05/04/2004: On the road to redemption?
The Register notes that [in]famous cracker/hacker Kevin Mitnick is back in the news. Now, he's the hero of a small town in Michigan for assisting the authorities in apprehending the perpetrator of a number of bomb threats.
Ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick is a hero to the small town of River Rouge, Michigan, after using his tech skills to help officials nab the culprit behind a harrowing series of bomb threats.Kinda nice to know anyone can make good, eh?
The trouble began a few months ago, when staff members at River Rouge High School began receiving threatening phone calls at home from an anonymous caller, police Detective Lt. John Keck says. Then, on 2 April , a caller phoned in a bomb threat to the high school during school hours - students were evacuated and the town's three patrol cars diverted to the school to conduct a thorough search. No bomb was found. Another call came in on April 5th, with similar results.
But when the detective served a search warrant on SBC Ameritech for the source of the calls, the phone company came up dry.
The dead-end led Keck to suspect that the caller was employing some hi-tech means to cover his tracks. "I didn't know if he was spoofing Caller I.D., using calling cards, a computer phone, doing it from overseas, I didn't know," says Keck. The detective began searching the Internet for technical guidance, which led him to Kevin Mitnick, who'd earlier demonstrated a technique for spoofing Caller ID on the specialty cable network TechTV.
Based on Keck's information, Mitnick quickly ruled out Caller ID spoofing, but volunteered to give the detective a crash course in telephony, telling him exactly what kind of information to request from the phone company.
Armed with Mitnick's advice, Keck went back to SBC and demanded a "terminating number search" for any calls made to the high school's lines on the dates of the bomb threats. This time, SBC tracked the calls as far as cell phone carrier Sprint PCS, and identified the specific trunks on which the calls entered the local phone network - information that Keck now knew how to interpret. The detective served a search warrant on Sprint, and on April 19th he had the suspect's name and cell phone number.
That same day, two more bomb threats came into the school, and Sprint quickly confirmed that they originated from the same cell phone, which belonged to a 15-year-old student. Within an hour, Keck was escorting the teen from woodshop. He'd apparently made the calls, unnoticed, from class. "It is kind of funny, I'll admit, but this is not the time for these kinds of games," says Keck.
Len on 05.04.04 @ 07:33 AM CST