Reverse Engineering: Hacking Documentary Series

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We will present a sample scene and panel talk on our documentary series Reverse Engineering to the hacking community, which has been in the works for 4 years. We have dozens of interviews spanning the first 3 decades of computer hacking, ultimately there will be hundreds. It's a big story, but for the purposes of DEF CON, we've put together a 17 min. Scene covering the 80s WarGames/Legion of Doom-era of computer hacking in the US. We've spoken to great people, but there are other viewpoints—this is a history that needs to be told by 1st person accounts. The accuracy and strength of our completed series is tantamount to the quality of who we interview and the questions that get asked. Accuracy is particularly important, there's been no shortage of media hype and lies regarding hacking since the 1980s. Our vision for this film series is inclusive and collaborative. We'd like to hear from attendees how to best tell the origin story of hacking to new generations, and more so the outside world who've been fed a lot of myths by the media. Those are the lawmakers and citizens of tomorrow that we need to reach. Little attention has been paid to the pioneering hacker spirit that has literally changed every aspect of life. We want to address and correct that.
Presentation of a group Personal digital assistant Multiplication sign Projective plane Content (media) Text editor Reverse engineering
Point (geometry) Group action Computer file Multiplication sign Tap (transformer) Water vapor Mereology Information technology consulting Depiction Bookmark (World Wide Web) Neuroinformatik Number Web 2.0 Goodness of fit Coefficient of determination Hacker (term) Hypermedia Different (Kate Ryan album) Green's function Authorization Series (mathematics) Computer-assisted translation Information security YouTube Task (computing) Modem Covering space Electric generator Dreizehn Projective plane Moment (mathematics) Physical law Computer Determinism Bit Lattice (order) Demoscene Connected space Film editing Visualization (computer graphics) Personal digital assistant Multimedia Whiteboard Quicksort Hacker (term) Distortion (mathematics)
Probability density function Web page 1 (number) Mereology Demoscene Graph coloring Demoscene Sample (statistics) Hacker (term) Tower output Right angle Musical ensemble Arithmetic progression
Sample (statistics) Hacker (term) Set (mathematics) Musical ensemble Rule of inference Neuroinformatik
Game controller Nuclear space Musical ensemble Quicksort Mereology Neuroinformatik
Software Hacker (term) Software cracking Right angle Hypercube Social class
Satellite Vapor barrier Information Internetworking Multiplication sign Universe (mathematics) Musical ensemble
Reading (process) Inheritance (object-oriented programming) Multiplication sign Virtual machine Similarity (geometry) Menu (computing) Bulletin board system Bulletin board system Neuroinformatik Message passing Personal computer Software Quicksort Physical system Modem
Message passing Inheritance (object-oriented programming) String (computer science) Multiplication sign Line (geometry) Bulletin board system Number Neuroinformatik
Service (economics) Polygon mesh Block (periodic table) Commodore VIC-20 Multiplication sign Computer network Musical ensemble Entire function Neuroinformatik
Hacker (term) Contrast (vision) Neuroinformatik
Point (geometry) Line (geometry) Error correction model Emulation Neuroinformatik Arithmetic mean Word R-Parität Hacker (term) Password Video game Modem Physical system
Default (computer science) Bulletin board system Login Neuroinformatik Programmer (hardware) Hacker (term) Different (Kate Ryan album) Password Game theory Musical ensemble Whiteboard Modem Physical system
Computer engineering Virtual machine Computer network Neuroinformatik Software Hacker (term) Computer network Office suite Quicksort Fiber (mathematics) Family Loop (music) Modem
Game controller Electric generator Inheritance (object-oriented programming) Maxima and minima Computer Sound effect Bending Software Operator (mathematics) Computer-assisted translation Modem Modem Physical system
Aliasing Group action Hacker (term) Gravitation Bulletin board system Identity management
Group action State of matter Hacker (term) Source code Determinism Game theory Bulletin board system Physical system
Determinism Disk read-and-write head System call Row (database)
Hacker (term) Energy level Quicksort Neuroinformatik
Internet forum Multiplication sign Telecommunication Physical law Computer Bell and Howell Information Information security Neuroinformatik
Noise (electronics) Neuroinformatik
Laptop Inheritance (object-oriented programming) Hand fan Neuroinformatik Value-added network
Information Hacker (term) Plastikkarte Determinism Information security Neuroinformatik
Group action Hacker (term) Euler angles Multiplication sign Neuroinformatik Number
Source code Operations research Group action Information Multiplication sign Computer Code Internet service provider Computer network Neuroinformatik Local Group Software Different (Kate Ryan album) Boom (sailing) System programming Information Physical system Data structure Fiber (mathematics) Force Dean number
Software Virtual machine Directory service Login System call Physical system
Group action Software Hacker (term) Set (mathematics) Bit
Bit rate Hacker (term) Hypermedia Cyberspace
Revision control Area Group action Wave Hacker (term) Hypermedia Field (computer science) Neuroinformatik
Hacker (term) Speech synthesis Quicksort Musical ensemble
