Script kiddies get all the press

— 5:46 PM on December 14, 1999 has a pretty cool article up that discusses the Phonemasters, a phreaking (phone hacking) group that stole thousands of calling card numbers, forwarded an FBI number to a phone sex line and sold copies of Madonna's credit report, among other things. The group was busted in 1995, and the last of the three is currently awaiting sentencing. The group was, ironically enough, nailed because they failed to look for their own names on lists of FBI phone taps that they routinely accessed.

The second part of the article makes an interesting point, which is that for all the skill these guys displayed, all the calling card numbers they stole and all the trouble they caused (my personal favorite being sending a police department number to a crapload of pagers after a cop gave one of the Phonemasters a ticket) nobody has heard much about this case.

The article theorizes that the reason is that the current media darling in terms of "hacking stories" is web defacement. Because the Phonemasters' activities had little to do with the Internet, the media isn't interested. Thus the script kiddies get the press while other groups with far more knowledge and potential to do harm (Brian Martin of points out that the Phonemasters should be admired for their restraint) are virtually unheard of. Interesting article with an interesting thesis. Definitely worth a read.

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