller was employing some hi-tech means to cover his tracks. *67?
  • by carvalhao (774969) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:50PM (#9042499) Journal

    Wether people like it or not, there will always be someone that will misuse technology and its loopholes.

    Isn't it nice that there are some people that KNOW those loopholes and that don't misuse them? How can we defend ourselves against something we don't know?

    These kinds of actions bring the focus right to the differences between hacking and cracking most society is led to believe don't exist. Let me add that the good publicity comes in handy :)

  • You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Poster Nutbag (635382) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:50PM (#9042500)
    I don't think this is an issue of technology as much as it is an issue of teachers needing to pay attention to their damn students.

  • pay it forward. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by itsdave (105030)
    reminds me of that movie "pay it forward" applied to criminal justice.
  • by MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:51PM (#9042512)
    Imagine you have just cracked your way into a UNIX login. Looking around a bit, you soon get a msg:

    Message from kmitnick@localhost on pts/1 at 13:31 ...

    Um... dude... you picked the wrong freaking box to hack into today...


    That's when you log off and unplug your computer from the net, maybe move, get a different ISP, change MAC addresses... etc...
    • Message from kmitnick@localhost on pts/1 at 13:31 ...
      Um... dude... you picked the wrong freaking box to hack into today...

      Besides the fact that Mr. Mitnick is still on the Federally mandated no-Internet plan, I question if some "dude" is going to be able to hack his "freaking box".

    • Re:who is this? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by evilviper (135110) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:14PM (#9042785) Journal
      That's when you log off and unplug your computer from the net, maybe move, get a different ISP, change MAC addresses... etc...

      Kevin may have gained a lot of fame for being so successful, but it's not as if he's the most technically proficient hacker of all time.

      I wouldn't run away and hide, or anything like that, I'd just be very paranoid when my bank phones me up and says they need my SS# and CC# because their records have been lost...
  • Humm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eww (211414) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:52PM (#9042521) Journal
    It sounds like the phone companies were not that interested in helping the police out. Instead the police had to ask someone else to help them out. Other wise the police wouldn't have know which information to request on the warrents.

    I wounder if the phone companies would have been more helpfull if there actually was a bomb that exploded?

    Typical big biz...

  • by manganese4 (726568) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:52PM (#9042523)
    What I do not understand was why they just did not watch one of the many cop shows on TV to find out how to call the phone company to get a trace placed on the call?
  • What is strange... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0xC0FFEE (763100) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:55PM (#9042547)
    Mitnick didn't do much, he just taught the police officer what kind of information to ask the TelCo. What I find particularly disturbing is why the TelCo people weren't more involved. I mean:

    What happened: Officer: I need this TelCo: Searching... Nothing.. Try Again...

    instead of what should have happened: Officer: We need to catch this haxor TelCo: Ok, ..., there it is!

    • by svallarian (43156) <svallarian@Nospam.hotmail.com> on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:21PM (#9042864)
      What they were missing was the judicious use of

      "Terrorist"

      as in,

      "We need to catch this Terrorist."

      Steven V.

    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:29PM (#9042957) Journal
      What I find particularly disturbing is why the TelCo people weren't more involved. I mean:

      What happened: Officer: I need this TelCo: Searching... Nothing.. Try Again...

      Instead of what should have happened: Officer: We need to catch this haxor TelCo: Ok, ..., there it is!


      I, on the other hand, am glad that the telephone company is not being randomly helpful, but insisting that the police go through proper channels before handing out call trace information.

      Perhaps they could have told him what to ask for. But I prefer that they err on the side of citizen privacy and let the police learn to do their job through their own methods (as this officer did), rather than spending their resources (and raising customer bills) leading every nosy cop through the procedure by hand, thus encouraging its constant use for ever smaller issues and possibly giving them incorrect legal advice in the process.
      • I, on the other hand, am glad that the telephone company is not being randomly helpful, but insisting that the police go through proper channels before handing out call trace information.