Mobile app Group action Concurrency (computer science) Multiplication sign Sheaf (mathematics) Virtual machine Student's t-test Mereology Turing-Maschine Twitter Neuroinformatik Mach's principle Hacker (term) Term (mathematics) Operator (mathematics) ARPANET Boundary value problem Series (mathematics) Reverse engineering Data compression Information security Metropolitan area network Condition number Probability density function Touchscreen Electric generator Information File format Surface Moment (mathematics) Gradient Shared memory Computer Bit Mereology Line (geometry) Bulletin board system System call Flow separation Demoscene Personal computer Process (computing) Ring (mathematics) Software Universe (mathematics) Figurate number Reverse engineering Series (mathematics)
Point (geometry) Multiplication sign Source code Mereology Arm Neuroinformatik Web 2.0 Locally compact space Root Hacker (term) Internetworking Computer network Daylight saving time Gastropod shell Series (mathematics) Reverse engineering Modem Physical system Default (computer science) Electric generator Concentric Closed set Physical law Mereology Type theory Personal computer Password Game theory Series (mathematics)
Point (geometry) Presentation of a group Open source Gradient Multiplication sign Source code Shape (magazine) Demoscene Formal language Frequency Hacker (term) Information security Position operator Punched card Electric generator Line (geometry) Limit (category theory) Word Process (computing) Repository (publishing) Fuzzy logic Iteration Information security Table (information) Spacetime Reverse engineering
Point (geometry) Sine Service (economics) Multiplication sign Real number Direction (geometry) Source code Sheaf (mathematics) Mass Mereology Event horizon Neuroinformatik Hacker (term) Gastropod shell Series (mathematics) Error message Metropolitan area network Form (programming) Covering space Injektivität Curve File format Sampling (statistics) Line (geometry) Lattice (order) Demoscene Frame problem Software Drill commands Website Right angle Internet der Dinge Quicksort Local ring
Energy level
alright now I'll hand it over to the reverse engineering team Thank You Def Con 26 thank you okay my name is John tehrani and I am the producer and editor of the project that we are presenting reverse engineering I've been working in entertainment for the past 15 years with a specialty and unscripted content we're gonna tell you about a great project that we've been working on a project about you and we're gonna tell you how you can get involved and help bring the project to completion because after all it is about you so right now let me bring up the well let me introduce the producer and director of reverse engineering Michael Lee Nurenberg thank you John Thank You Def Con 26 for having us and to give this presentation some of you this weekend thought I might be a narc which is not the case I'm on your side my partners and I suspect we find a receptive audience here and so thank you again for having us I'm at times a writer filmmaker and probably most known
as a commercial artists and movies and TV I directed a documentary on hustler magazine that came out four years ago because my dad was art director 70s and 80s so if you're interested in watching it's easy to find the reason I'm speaking to you today is that four years ago we set out to make a documentary about the history of computer hacking and to get this right involves bringing it to you because this is what you do John okay I'd also like to introduce another producer you might know him as Bill from our NOC Dave Buckwald Hey thank you what's cooking DEFCON my true given name is Dave Buckwald and I'm a hacker and I'm a filmmaker and a visual artist and and dog willing on the 13th I'm gonna be 23 years sober this was movie magic water well we yeah we've been working on this project Mike how long are we working on this for funny you should ask John for years I started when I was gifted a copy of this book Masters of Deception led me to Bruce Sterling's a-kor crackdown Stephen levies hackers John Markoff with the Dormouse said fill absolutely exploding a phone a number of others that or landmark books of the of the early years of this thing so after doing the research I found that there was no major documentary much less a major docu-series on the subject and so we found a wormhole in the culture and the lane is open so after doing the research we just started finding people and filming them the first being John Perry Barlow which in retrospect are not to be quite prescient I've always been the tech like many I came of age in the 90s and is fascinated by the early web but I really didn't get really into it so the beginning of consumer broadband in the early 2000s at that point hacking the infancy had just passed now they're great documentaries about specific hacking moments it's turned out to be incredible resources for what we're doing but after doing the research we realized that there hasn't been a single film that speaks about this thing the beginning of this thing to the broader non hacker world and there's a lot of people who don't understand it afraid of it and and it impacts their lives every day now one of the things that made me want to be a part of the project was the connection to New York City now upon meeting the hackers that we were interviewing like Dave most of them are new york-based and I'm a lifelong New Yorker so while I was reading Masters of Deception yeah why was reading Masters of Deception I was able to visualize a lot of the places that they were talking about I knew the about the green acres mall and the Radio Shack there where the kids would go to buy their computer parts and their modems and stuff so I was able to visualize a lot of the places because I had already been there and upon meeting Dave and you know the other people that that from mo D and Masters of Deception Legion of Doom I was able to really identify with them just because you know I've I felt that you know I was like them and I would have been friends with them in school so you know bringing Dave on as a producer for me was a no-brainer and would have been hard to be friends with me in school because I was