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Forwarded message from holist <holist@mail.matav.hu>

I wonder if this is also old hat to you people. If it turns out to be
another FAQ, I promise to read some.

At a conference in Budapest yesterday (held by Network Associates) I was
interpreting for a certain professor Christoph Fischer, from Karlsruhe
University. He claimed to be a premier international hacker-hunter and
described several fascinating cases, such as industrial espionage performed
by the French secret service commissioned by French companies at Boeing and
Siemens (the latter resulting in a 6 billion Deutschmark railway contract
going to a French company rather than Siemens), as well as a case of
extortion in Germany, when someone he referred to as "some crazy person"
attempted to blackmail the German government by threatening to fly model
aircraft into the turbines of commercial jet aircraft at take-off, which, as
it turned out, is indeed a feasible means of causing a major disaster. 
The professor was called in by a panicky German government, about ready to
send off the cash, to try to locate "the crazy person".

The extortionist was sending the notes via e-mail, using what the professor
referred to as "e-mail anonymiser servers" in the US. "This is not too
widely publicised", he went on to say, "but all insiders are aware that all
e-mail anonymiser services in the U.S. are operated by the FBI." He went on
to say it took them about ten minutes to discover with the help of their
American friends which account the mail was originating from. A more serious
obstacle was posed by the fact that it was an AOL account and that the
subscriber had specified a bogus credit-card number generated by widely
available software for generating feasible bogus credit-card numbers, and
installed the internet applications from one of those AOL CD-ROMs that were
published in very large numbers. They were forced to begin monitoring some
30 thousand phonelines (another very interesting fact: according to the
professor, during the so-called "4+2" negotiations just before the Berlin
wall came down, the two Germanies agreed to provide the FBI with direct
access to the backbone of the German telephone network - consequently all
German telephone calls and a high percentage of all European international
calls, so they could listen in on those without even making an effort - in
fact, he claimed, it is easier for the FBI to listen to German phonecalls
than it is for the German authorities themselves), which, in addition to
costing a horrendous amount of money, resulted in a bunch of data every day
that took them two days to process. So, Fischer said, it would have been
hopeless if the fellow had not owed the German tax authority one and a half
million Marks - the tax authority busted him (following the lines of their
own, independent investigation), took his computer, and he was busted.

Quite a few of the messages to cypherpunks seem to come from anonymous
remailers in the US.