"In 1985, the internet did not exist"
U shure ?
An archive that tells the story of how the 1980s hack of Prince Philip’s mailbox led to UK anti-hacking legislation has been deposited at The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC). Robert Schifreen, the "white hat" at the centre of the 1980s controversy, compiled the archive, which details Schifreen’s two-year-long legal …
I'm still on a converted Pipex account, which I got in 1994 when I arrived in the UK. 28k modem in those days.
Unfortunately, via several buy-outs, my Pipex account is now with Talk-Talk.. Bummer.
Just loading their goddam personal home/config page is a nightmare (if you use noscript you can see why). They pretend to be busy looking up your details while they upload hundreds of trackers to your browser. And then you have to say no thanks to offers, just to try to check your own account. Hate em.
Thus, by 1985, Internet was already well established as a technology supporting a broad community of researchers and developers, and was beginning to be used by other communities for daily computer communications. Electronic mail was being used broadly across several communities, often with different systems, but interconnection between different mail systems was demonstrating the utility of broad based electronic communications between people.
The context, dear Cynical Observer, was accessing a central Prestel host in 1985. .
From Brief History of the Internet
Which happens to describe, for the year in question, the situation in the US. Apart from that, from being able to exchange mail and Usenet news and perhaps even access the odd ftp site and such, doesn't necessarily follow that it would be easier to get into the Prestel system that way instead of connecting via dialup more or less directly.
Its hardly a hacking archive, more like the story of one incident , with associated paper work , albeit an early and significant one. The guy must be clearing his loft out, but like you say , just scan the lot and put it online.
I doubt theres anything relevent researchers today could learn from 80s hacking techniques that they dont already know. Times were different , passwords were default , management were clueless , data protection meant nothing , hacking was a sport ,not a robbery like it is now.
For more fascinating stories of pre internet cyber frontier shenanigans I highly recommend 2 books:
"The Hacker Crackdown", by Bruce Sterling
"Cyberpunk - digital outlaws" (or something) by katie something and some other guy.
The latter features 3 segments of internet dark ages legends
"I doubt theres anything relevent researchers today could learn from 80s hacking techniques that they dont already know. Times were different , passwords were default , management were clueless , data protection meant nothing ,"
I'd also recommend 'The Hackers Handbook' by Hugo Cornwall (which includes a summary of this hack)
I still remember 80s Internet well!
Well.. it didn't exist anywhere like it is today, but it was still available to the general public.. primarily for email only. There were quite a few companies which had access to the Internet of this era who created email and file transfer frontend applications to use and would charge a monthly fee. CompuServe being a big one at the time.
Then there were companies who had their mainframes available to anyone who knew their phone number or could find it using a war dialer.
Security was nothing like it is today. Odd thing though, on many systems passwords given out at the time could not be changed. These passwords were often complex, but only 8-10 characters. If you could change it, you can imagine what people changed it to.
Accessing a system via frontend application you could only guess a few times. If you came in via telnet, a lot of systems let you guess forever. It really didn't take long to brute force or use dictionary attacks to gain access.
El Reg jests! I demand my yearly free keyboard - this one is no longer fit for purpose.
I realize I am preaching to the choir, but security still is not treated seriously. Until general societal standards undergo the tectonic shift to penalize those who through conscious choice or negligence inflict damage on customers or the general public, security will not be treated seriously.
Passing laws that penalize those who actually perform white hat work does not count.
I would go on but Trevor did a much better job a little under a year ago .
"the police were quite happy that I was acquitted as it demonstrated the need for a computer hacking act of some sort."
I would argue the being acquitted of a crime does not demonstrate the need for a new law, it demonstrates that you can't be proven guilty of an existing crime.
Politicians love imprecise language in laws, so I'd also argue that Computer Misuse should distinguish "malicious access" to unauthorised access. We'd be in a better situation.
Yep I was on the internet (arpanet) during the 80's and regularly connected to bulletin boards (like a website but text only and only I visitor at a time. I bought the top modem available and downloaded software at stupidly slow speed, I remember a 14K app (app!) for the Commodore 64 taking over an hour to download using a BT landline during the day, I don't remember the cost but after contacting the boards directly they agreed to send stuff to me on floppy (as long as I promised to return them, ah innocent happy days).
When I finally got an AOL (spits) account and accessed the net proper my PC was not good enough to resolve the graphics and so I spent £650 on a brand new windows 3.1 box and here I am now (that box is beside me running win XP very slowly).
Thinking back, I realise I had internet access before internet providers as such existed. I dialled in to work with a modem to retrieve email. The 3B2 at the workplace dialled regularly some node (a University I think) to deliver and fetch email. It wasn't very interactive though. But email worked fine in those early days (ca 1985).
There were certainly networks available before "the Internet" and it's often difficult to differentiate the two.
Most here think of "the Internet", lately retitled "the internet" as the descendant of the ARPA/DARPAnet which was certainly available in the 80's but only for non-commercial access. CompuServe wasn't part of that in those days, but used other networks AFAIK (as did many other services, including AOL).
circa 1980-1990, the usa was introduced to local dialup bulletin board's, often managed and run by local radio amateurs who did have enough smarts to know what they were capable of. some, very few, had actual high speed telco lines into the skeletal frame work of the national 'grid' that was indeed the internet that was used by major corporations, universities and fragments of the government. protocols were yet to be written to establish any real ability to 'surf', and actual sites were ... well pretty far and few between. even in So California (the "Epiecenter' of Al Gores invention /s) it was limited to aerospace, university and research primarily. Land lines (the wires up on the telephone poles) with actual rotary dial phones ruled the day. Then stuff just took off as the greedy providers realized the scope and scale of the profits that were to be made. Even then, the BBS smart ass users were busy subverting the subscription and payment systems, stealing what they could. (all in the name of being as economical as they claimed to be).
my father worked for the USA Bell Telephone System (now AT&T) from 1930 to retirement in the 1970s.
he took me to work with him on weekends to keep me away from the 'bad elements' in our neighborhood. in the late 1950's, he showed me the punched tape read/writers they used to communicate the various office information among each, using existing copper lines and microwave links. it was simple enough for even an 8 year old to understand. not a full blown 'net', but even then, the wizards in New Jersy were well aware of the use of widespread, standardized methods of sharing information. commercial investment required tons of money to buy and use this system, but only when CHEAP AFFORDABLE computers were here could the internet become a public reality, and an opportunity for ISP's to start gouging the entire population.
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