wasn't at school that often I was behind my computer most of the time and I'm here because in 1983 1984 I got an apple 2e and a little bit later a blazing Apple cat blazing-fast Apple cat modem and I very soon after that discovered text files and tap magazine BBS's later 2600 magazine and I was the lead singer of a group called Legion of Doom until I was busted by the Secret Service in the summer of 87 and I got my first taste of working in the film industry as a hacking consultant on a movie hackers which is not a documentary many of you have probably seen this this wonderful piece in the 90s I was working as a computer security consultant with my old hacking buddy fiber-optic until the dot-com bubble burst and I got sick of making money anyway so I decided to become a film editor and I've always observed that the more you know about any given subject the more kind of media distortion there is and the you know the public perception gets so skewed and working in this film is kind of my way of giving back to the hacker community and really you know presenting you know well not just for a new generation of hackers but for general audiences a kind of true depiction of of what went on and what brought us to where we are now in in in entertaining and non didactic way so along with my two partners from the custom of a John irani and Flint hunt housing who couldn't be here tonight we met Dave while tracking down members of the early 90 allayed 80s group Legion of Doom and turned out he was also in Brooklyn like the rest of us and it made sense to join the team being a film editor so he understood what we were trying to do and turns out to be a damn good film producer which is how we ended up here that's what I told them I primarily do picture editing and producing and I've always stayed close to my roots in that the hacker world I'd been the cover artist in residence for 2600 magazine doing all the covers since about 2001 and designing their t-shirts as funny I see so many people wearing t-shirts here that I designed you know behind my little computer so that's that's always cool and it's funny what kind of started as just like an impromptu interview in my boiler room has bloomed into this like Herculean task of trying to document hacker history so I alluded to we're gonna show
the the 20-minute clip so we alluded to this earlier but there there are very few documentaries about the original hacker generations currently there's a great many of them being made about contemporary hacking because it's much more sexy to film but they it's easier to do the existing documentary they are basic cable or homemade YouTube documentaries designed for other hackers more or less some of them have been quite good my personal favorites annalisa savages unauthorized access because here's the first and he captured these guys in the moment before the law closed in on them there's also Emmanuel gold scenes freedom downtime which is about kevin Mitnick and his his case and jason scott's ambitious a part documentary series on BBS boards so we're doing something different so we can entertain like I mentioned earlier than on hack community and pandering to the old-school media sort of scare
tactics by talking to people who are actually there so John set up the scene sure right now we're gonna send we're gonna show you guys a chunk of the movie now all three of us had our hands in making this and please remember it is a work in progress right they it's important to note that another music has been cleared because it's only tempt in you clear that when you have the lawyers if you do that the last step because it costs so much money the sound of the color isn't mixed yet for the same reason and we filled this stage it's only right that we shared with the hacker community so we can get your input see what we can what else we could do with it because it's big it's many three parts I can't I have to watch it with you so I'm tethered to the thing I can't walk away so we're just terrifying yeah John yeah well it's I mean no one's gonna walk out kiss it's a it's edited really well whoever edited it so let's show it to you now man he's alright but after we're done here we're gonna
explain what the three port parts are and we can't dim the lights because
because it's the rule pretend that you're in a movie theater right now the ambience the chandelier take these down though no I don't know all right enjoy [Music] today five hackers were indicted on federal wire fraud charges and NBC's Gary Matsumoto found they're a leader in an unlikely setting that's fiber-optic with a pH described by some as a computer genius by others as a computer anarchist when you're a little kid
growing up you kind of feel like you
don't really have any control over what's going on as far as what was going on in the news around us in the 80s the Soviet Union was still a very real thing we were worried about nuclear war Ronald
Reagan and Gorbachev that are negotiating this stuff and you're hoping it turns out okay but you really don't know from one day to the next if one day everybody's just going to blow up [Music] this permeated culture was in movies it
was in music and it was so scary ship getting online and sort of becoming part of this computer underground was something that we felt that we had control over in a world that we had
really no place in New York was nothing
like how it is now is the crack epidemic
of huge proportions drugs in the street
violence everywhere so you have to be
constantly aware and that sort of hyper
aware of is translated into breaking
into computers and out of that came a new class of people hackers young people had new technology
inside out had grew up with it and could
see the networks that were evolving right before our eyes I could see where it was going and play
with it build around and interrupting in
some ways the kind of curiosity I can only be generated in satellite a busy
