This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

Hackers Create Global Hell
Sep 01 1999 12:00 AM PDT

Why did the Washington Post runs a hacker story on page 1, almost four months after the fact? In the case of Roberto Suro's story on the hacker group that calls itself Global Hell, because it's a chance to show just how hard it can be to catch and convict computer break-in artists.

On May 9, Global Hell had defaced the front page of the White House Web site with rude messages and bragging. Within weeks, the FBI launched raids in nearly a dozen cities, but made no arrests. One of the raids targeted 19-year-old Chad Davis in Green Bay, Wisc., whom FBI informants had fingered as a founder and leader of Global Hell. Three weeks later someone replaced the home page of the Army's Web site with a defiant message from Global Hell. The intruder took steps to cover his tracks at the Army site, but a backup auditing system pinpointed the attack as originating at an ISP in Green Bay. As it happens, someone had been using Chad Davis' phone line for four hours on the night of the attack.

Suro's story quoted a senior federal investigator explaining why it can be so hard to track and trap teenagers who use the Internet for mischief: "It is not that these are super whiz kids," he told the Post. "It is the technology that gives them the ability to cover their tracks."

The Hackers Who Won't Quit By Roberto Suro
Washington Post