        That is ridiculous. He HAD A SEARCH WARRANT, and the telco, instead of giving him the information he had a right to recieve, they said: We don't know who placed the call, have a nice day. In other words, a cop had a warrant, and they told him to fuck off. They could EASILY have said: It came from this other provider, as

  • by PornMaster (749461) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:56PM (#9042574) Homepage
    Is there a reason there isn't a standardized procedure with the phone company whereby the cops say "there was a bomb threat made at 1pm to this number" and the phone company says "these were the incoming calls and where they came from"?

    Seems ridiculous that the cops in Podunk need to know how to request the info specifically.

    Before anyone jumps on me about privacy issues and overzealous cops with warrants, in cases where the customer (the school in this case) agrees to have their call records searched, this wouldn't really be an issue.

    -PM
  • by GeneralEmergency (240687) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:58PM (#9042590) Journal
    Kevin once demonstrated this caller id spoofing technique to me personally while I was working with him on his KFI 640AM radio talk show "The Dark Side of the INternet".

    Believe me, it is extremely creepy to look at your ringing cell phone and see that you are calling yourself!

    Kevin, bud...Great work!

  • by Chairboy (88841) on Monday May 03, 2004 @01:59PM (#9042596) Homepage
    River Rouge, MI (AP)- Notorious hacking mastermind Kevin Mitnick has been spotted by Michigan law enforcement teaching people how to circumvent security protocols. His peripheral involvement in a series of bomb threats has been noted by officer Keck and is being investigated.

    "...showed me how...hack...phones", said Keck (extraneous text removed for clarity).

    Mitnick, known for his evil attacks against such pillars of the community as Sprint and AT&T, may also have been seen eating a puppy. - AP
  • by MikeD83 (529104) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:00PM (#9042615)
    "Armed with Mitnick's advice, Keck went back to SBC and demanded a "terminating number search" for any calls made to the high school's lines on the dates of the bomb threats."

    So really all Kevin did was point out how unhelpful SBC is to law enforcement? SBC could help but wasn't asked in the right way. How is our government expected to tackle matters of national security when the major communications companies are unwilling to help unless you say the "magic words."
  • by afeeney (719690) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:03PM (#9042635)
    Of course, Markoff's book was written to sensationalize hackers and crackers, much the same as Mitnick's is to present hackers as generally benign and himself as a victim of a witchhunt (almost the same way that Cyberpunk protrayed Robert Morris as a victim) and somebody with no heroic aspects, just a venal brutality.

    So it's almost too good to be true to see Mitnick in a scenario where he's the hero who saves the innocent villagers but shows no animosity towards the perpetrator, just a good helping of world-weary contempt for somebody who thinks he's an anti-hero (hacker) but isn't. He also, in the same epic tradition, shows respect for the abilities of the man who brought him down in the first place.

  • by mboedick (543717) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:08PM (#9042703)

    What did Mitnick do exactly? He told the police what to ask for from the phone company?

    I would think if the police went to the phone company and asked them "we need to find out where these calls are coming from", the phone company would know what needs to be done to find out.

    I hope everything Mitnick knows is also known by someone at the phone company. It seems the cooperation of the phone company would preclude the necessity of involving an "expert" like Mitnick.

    • I would think if the police went to the phone company and asked them "we need to find out where these calls are coming from", the phone company would know what needs to be done to find out.

      Man, you must've never dealt with one of the large telecom companies. They'll dance around the issue, and give you loads of crap until you ask for the exact thing that it says on their screen, word for word. Not to mention you have to figure out which of ten phone numbers to call to get to the right place, and they'l
  • l33t detectivez! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mabu (178417) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:09PM (#9042710)
    The sad part of this is that the detective couldn't figure out what to ask for, or that SBC refused to cooperate fully. I think it's great that Mitnick gets some positive press and furthers the idea of white hat operations, but the more disturbing thing this story illuminates is how totally inept law enforcement is when it comes to tech issues.

    The boy didn't even employ anything creative or hacker-like. He just dialed a number on his phone, and the authorities needed an ex-con hacker to help them with this?