place like New York City [Music]
at the very beginning it was about a
shared interest in an illicit derivative information and initially there were no barriers this was the world was free to
a port and subterranean and secret and accessible at that particular time the
internet existed but you know most people weren't really on it unless you were at university you'll work for one
of the various agencies you know in the scientific or military but there was a
rise alike these online BBS's and these
networks BBS stands for bulletin board
system and this was how people would
communicate with other people that also had personal computers once a computer is equipped with a modem it can both send and receive messages to and from any other computer in the world that is also equipped with a similar sort of modem the first time that I tell netted another machine halfway across the country realized that I was I was connected to that computer way over there it was a religious experience a
friend that showed me this and he said yeah I'm calling up these bulletin board systems we need to do all these things with them you would call a phone number put it
into a cradle and then it would answer and you'd be able to talk to the computer and then you end up with a
bunch of strings and characters and
people's names and I just thought this
was insane I thought this was the greatest thing ever he's very very slow will take days
for messages to arrive sometimes the kid whose parents had an extra phone line
would leave his computer hooked up to the phone all the time so
you could call into that computer there's someone who calls into some
other computer far away and this
computer called that one called that one so it was a completely kind of ad-hoc
mesh of computers you don't know where this is you don't know how it's being done and at the time that's that's
beyond belief the first one I got on was
called qlink which was the precursor to
AOL and I got on there and I didn't fit in at all I'm like yo who here likes biz
markie and they were like yo nobody
likes black music I was like oh man it was like and I got like trolled by like a guy his name was like in Ko TV like New Kids on the Block and there's a whole bunch of posts about hacking and
I'm like holy hacking breaking into
computers sounds kind of cool the
computer underground in the 80s was the Age of Exploration and that's in stark
contrast to whatever semblance of an underground exists today is not about exploration it's about theft
it's about bank fraud it's about monetary gain unfortunately you really into computers yes yeah what
are you doing going into the school's
they changed the password over a couple of weeks but I know where they write it
down one of the biggest films I think had a huge impact on me that came out in
the early 80s was wargames about a kid who's looking for a video game company he's a hacker a lot of the things they
show in the movie are true to life as
far as though he goes about looking for systems scanning telephone exchanges for modems and so on I can't tell you he said I watched that film I asked for a modem for Christmas it was at that point that the word hackers which nobody really knew in society took on a new meaning hacker before had been someone
at MIT AI who was a programmer and nobody ever saw them and hacker after the war games was a kid you know with
acne who was about 15 who broke into
computers these bands of teenagers would
begin exploring these things and they would do sometimes fun things sometimes listen things you know these bulletin
board geeks were and they were a funny Bunch they were basically just punters
and if somebody took their skateboards and gave them modems it wouldn't make much difference
it was not unusual to find the system with a default login with no password even on some relatively important systems and you know is this wrong or
right it doesn't really enter your mind you're really doing it more out of curiosity I was a phone freak and a hacker it's like I love telephones so just a computer itself was too small I liked network and there was no
computer network as large as the PSTN
the public switched telephone network the first modem I got was a family friend who's like getting rid of an old
friend replied modem that was pretty much the beginning of like my road to sort of you know being a hacker into what I do now there's this big machine how do you like get inside it and take
it apart and play with it and then also
how do you use it to create mischief
eventually I was able to like finagle an
Apple cat out of my parents Apple kappa'd generate sound effects so you
could actually use it as a blue box and do all kinds of things with it that you
couldn't do with an ordinary modem that
one was life-changing because it was a very programmable modem and it could produce any tone that you wanted
including the control tones for in Bend signaling on phone networks and basically take control become an operator and just do anything that you
want it it's pretty magical when you're a kid and you suddenly realize hey I can
control the phone system growing up in San Antonio Texas there really weren't
any other hackers there the big scene in
the early 80s was primarily centered
around New York New Jersey and so that's where I ended up gravitating and that's where I ended up meeting a bunch of like-minded people there began to appear
hacker groups which were loose affiliations of kids typically that never met each other they didn't know
each other's identity or any of that they came up with an alias a handle and that's how they affiliated
on these BBS I picked Eric blood axe because I had read a really cool book about Vikings sounded cool my first
name's Eric and so Eric blood axe went
from bulletin board to bulletin board or - States now you have this knowledge
base that's forming of systems how to
use them and how to maintain access to them it was those early BBS that turned into
