Hackers. 20 Years ago today.

The Gibson

This story is for all those kids that think that life gives them what they have and that doing more than that is not in the cards.

I remember, vaguely, thinking that I had never been to New York. I was about 16 at the time. It was not for me. No. Traveling? That wasn’t in the cards for me. We where just an immigrant family and I was going to eventually work with father in his mechanic shop or maybe selling used cars like he used to do. I was probably still running my BBS at the time. It was funny that today if you ask my mom she remembered the horror of her 12 year old son asking for a computer because we had Apple II’s in Elementary school. What did she know about computers?

Renegade BBS

By the time that hackers had come out, I remember that I had stopped running my BBS because I had been, I guess what today you would call Doxed. What do you do when you are Doxed and you are 14? I guess you get scared. Someone had been using my accounts and privileged access into systems and then taking that access and wrecking BBS’s. It sounded pretty awesome, but I let a SysAdmin know about it. I had seen myself log in at the same time I was logged in a multi-node system. It was interesting that the attacker had figured out my naively week always used password.

In the spirit of hackers, it was a plain text password but it wasn’t one of the ones that Mr. The Plague had said common people used. I couldn’t tell you what it was if you asked me today. I do remember that I must have done something childish because my information ended up being distributed by one of the biggest software piracy groups at the time. Getting phone calls from Japan and having your Cuban Grandmother pick them up was not fun. It was somewhat intense for a while, and I was naive about how to get back into using my computer.

Eventually, I wised up and I got back into that whole scene, mostly with the Art scene. It felt a lot like the hackers film, just a bunch of introverted individuals who either created art, weather it was ASCII or music, or collected hacking tools and viruses. It was really different time. Many of the individuals that I knew started hooking up their BBS’s right up to the internet and I got my first taste of a world without limits. Hack the planet became a much more real concept because the world was closer.

One of the most interesting things about that movie looking back on it 20 years today is that it really was a seminal movie at the time. You could not do that movie today and get away with it. At that time, it was very real and very exact, well maybe not the Gibson. The concept of war dialing and hooking into connected systems that could change what you watch on TV today isn’t so far fetched is it?

Follow your Dreams?

I never dreamed of my career as it stands today, I was going to be a car mechanic. When I did move into technology, I was just working on networks, you didn’t get paid to security work. You just did that for fun. It was all for fun. Almost like Digital Grafitti.

For all of those that are 14–18 and think that the world is not for you. I am an example of the opposite. I love visiting New York today, and have many friends there. I travel quite often and enjoy and love what I do.

But 20 years ago, in the day of Zero Cool and Lord Nikon, New York, nah, that was not for me.

You can read more about me on my Blog: https://www.moses.io

Moses Frost - I am a Security Pro in South Florida. I am employed by Cisco Systems. Opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect those of Cisco.

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