    I think stories like this call attention to the fact that there is a *desperate* need for more training of law enforcement people in tech issues.
    • Re:l33t detectivez! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cowscows (103644) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:23PM (#9042881) Journal
      actually, this all sounds pretty decent to me. It's a small town, they can't be expected to hire a hundred specialists, and so someone at the department asks for help from someone who knows more about it. And they catch the guy. What's the problem here? Sounds to me like the detective was acting like, well...a detective.

      Was Mitnick the only person who could've helped them, due to his ex-con hacker status? Doubtful. Could the phone companies have been better about it? Probably. If something similar happens again, will the cops know better how to deal with it? They should.

    • Re:l33t detectivez! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bloggins02 (468782) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:31PM (#9042985)
      The sad part of this is that the detective couldn't figure out what to ask for

      Wait, the police detective was supposed to just know that he had to ask for a "terminating number"? I don't think so. (OTOH, you're correct for calling out SBC for requiring these "magic words" in the first place).

      I look at this detective and see a guy who didn't know what to do, ADMITTED he didn't know what to do, and then found the right person to ask who DID know what to do. The guy seems pretty resourceful to me. I'll give him props, even if he didn't know what a "terminating number" is.
    • Re:l33t detectivez! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Tenebrious1 (530949) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:34PM (#9043023) Homepage
      The boy didn't even employ anything creative or hacker-like. He just dialed a number on his phone, and the authorities needed an ex-con hacker to help them with this?

      My guess is that the local PD knew it was a local kid, and knew it was a hoax. Of course, they had to treat each call as if it were real, but not worth calling up the State Police, Sheriff, FBI... don't want to run the risk of putting some town bigwig's kid in the fed pen. So the local PD kept the investigation local, used other means to keep the crime and punishment in their own jurisdiction. And wouldn't you know, the accused will not be facing jail time.

    • by curtisk (191737)
      ...and the authorities needed an ex-con hacker to help them with this?

      YEAH!!! Why doesn't anyone throw Tsutomu Shimomura [wikipedia.org] a bone once in a while? Its always Mitnick,Mitnick,Mitnick!!!!! sheesh!

  • Grumble grumble (Score:4, Informative)

    by Elwood P Dowd (16933) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:12PM (#9042751) Journal
    It wasn't the crime of the century, but taking place barely two weeks ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Columbine massacre, the hoaxes unnerved some residents of the Detroit suburb, which boasts a population in the high four digits. "I don't put anything past these kids now days, I really don't," says Keck.
    Well, don't put anything past anyone. But it's not "these kids" that we need to worry about, it's people that are complete fucking psychopaths. Eric Harris was hateful and paranoid. So sure, he thought everyone at school was out to get him. He thought everyone everywhere was out to get him. Check out his journals and make up your own mind. [free2host.net] He lied for fun and idolized mass murderers. He wasn't targetting the people he hated specifically, he wanted to kill everyone at the school [tennessean.com]. The only reason they didn't succeed was that they were bad at making bombs, and the bombs didn't go off when they planned. In the cafeteria. At lunch time.

    And psychopaths like this always think they're being bullied. That's because they're fucking paranoid and crazy. It's certainly not that kids are inherently paranoid and crazy. Yes, we need to pay more attention to children, but not because they're a threat.

    Ugh. I hope that's just the cop mentality speaking. I hope most people don't actually think like that "Keck" guy.
  • by Sowbug (16204) * on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:12PM (#9042759) Homepage
    First the detective tries this: "When the detective served a search warrant on SBC Ameritech for the source of the calls, the phone company came up dry."

    Then after he talks to Mitnick and gives a more specific request: "This time, SBC tracked the calls as far as cell phone carrier Sprint PCS, and identified the specific trunks on which the calls entered the local phone network."

    Why does SBC need the help of an ex-hacker to come up with the right terminology to search its own system for evidence of crime? Do phone companies treat law enforcement with the same dull contempt that they do their regular customers?

    I can just imagine: "Thank you for calling SBC Ameritech's search warrant compliance department. Please listen carefully to the following options, as they have recently changed. Press 1 if you are tracking an obscene phone caller. Press 2 if you are tracking a bomber. beep Thank you. Please press 1 if the bomber is threatening a commercial address. Press 2 if the bomber is threatening a residential address. beep...."
  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:21PM (#9042866)
    I would've used the Trace-Buster-Buster-Buster-Buster-Buster.

