Operation Sundevil

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Operation Sundevil was an American Secret Service crackdown on "illegal computer hacking activities" in 1990. They conducted at least 100 raids with the Chicago Task Force and the Arizona Organized Crime Racketeering Bureau.

What For?[edit]

Operation Sundevil was mostly a plan to stop credit card thieves and telephone abusers on the internets, but they also took interest in the ruination of the underground e-zine Phrack.

Phrack had published a text file they hacked from BellSouth computers, which had information about the E911 emergency response system. Unfortunately for Operation Sundevil, nobody gave a shit, as the same information was published in mail-order catalogs. This was important internets business as they did not change any of the data they published and the law was previously shaky on the area of copying data and publishing it unmodified.

This problem was compounded with the arrest and conviction of Fry Guy by the Chicago Task Force in 1989, a hacker convicted of running wire scams exploiting BellSouth's new digital switchboard system. Fry Guy's arrest busted the lid off of the loosely organized group of hackers, phreakers, script kiddies and social engineers who were going to town on BellSouth. Once the Secret Service got involved in the resultant investigations and lawsuits, things got a lot more serious.

The Cyberpunk Bust[edit]

When Operation Sundevil first began to appear in the media, a raid also occurred at the offices of RPG company Steve Jackson Games. The Media seem to think that this raid was part of Operation Sundevil, but this is untrue. The Steve Jackson Games raid was actually done by the Secret Service in a different state. The SJG raid led to Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service, which was serious fucking business. It can be argued, however, that the anti-hacker raids conducted by the government helped bring about the lawsuit.

The case put forth by the government against Steve Jackson Games was utterly ridiculous, suggesting that the instructions for one of their popular board games, GURPS Cyberpunk, were really dox for ub3r-133t hackers. One of the key members of the loose association of hackers known as the Legion of Doom had helped write the manual to GURPS Cyberpunk. The hacker - one Lloyd Blankenship, or "The Mentor" - also contributed to the previously mentioned Phrack e-zine article about BellSouth's many flaws. When the LoD went down in the aftermath of the Fry Guy incident, Steve Jackson Games was guilty by default.

The government called the GURPS manual a "handbook for computer crime" based on its glossary of commonly used hacker terms and its reference page that listed hacker manuals as recommended reading. They then proceeded to lie to Steve about when he could get his stuff back.

Steve Jackson banded together with other like minded individuals, formed a group to combat the Secret Service, and successfully sued the government. This ruling was handed down two years after the end of Operation Sundevil...by which point the public stopped caring.

Conspiracy Theory[edit]

Steve Jackson's 1989 Board Game entitled Illuminati shows this near perfect prediction of the fall of the World Trade Center...it even shows the location of the hit.

According to some, Jews were looking for an excuse to raid Steve Jackson Games, and the whole hacker crackdown was merely a front. In 1989, Steve Jackson had published his "illuminati" boardgame. It included drawings of Jews doing WTC more than ten years before they actually did it! Apparently, Jews just wanted to know his sources.

See Also[edit]


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