Old humour

A long time ago (1993), in a land far far away (Aberystwyth) I was reading Usenet (which wasn’t quite all junk) and noticing that a posting had appeared on a bunch of security groups and alt.hackers. They’d completely missed the point of alt.hackers though, and so I posted a witty reply which got spotted by someone in Canada, and hence my only published work appeared, in the newsletter of DECUS Canada.

Anyway, over lunch today we were messing about talking about who would qualify for what belt of UNIX sysadmin (I got nominated for black belt 10th dan, but I personally I think I’d just scrape a mid range belt!) and this posting came back to me.

So read on for the original, rescued thanks to Google..

Path: sparky!uunet!spool.mu.edu!agate!doc.ic.ac.uk!uknet!gdt!aber!ccs
From: ccs@aber.ac.uk (Christopher "Jd" Samuel)
Newsgroups: alt.hackers,alt.security,comp.security.misc
Subject: Re: net.views -- computer crime
Message-ID: <1992Oct6.115630.21648@aber.ac.uk>
Date: 6 Oct 92 11:56:30 GMT
References: <1992Oct02.212017.12779@utoday.com>
Sender: nntp@aber.ac.uk (USENET news service)
Organization: University of Wales - Aberystwyth - Prifysgol Cymru
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In article <1992Oct02.212017.12...@utoday.com>,
 wag...@utoday.com (Mitch Wagner) doodled:

>                 Do you consider computer crime to be 
>                 a threat to your system?

# Tell me grasshopper, what do you see notice about this posting ?

$ Master, on my travels with you around the great filesystems of the world
$ I have seen many such messages, all alike. He has obviously not yet
$ mastered the art of cross-posting, which is like origami, only different,
$ and has managed to waste much diskspace.

# Ahh, but do you notice anything deeper ?

$ Yes master, he has also managed to make his message quite ambiguous
$ by not specifying what type of Computer Crime he wants to hear about.
$ For if he were to mention that he was interested in financial frauds
$ which used computers I would be able to tell him that I did not believe
$ that my system was at threat, as it is only a humble academic system
$ not possessed of the need to imitate an IBM PC and run endless fiscal
$ simulations. However, if he were to say that he was interested in
$ cracking, then I would respond, saying that our planned connection
$ to JIPS (and hence the Internet) scares the willies out of me, even
$ though we have been at one with CERT, taken of the tcp_wrapper,
$ communed with the RFC931 daemon and passed through the test of Crack,
$ I still am aware of my own ignorance of computer security.

# Well answered my son, but I see that you were to continue..

$ I was indeed master.
$ I have also noticed his worst blunder, and one that I can only just
$ bring myself to forgive, although my karma is piled higher than a
$ European grain mountain.

# Enlighten me about this grave error that you speak off.

$ Master, I see that you feign ignorance only to teach, and hence I answer..
$ He has mistaken the sacred gathering of the non-conformist computer
$ people, known to the masses as alt.hackers, as a forum for that
$ most serious of electronic sins, cracking. He hath strayed from the
$ path to enlightenment, when to grok is everything, by the media, who
$ seem incapable of distinguishing between us.

# Grashopper, you have been many years in the training, and I grow old,
# expecting the day when I receive the SIGXCPU, and _exit this world.
# I see that you are ready.

The air resounds to the hollow tones of a great voice, orating thus:

SU my son..

# Master, I am enlightened !

# Now we must teach the people the difference between a hacker and
# a cracker.


 Christopher Samuel, c/o Computer Unit, UCW Aberystwyth, Aberystwyth, WALES
  RFC: ccs@aber.ac.uk   UUCP: *!mcsun!uknet!aber!ccs   JNT: ccs@uk.ac.aber
          Deddf Iaith Newydd i Gymru | New Language Act for Wales