In Britain, the term Â“criminal
hackerÂ” was announced first and fueled the publicÂ’s fears about crackers in
April 1986 with the convictions of Robert Schifreen and Steven Gold. The pair
became known as the crackers of the BT Prestel Service, which was an
information-retrieval system accessible by modem
over the Âpublic-switched telephone system. The information retrieved on the BT
Prestel could be viewed by users on a PC or on a television screen. Some of the
information on it was provided free; other information pages charged a fee.
To access the system, users were given a unique
identification number, much like PIN
numbers used at automated teller machines (ATMs). This pairÂ’s crime was
cracking into the system and leaving a message for the Duke of Edinburgh on his
BT Prestel mailbox. Schifreen and Gold were charged under the Forgery and
Counterfeiting Act of 1981 and were imprisoned. By April 1988, however, their
convictions were set aside after an appeal to the House of Lords. The case of
Schifreen and Gold was instrumental in getting a bill through the British
parliament that eventually became the Computer
Misuse Act of 1990.
Computer Misuse Act of 1990; Modem; Personal Identification Number (PIN).
Schell, B.H., Dodge, J.L., with S.S. Moutsatsos. The
Hacking of America: WhoÂ’s Doing It, Why, and How. Westport, CT: Quorum