what we refer to as the delete BBS 13 of
us went far mr. group the world has ever seen from now on we'll be known as the legion of dome Legion of Doom was a super group of
hackers were let's say at the very top
of the game I read about the Legion of
Doom and I said like it these guys can do that I can do that and I
basically went out and became the head of the Legion of Doom it was like a popularity contest they
had this kind of overview of the inner
workings of AT&T better than maybe any one single employee I would get off on being able to listen in on a phone call prank pulling like you know you turn somebody's phone into a payphone somebody picks up the phone that was the phone to make a phone call and they get a recording hung up at the positive corner or taking a payphone and turning it into a home phone that was what would help you gain popularity if somebody
hacked you you tried to figure out a way how to hack him back it was sort of a prankster ISM now we broke into a ton of
I mean I've broke into companies that I you know you you would just be like shocked I like the level of data
that's stored there's a very very strong
ethos among hacker underground communities to keep quiet if you're calling attention to yourself through these kind of audacious hacks and guess who's gonna come knocking it was
really hard to get in trouble unless you
were just doing something really wrong or really misguided that you were drawing unnecessary attention to yourself people considered Legion tomb to be sort of at the pinnacle of the computer underground that didn't just
end at the edge of the computer bulletin boards people within the regional Bell
operating companies knew who leads to tomb was people within the FBI and the
Secret Service knew who the leads just
tomb was people and you know corporate
security for credit bureaus knew who legion of tomb was law enforcement didn't really know how to deal with it I think at the time because it was so new
there were laws going back to the 30s from telecommunications like wire fraud the wire fraud Act which could be considered most anything there was in I
think it was around 1986 the Computer
Fraud and Abuse Act which was largely untested who certainly was never tested
on anyone in the mid 80s by the late 80s and early 90s it was the thing that they were using to prosecute a lot of us but they were really just trying to make a lot of noise to show the public and the government that they were doing something about the problem it's a
threat to big business it's some kind of threat to infrastructure and this is how to stop it by kicking in doors and seizing computers you know they weren't that tech-savvy
the Secret Service in those days seemed more like they just wanted to shut it down and make everyone stop doing what they were doing so they came to my house
in a UPS truck and an assistant district
attorney rang my doorbell and said he was from UPS and he asked my dad son click forward s on the Correa's first package and let's bring in the package the back of the fan rolls up and you
know guys with sledgehammers and there were guys with guns drawn come out of
the back of this UPS van taking computers and taking notebooks they
weren't trying to put anybody in jail they were just basically trying to scare
people into stopping there was one guy I knew that thought that when the FBI came
to his parents house to arrest him they
took all these all of us computers but left all these very important computer security books that had tons of information because they didn't actually know what they were there was a kid I
think he was in Indiana he got arrested for some kind of calling card fraud they
saw he was all involved in computers they said you're a computer hacker are
you in Legion of Doom he does know but I
know some people who are and that ultimately led to me being rated
well I think you have to be - smart to
know that if you get raided by a three-letter agency and you never go to jail you must have sung like a bird our top
story at five a massive offensive by the US Secret Service against illegal computer hackers search warrants are going out here in Chicago and a dozen other cities coast to coast in an effort to stop computer fraud that is costing companies and consumers millions of dollars when law enforcement really
started making its presence known busting into people's homes and and seizing their their computers disaffected a growing number of people
that I knew there were certain
individuals who kind of thumbed their nose at the whole thing and kind of had a more daring attitude at a time when when what modesty probably would have been better course of action it was probably around that
time that I had falling out with with a particular LOD member who by de facto found himself in charge of the group trying to put together one of the leads
Adem technical journals I had was trying
to map out different packet switch
networks to identify all the computers that existed on a particular network I knew fiber optic had access to information about the internal setup of
the x.25 network used by 9x which was the New York telephone company and I was
like alright well can you give me a
breakdown of what's on the the 9x packet switch network so I can include in the directory and he said yeah yeah sure
I'll get that to you he says if I give you that you need to give me this other thing like well that's not mine to give so then later on mark calls this other
friend of ours guy named Bob he says hey
Bob Chris told me to call you and get the login for this system he didn't have it handy and I need it now because I'm trying to work on this thing and he needs something from me so if you just give me the log into this this machine
so mark got the account ended up getting that account locked out so now we lost our access that system so I found out about this later on them and I called everybody else and lead to the dome and I said we need to kick this guy out
