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Old 06-17-2021, 09:00 PM   #1
frankbell
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The Omega Corporation Computer Hack


I just watched the Forensic Files episode about the Omega Corporation computer hack that happened in the mid-1990s. It was quite interesting. You can find it on Netflix.

You can read the New York Times article about the arrest. A web search for "omega computer hack" will turn up many other articles and reports.

Last edited by frankbell; 06-17-2021 at 09:27 PM.
 
Old 06-18-2021, 09:37 AM   #2
business_kid
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It was a different time in 1995.

Google was operating out of someone's garage, Linux was just getting together, windows-3.11 (installed iirc from 61.44MB floppies) was the rage. People knew the theory of hacking, but it nearly never happened. Servers were mainly unix boxes like the PDP-11. Big ones would be some Amdahl mainframe, or even an IBM if the company was stinking rich. The Amdahls were cheaper, but they lost the tech war and went into decline in the mid nineties. My kids got into some group of weirdos calling themselves Anonymous, before I copped on and stopped it. The Anonymous lot would hang out on some irc channel for hours, modify their .bat file, and everyone would download & run the same (Dos based) .bat file simultaneously, which just pinged the chosen IP, creating a DDoS. The ram would fill up, and the box would reboot, and they'd all laugh. Not like today's Anonymous at all.
 
Old 06-18-2021, 03:52 PM   #3
Trihexagonal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
It was a different time in 1995.

Google was operating out of someone's garage, Linux was just getting together, windows-3.11 (installed iirc from 61.44MB floppies) was the rage. People knew the theory of hacking, but it nearly never happened.
Does Kevin Mitnick get wet under the "nearly never" umbrella statement?

Quote:
At age 12, Mitnick used social engineering and dumpster diving to bypass the punch card system used in the Los Angeles bus system. After he convinced a bus driver to tell him where he could buy his own ticket punch for "a school project", he was able to ride any bus in the greater LA area using unused transfer slips he found in a dumpster next to the bus company garage. Social engineering later became his primary method of obtaining information, including usernames and passwords and modem phone numbers.

Mitnick first gained unauthorized access to a computer network in 1979, at 16, when a friend gave him the phone number for the Ark, the computer system that Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) used for developing its RSTS/E operating system software. He broke into DEC's computer network and copied the company's software, a crime for which he was charged and convicted in 1988. He was sentenced to 12 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Near the end of his supervised release, Mitnick hacked into Pacific Bell voice mail computers. After a warrant was issued for his arrest, Mitnick fled, becoming a fugitive for two and a half years.
He has a pretty good book if you've never read it.
The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security
Available in .pdf fpormat.

What about my favorite breakfast cereal as a kid, inspiration of and scanning receiver emulator of the mid 1990's? Phone phreaker Captain Crunch? My roof had so many antenna it looked like a porcupine.
 
Old 06-18-2021, 04:21 PM   #4
Bonzoo
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Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
It was a different time in 1995.

Google was operating out of someone's garage, Linux was just getting together, windows-3.11 (installed iirc from 61.44MB floppies) was the rage. People knew the theory of hacking, but it nearly never happened. Servers were mainly unix boxes like the PDP-11. Big ones would be some Amdahl mainframe, or even an IBM if the company was stinking rich. The Amdahls were cheaper, but they lost the tech war and went into decline in the mid nineties. My kids got into some group of weirdos calling themselves Anonymous, before I copped on and stopped it. The Anonymous lot would hang out on some irc channel for hours, modify their .bat file, and everyone would download & run the same (Dos based) .bat file simultaneously, which just pinged the chosen IP, creating a DDoS. The ram would fill up, and the box would reboot, and they'd all laugh. Not like today's Anonymous at all.
\It was the good ole days.When certain people refused bullshit and went into another direction. This "is what it is" bought Pintos, Gremlins and Vegas...and the real idiots bought Harleys,,,cus theyza amurkinn ! Every single piece of crap back then should have been returned under a lemon law clause
https://www.debian.org/doc/manuals/p...tory/manifesto

Last edited by Bonzoo; 06-18-2021 at 04:24 PM.
 
