RealNews

Confessions of a hacker

By the age of 20, Benjamin Breuninger’s life was a mess. Estranged from his mother and stepfather, a dropout with no job and months behind on his rent, he often went a day or more without eating. Online, he had a different life. There, he was Konceptor, a skilled hacker who broke into computer networks, defaced Web sites and strutted in online newsgroups such as alt.2600, where he closed his frequent postings with this warning: “The Keystroke is mightier than the Pen. And this is My GAME.” In 2 1/2 years in the late 1990s, Breuninger hacked into dozens of computer systems. He peeked at the payroll of a nearby Taco Bell, left messages supporting Jesse Ventura on the St. Paul Public Library and KSTP radio Web sites and stole thousands of Internet e-mail accounts and passwords. Because his crime involved one computer system instead of thousands, Breuninger’s arrest didn’t generate the attention that greeted the August arrest of Jeffrey Parson, the Hopkins High School student accused of infecting 7,000 computers with a version of the Blaster computer worm. But security experts say Breuninger’s hacking is more typical of the kind that is occurring daily. Often undetected or unreported, it originates in the bed rooms of teenage boys armed with sophisticated automated programs that can scan the Internet around the clock, probing for soft spots. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

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