so he hooked up with a bunch of his friends in New York and started another group called Masters of Deception LOD
was falling apart people were getting we're getting busted by by the government now a group that we had once
respected that I myself was affiliated with was going off on a strange path that we didn't really agree with mo Dee
was supposed to be just a joke playing off of LOD a little bit but evidently
there wasn't enough room for both of us on the network set of world and it erupted eventually into something called a great hacker war
where we start trying to hack each other which was a lot of fun it also caused a
lot of trouble from then on out the deal
was let's get Goggins let's get elevated rate a kawar is basically a disagreement
between guys that I knew and one of the members of LOD who let's just say we thought was engaging in some questionable behavior as far as potentially turning in other hackers wasn't really considered a war until the
media turned this into a gang war in cyberspace especially in the 80s gang
violence was common so I mean just
writing off hacker groups as just the
online version of violent gangs made it
easier for law enforcement or people to visualize so this is wrong this is bad we are experiencing a crime wave in the computer area that is just astronomical we can't keep up nobody who's working in
this field can keep up this is not victimless crime we are all victims well the media needs to have a villain and in
something involving computers and technology very easy to label somebody who is smart and a bit mischievous as
the villain because nobody's really even able to understand what it is they're doing they generate fear the problem
wasn't really ever identified it was just sort of a speech that was repeated over and over again by prosecutors and
law enforcement that there is some kind of hacker Menace it needs to be stopped by sending kids teenagers to jail
[Applause] and for you catched a man I hope we caught you seems about the same amount of people I think I was better than I thought it would be yeah you know yeah so who wouldn't want to be a part of that okay well again I'm glad that you some of you stayed and interested enough to hear us out we're doing the series in three parts because it's so big we can't compress into the old 90-minute documentary format so part one is about the origin story of computer hacking several concurrent trends were evolving to create the conditions that led to the personal computer in the section we made the first generation of phone phreaks the corporation's have created the personal computer and the first hackers emerge from MIT and Stanford the government developed his ARPANET all these unique conditions are just right to develop the personal computer John no I'm for those of us who were born after 1990 Dave can you explain what phone phreaking is yeah talked about a little bit in the clip we showed the the the phone network was the you know largest vast wide-ranging network in the world and you know back then I try to tell this to my kids now you know phones didn't have cameras or apps or touchscreens and you know Ma Bell was a cheap mother but you could pick up your phone you could make a couple of tones and be connected to anyone anywhere in the world make somebody's a bell ring in somebody's house at 3:00 in the morning on the other side of the world and the hacker spirit was there and knew there was a lot going on beneath the surface and the trick was finding out about it and there you know there wasn't Google and there weren't BBS is that you could log on to but there were technical journals and internal manuals and reverse engineering that the early groups of you know freaks learned to you know figure out this network from the inside out and you know part of the beauty of a lot of these early networks his security was an afterthought it was there at all and it was kind of uncharted territory back then and I remember an old phone freak friend of mine told me and this is back when I was a little little kid that used to be able to call in to they've discovered you call into the White House and you get the switchboard operator and you politely get them to get off the phone with you and you just sit there and you're on in like an empty line there's no sound at all and then a minute later you hear a click and the next inbound call coming into the president is connected to you so as many of you know hacking meant something different at first and why this is very obvious to Def Con attendees is how broadly known and I mentioned the great many books on the origins of computer phone hacking or there's a prankster ism that that wasn't yet malicious but aside from freaking there's a moment where big university computers are being installed in in universities as I mentioned earlier much with the hacking movement can be traced back to 1960s MIT and Stanford AI lab this the grad students in electrical engineering became interested in these machines which a the time share in the hack to test the boundaries which is where we get the term from they never would have predicted all the things you were doing know much like the title reverse engineering suggests we kind of have to work backwards as filmmakers so we're always asking who came before them and who came before them right the the lore of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak creating apples a story we all know but the culture that they emerge is far undervalued in weather is for our purposes but or interesting exploring so it's part two is about the personal computer in the individual like the last section several concurrent trends merge at the same time electrical engineering students get jobs at places like Intel Xerox PARC IBM Gila Packard the homebrew Computer Club and the people's computer company startup and computer hobbyists get together after hours to exchange information freaker's to become interested there's a race to invent the personal computer this is well known Bay Area's rock culture psychedelic drugs self-help gurus and hippie scenes emerge with the NASA Silicon Valley the third
