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[ISN] Interview with Space Rogue
From: mea culpa (jerichoDIMENSIONAL.COM)
Date: Mon Feb 07 2000 - 16:53:00 CST
Adam L. Penenberg
I first met Space Rogue, founder of Hacker News Network (HNN), at Defcon,
the annual hacker/undercover agent convention held in Las Vegas. Sipping
beer and sweating from the Nevada heat, we sat next to each other at a
seminar on social engineering--how to trick people into passing you
Afraid of potential legal ramifications, Defcon organizers had banned
media from the event, but unlike Space Rogue, I wasn't sporting press
credentials; I figured that would be like putting a big "kick me" sign on
my butt. While a geek on stage tried to dupe a Microsoft tech support
operator, a Wired News reporter was ejected from the hall. Then the
bouncer turned on us.
"You have to leave," he commanded Space Rogue, fingering his press pass.
"You," he said, pointing at me, "can stay."
"But I'm Space Rogue," said Space Rogue, turning his badge around to show
the HNN sticker he had applied to the back.
"From Hacker News? Sorry, man, you're cool," said the guard.
Everyone in the hacking and computer security world knows Space Rogue. In
1998, while a member of the L0pht Heavy Industries, a hacker think tank
based in Boston, he testified before the U.S. Senate on the state of
government computer security. He is the publisher of Hacker News Network,
a resource as dear to the cyber-cognescenti as Merriam-Webster's is to
writers. Recently, Space Rogue, along with the rest of L0pht, joined
Stake, a newly formed Internet security company funded by the hot venture
capital firm Battery Ventures.
As for his real name, well, he won't tell me. But he did tell me a lot
about hobnobbing with senators, cyber-terrorists, white hats, script
kiddies and the reason Hacker News Network doesn't use the word "hacker."
Q: How did you get into hacking?
A: That's like asking someone how he learned to read. I suppose my first
'real' hacking experience was with an Osborne 1 and CPM, when I taught
myself BASIC. This was back in 1984. Or maybe it was earlier than that,
when I was a kid making homemade flashlights out of discarded batteries so
I could read at night when I was supposed to be sleeping. After the
Osborne I graduated to the Commodore 64. I remember the local computer
store sold Elephant floppies for two dollars each. Then came a Mac SE with
dual floppies and 1 megabyte of RAM for $2,000. I still have that machine
and the original box it came in.
Q: Why are the vast majority of hackers male?
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