  • by mi (197448) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:26PM (#9042907) Homepage
    And see the /. reaction change tone...
  • Beating Caller ID (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:47PM (#9043219)
    Taken from here [artofhacking.com].

    To start off with - 15 Ways to beat Caller ID

    (0) This doesn't count as a way to beat CID, but there's a general
    principle to consider when contemplating ways to beat CID.
    Generally, the CID signal your target sees corresponds to the owner
    of the dial tone you call him from. If you call direct, you dial
    from your own dial tone and your line is identified. If you call a
    third party, and by whatever means manage to acquire his dial tone,
    and from there dial out, it is the number associated with that
    second dial tone that your target sees. Some of the ideas following
    this were developed with this basic idea in mind.

    (0.5) This also doesn't count, but remember that beating Caller ID as
    such is only the first layer of your protection. If your calling is
    sufficiently annoying or criminal, there is *always* a paper trail
    (ANI data, billing data, trouble reports, *57 traces, etc) leading
    back to the phone you first called from. That trail is not always
    easy or worthwhile to track you down with. Whether or not the trail
    is followed depends entirely upon how pissed off your target is and
    how much co-operation he can get from the phone company, law
    enforcement, etc.

    (1) Use *67. It will cause the called party's Caller ID unit to
    display "Private" or "Blocked" or "Unavailable" depending on the
    manufacturer. It is probably already available on your line, and if
    it isn't, your local phone company will (most likely - please ask
    them) set it up for free. This is the simplest method, it's 100
    percent legal, and it works. But just remember you will not be
    invisible to business customers with real time ANI (like on
    corporate toll free lines), or to 911, or to the mechanism that *57
    triggers.

    (2) Use a pay phone. Not very convenient, costs 25 or 35 cents
    depending, but it cannot be traced back to your house in any way,
    not even by *57. Not even if the person who you call has Mulder and
    Scully hanging over your shoulder trying to get an FBI trace (sic).
    Janet Reno himself couldn't subpoena your identity. It's not your
    phone, not your problem, AND it will get past "block the blocker"
    services. So it's not a totally useless suggestion, even if you
    have already thought of it.

    (3) Go through an operator. This is a more expensive way of doing it
    ($1.25-$2.00 per call), you can still be traced, and the person
    you're calling WILL be suspicious when the operator first asks for
    them, if you have already tried other Caller ID suppression methods
    on them.

    (4) Use a prepaid calling card. This costs whatever the per-minute
    charge on the card is, as they don't recognize local calls. A lot
    of private investigators use these. A *57 trace will fail but you
    could still be tracked down with an intensive investigation (read:
    subpoena the card company). The Caller ID will show the outdial
    number of the Card issuer.

    (5) Go through a PBX or WATS extender. Getting a dial tone on a PBX is
    fairly easy to social engineer, but beyond the scope of this file.
    This is a well-known and well-loved way of charging phone calls to
    someone else but it can also be used to hide your identity from a
    Caller ID box, since the PBX's number is what appears. You can even
    appear to be in a different city if the PBX you are using is! This
    isn't very legal at all.

    (6) I don't have proof of this, but I *think* that a teleconference
    (Alliance teleconferencing, etc.) that lets you call out to the
    participants will not send your number in Caller ID. In other
    words, I am pretty sure the dial tone is not your own.

    (7) Speaking of
  • by Powercntrl (458442) on Monday May 03, 2004 @02:49PM (#9043245)
    If you RTFA, it's easy to figure out what how the prankster was blocking his caller ID.

    With SprintPCS, you can call your voice mail and one of the options is to place a call. When you place a call using this method, your caller ID information isn't sent. Of course, Sprint still has logs of who you're calling so the only evil deed it's really good for is calling an ex-girlfriend and telling her you think she's fat and no good in bed. ;)

    Back in my day, kids that called bomb threats into the school used payphones... And they didn't get caught.

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