part of the series where you saw an excerpt from the you know we were thinking of as you know the war games and post war games generation and I mean who thought at the time that this film would come out that would kind of motivate you know a whole generation of teens and preteens to get into computers and go outfit their computers with modems right and part through the concentrate and the kids grew up with the modem and how that changed the world as you saw in the clip personal computers make their way into the market and popular culture modems opened up the early web in creating a population explosion teen hacker cultures emerge government closes in law and arrests result and the internet goes mainstream so Dave yeah can you tell us a story from when you were a little boy sure when I was a teenager exploring other
people's computer networks it was a simpler time I remember my dad used to regale me with stories about when he was a kid they would go to the movies with 12 cents and they'd be able to take a trolley to the movies and have something to eat and go back home again and he also used to tell me like 1200 baud is the fastest you're ever going to get data to travel over a twisted copper pair and it was simpler times than times change and you know but back in the 80s you would find you know systems that were wide open with default passwords or no passwords at all with documented source code and come pilers on board and and you know we would backdoor these systems so even if we were discovered you know by that point you know it was you know the point was move one of my favorite things we used to do is make it that if you type p floyd at the login prompt you'd be dropped down to a root shell and you know if things got backed up and you know passed on to the you know the upgrades of the the systems as they went on and you know and you know one of the
things that's important to really keep in mind is you know a sense of history and how you know you know things like plastic whistles and punch cards will you know give way to you know teens the positive source code on open source you know github repositories and landing these push jobs at Google and Amazon by the time they're peach fuzz is turning it to neckbeard and how each you know iteration of of hackers gives into the next generation until you know we wind up here today at Def Con 26 right we're almost done before we open the floor to questions I'd like to make some few points that we recognize it's an international story and because it's a medium with time space limitations we have to limit it to American hacking from the late 50s to the early 90s before becomes mainstream so it's pretty well covered by other people after a certain timeframe and we haven't quite defined where to land it the what was happening in the early 90s with kevin Mitnick story seemed to they're good places any but we're interested in maybe figuring out what really is the end of the first generation of it and it's a nonlinear story so maybe you can help us figure out where the line is so thanks for your time and thanks for thank you for staying yeah I mean just a if you know we need help and you know insight is important which is why we wanted to kind of bring this out to the hacker community now you know we're still what we're still in the process of taping interviews you know we need help finding the kind of buried stories that you know shape the shape the world that have been forgotten and also finally you know the old-timers before they become buried people and kind of find the you know the anonymous people who wouldn't give an interview ten years ago and you know the unsung heroes and even like the you know telco security dudes and prosecutors and and feds that were around in that time period who help kind of shape the the perception and shape the the community so before we take questions I just want to thank everyone for coming we've got stickers on the table outside everybody grab a sticker on your way out most importantly I need to I need to clarify this presentation okay although we are still looking for investment partners we are looking for investment partners this presentation was not about that okay that's not what this presentation was for that's what the bar is for okay so we're gonna be here all weekend please come find us so uh we'll also be a snack it's Maximus snack we saw this the snack is Maximus so we're gonna we're gonna hit that too so at one and the Wonder will party either karaoke does karaoke tonight will be at that we will now open the floor to questions oh great and there's no questions you sir glasses well really anybody we want to we want to put this into plain language that anybody can understand um Mike and I are lay people we are not right is that the word yeah yeah we're we don't we don't we went to a couple of other talks to see what they're like and the whole time we're like Dave what the are they talking about what is what what is this about oh okay there was a guy that was a kid in here before I just thought he was like wrestling with his pen he kept like going like this with his pen and I had no I just I didn't know what I had no idea what his thing was about so so it's we're gonna try to put it into plain language that anybody can understand because it's fascinating them yes I mean from a cultural standpoint it's aside from the tech aspect of it it's as a cultural phenomena change the way we live our lives anybody else you sir also glasses and beard well we were talking about this earlier basically we've done about 19 or 20 20 some-odd interviews but we've got about a hundred interviews we want to do we said a lot of people who've come out and said they want to be interviewed and so there's other people were seeking out and there's other people that are have approached us so it's just people we're starting to find out about what we're doing it's difficult with the whole multi-generational layer to it and like finding people that were active in this stuff in the in the mid sixties you know puts them in there you know some of them in their 80s now oh yeah we got to get the dead people you know it's like we got it actually we got to dig up dead people to defend them okay you you saw over there hell yeah we are yep yep yes yes do you know him we could get it I know something in there oh yeah I don't think that's how hard yeah but yes that's you in the you in the center you saw your hand go up Oh reverse engineering this one yeah
