The Prisoner's

The Prisoner's Dilemma.

tldt arrow
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript

Too Long; Didn't Read

Harrisburg Oh Harrisburg; The plant is melting down; The people out in Harrisbug; Are getting out of town; And when this stuff gets in; You cannot get it out . — from `Harrisburg', Red Sails in the Sunset. Anthrax thought he would never get caught. But in some strange way, he also wanted to get caught. When he thought about being busted, he found himself filled with a strange emotion—impatience. Bring on the impending doom and be done with it. Or perhaps it was frustration at how inept his opponents seemed to be. They kept losing his trail and he was impatient with their incompetence. It was more fun outwitting a worthy opponent. Perhaps he didn't really want to be caught so much as tracked. Anthrax liked the idea of the police tracking him, of the system administrators pursuing him. He liked to follow the trail of their investigations through other people's mail. He especially liked being on-line, watching them trying to figure out where he was coming from. He would cleverly take control of their computers in ways they couldn't see. He watched every character they typed, every spelling error, every mistyped command, each twist and turn taken in the vain hope of catching him. He hadn't been caught back in early 1991, when it seemed everyone was after him. In fact Anthrax nearly gave up hacking and phreaking completely in that year after what he later called `The Fear of God' speech. Late at night, on a university computer system, he bumped into another hacker. It wasn't an entirely uncommon experience. Once in a while, hackers recognised another of their kind. Strange connections to strange places in the middle of the night. Inconsistencies in process names and sizes. The clues were visible for those who knew how to find them. The two hackers danced around each other, trying to determine who the other was without giving away too much information. Finally the mystery hacker asked Anthrax, `Are you a disease which affects sheep?' Anthrax typed the simple answer back. `Yes.' The other hacker revealed himself as Prime Suspect, one of theInternational Subversives. Anthrax recognised the name. He had seenPrime Suspect around on the BBSes, had read his postings. BeforeAnthrax could get started on a friendly chat, the IS hacker jumped inwith an urgent warning.

People Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
Mention Thumbnail
featured image - The Prisoner's Dilemma.
Suelette Dreyfus  HackerNoon profile picture


Suelette Dreyfus

Tech researcher, journalist, lecturer at University of Melbourne, specializes in tech's impact on whistleblowing.

Receive Stories from @suelettedreyfus

react to story with heart


. . . comments & more!