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Hacking History

(before 1969)  
Elder Days  
The Golden Age  
Zero Tolerance  

Greatest Hackers in the Whole World


Richard Stallman

Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson

John Draper

Mark Abene

Robert Morris

Kevin Mitnick

Kevin Poulsen

Johan Helsingius

Vladimir Levin

Douglas Engelbart

Steve Wozniak

Clifford Stoll

Linus Torvalds

Tsutomu Shimomura


Legendary computer hacker released from prison

Hacker discloses new Internet attack software

Nvidia settles Dutch hacking case

Hackers launch attacks to 'teach' RP a lesson



Elder Days (1970-1979)


In the 1970s the cyber frontier was wide open. Hacking was all about exploring and figuring out how the wired world worked.

Around 1971 a Vietnam vet named John Draper discovered that the giveaway whistle in Cap'n Crunch cereal boxes perfectly reproduced a 2600 megahertz tone. Simply blow the whistle into a telephone receiver to make free calls; thanks for using AT&T.

Counterculture guru Abbie Hoffman (above) followed the captain's lead with The Youth International Party Line newsletter. This bible spread the word on how to get free phone service. "Phreaking" didn't hurt anybody, the argument went, because phone calls emanated from an unlimited reservoir. Hoffman's publishing partner, Al Bell, changed the newsletter's name to TAP, for Technical Assistance Program. True believers have hoarded the mind-numbingly complex technical articles and worshiped them for two decades.

The only thing missing from the hacking scene was a virtual clubhouse. How would the best hackers ever meet? In 1978 two guys from Chicago, Randy Seuss and Ward Christiansen, created the first personal-computer bulletin-board system. It's still in operation today.