reverse engineering it's boom-boom who else uh who anybody else got a question anybody guys suggestion what didn't you like was not good about it oh wait you didn't we like criticism oh you also glasses back to you oh hell yeah this that I mean the the thing which is difficult about playing such a small each each of the parts that we talked about is gonna be a you know if we're doing it is feature-length it's gonna be running approximately an hour to an hour and a half and go in you know kind of drill down with that detail on but that errors and the different things and what we showed is not to be construed as a picture of what there was it's just like it's a scene from a section not a the entire section per se we which is why we want to do in three parts because it's massive story I mean it's not as simple as like like we were talking with the old documentary format which was 90 minutes like the The Hustler movie that him and I did when that came out we were only able to get a
major distributor because it was 90 minutes because it was the the package and that was like four years ago now it's changed like everything is everything series now yeah I'm a better streaming services and you know what's a series looking you know talking you know HBO and Netflix and things along those lines it allows for like longer form documentary series to allow you to to cover the big picture you stretch out so that was a compliment any more compliments yeah thank you thank you oh you sir in the blue shirt the clip is we're still making it yeah this I want to talk to you talk I know about you the the the sample sin that we showed is on our website and there's also a short sales real it's like a you know two-minute sizzle and we'll take we'll take I hate but there's a short sizzle reel and as well as the sample scene uh find us at the bar well know him already that's our man wait that's them oh yeah that's Steve that was good what up Steve thank you so I so how do we reconcile what the the sort of modern well no it turned out somewhat dystopian right it started out with all this utopian promise especially you look at the stuff from the 60s at the dawn of the you know we're like the psychedelic Bay Area and it all kind of comes together under this utopian shell it did change everything it may not be the way we that the computer culture had wanted it to be I think some of the yu yutopia is a kind of a carrot on a stick it's like always as new technologies emerged it's always like oh but you know you know networking is gonna save us and the Internet of Things is gonna save us and and it's it's always something to strive for and some of it is still quite utopian so I mean you know it's not all terrible it's not it's terrible you know an election acumen I thought oh yeah we got three yeah all right you first we'd love to yes their partner finding the money for the original part you know but yeah we'd love to I mean I'd love to do I'd love to do twelve parts you know we're super ambitious yeah there's no true there's no shortage of sort of source material the I mean part of the thing kind of and the filmmaking standpoint is like we want to have as much first first hand in first party account as we possibly kind of you know first person interviews and with the time frame that's going on we're on the the the far end of the curve now and we need to do like we have John Perry Barlow and we sat down with him for four and a half hours that's not possible today and it's a shame because it would be nice to go back to him after we talked to other people and said well you know some of these other people said this and you what else can you say about this to be in a different part and it's not possible anymore so you know it's especially when you're documenting the past its that has to be given priority because it's fleeting unfortunately one more point on this is the last documentary I made with him that the the one on hustler magazine there's five people in it who were dead you know which is which you know the clock is always running one of them who went to the electric chair well lethal injection I don't know a guy from boat we you have we've had mohawk on yeah did you win I think we're having given the time signal no oh sorry it's like one minute oh it Mohawk I your last question what did I think at the time it was it was pretty funny I mean it was it was right after this Esquire article about hackers had come out and Michelle Pfeiffer around the cover of the issue and and I mean it was Raphael who wrote the screenplay came to a lot of the 2600 meetings and knew a lot of kind of local New York people and tried to bring them in either personality wise or handle wise and then the whole thing got Hollywood 'add and and remember Sally or of British directing of American events
on top - it was fun I mean I enjoyed it you know I like filmmaking so I enjoyed on that level but I mean it's it's it's storytelling and it's it's fictional I expect you all to dress like that can we take anymore are we okay can we take one more we good that's um okay all right thank you so much gone 26 thank you [Applause]