Old 06-19-2021, 06:18 AM   #5
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It was the guys who had a clue about programming and/or hacking that were dangerous in the 1990s. And what were (by today's standards) massively sized computers (occupying full air-conditioned rooms) were very simple systems. Who would attack you over the internet? Getting on the internet was the big deal. Guys like Mitnick were mainly one offs.

The 1986 Amdahl mainframe had a 31 bit (=2G) address space, ran at 250Mhz, shipped with an (expandable) 64MB of memory, and used at least one 5V 400A power supply. But it managed on air cooling in it's own room with massive ducts. The IBM needed water cooling. They were very excited as I left Amdahl about the new model, which was in the labs and claimed 38 MIPS! It cost about IR1 million(IR1 ≅ GBP0.95). Security in unix was basic - file ownership. Zero software security.

In the early 2000s, hacking was happening all right. I did HLFS or Hardened Linux from Scratch. Many programs were open to Buffer Overflow attacks, and the buffers were poorly placed beneath the stack, allowing overflow code execution. Overflow the buffer, issue a "goto 0000" in Assembler, and you were root. HLFS plugged the loopholes. Dos/Windows was wide open with fixed I/O addressing, A20 handling, boot viruses, etc.

The kernel, gcc, glibc, & server programs all sorted themselves out in short order, implementing Stack Protection, position independent code, 'canaries' to catch buffer overflows, and many features beyond my knowledge. And so the duel of the last 20 years began - Coders vs. Hackers.
 
Old 06-19-2021, 10:09 PM   #6
Trihexagonal
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Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
It was the guys who had a clue about programming and/or hacking that were dangerous in the 1990s.
That leaves me out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
In the early 2000s, hacking was happening all right. I did HLFS or Hardened Linux from Scratch. Many programs were open to Buffer Overflow attacks, and the buffers were poorly placed beneath the stack, allowing overflow code execution. Overflow the buffer, issue a "goto 0000" in Assembler, and you were root. HLFS plugged the loopholes. Dos/Windows was wide open with fixed I/O addressing, A20 handling, boot viruses, etc.

The kernel, gcc, glibc, & server programs all sorted themselves out in short order, implementing Stack Protection, position independent code, 'canaries' to catch buffer overflows, and many features beyond my knowledge. And so the duel of the last 20 years began - Coders vs. Hackers.
That's pretty impressive. Where did you learn to use computers?
 
Old 06-20-2021, 03:15 AM   #7
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I had a business from 1989 fixing Industrial Electronic hardware which I started with nothing and started with computers asap. In those days, chip data was in databooks which would be given annually by sales rteps to local research outfits, or the like. There was no way for a small timer to get them (You required one per manufacturer). So I taught myself and scratched around online.
 
Old 06-22-2021, 11:03 AM   #8
sundialsvcs
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I'll just make the idle comment that I have never yet encountered a "hack" that was not in fact an inside job.

Consider this: "Someone walks down the street, picks a building at random, walks inside, and twenty minutes later walks out with the Crown Jewels of England – all unassisted." What are the odds of that happening? Zero. He wouldn't know which building contained the jewels, wouldn't know where to go, couldn't avoid being detected, and couldn't unlock the door. The only credible possibility is that a "highly trusted" insider did it, and then tried to blame it on a faceless "hacker" in order to cover his tracks. When investigating, start at the top and work downwards.

When the first cash registers were introduced, "trusted" clerks immediately resigned, and theft losses declined precipitously.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 06-22-2021 at 11:07 AM.
 
Old 06-22-2021, 06:24 PM   #9
boughtonp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sundialsvcs View Post
I'll just make the idle comment that I have never yet encountered a "hack" that was not in fact an inside job.
I have.

Quote:
Someone walks down the street, picks a building at random, walks inside, and twenty minutes later walks out with the Crown Jewels of England all unassisted." What are the odds of that happening? Zero. He wouldn't know which building contained the jewels, wouldn't know where to go, couldn't avoid being detected, and couldn't unlock the door.
Everyone knows precisely which building the Crown Jewels is in. They are a public exhibit. Most likely the only challenge would be being undetected - because people are looking right at them!

An easier way would be to wait until a suitable occasion, then use a drone to snatch the crown from Elizabeth Windsor's head.

(Hey GCHQ guys: I don't care about shiny stuff. If this actually happens one day, it was someone else, not me.)
 
  


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