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Woz Expounds On His Hacking Shenanigans and Online Mischief 65

coondoggie writes "In his keynote address at a security conference today, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak admitted he has enjoyed many adventures in hacking often for the sake of pranks on friends and family, especially back in his college days and the early years of working on computers and the Internet. 'I like to play jokes,' said the Wozniak jovially as he addressed his audience of thousands of security professionals attending the ASIS Conference in Chicago. The famed inventor at Apple admitted he also had some fun with light-hearted forays into hacking computer and telecommunications networks several decades ago back in his college years and while learning about electronics and computers."
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Woz Expounds On His Hacking Shenanigans and Online Mischief

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  • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Wednesday September 25, 2013 @11:08PM (#44955925) Journal
    Kid's will be kids. Case dismissed!
  • What's with all the fluff articles lately? I read a detailed article many years ago about Woz' phone phreaking adventures an his love of jokes and pranks is well known. I'd love to read a modern article on some of the (presumably hilarious) details, but this is certainly not it. :-)

  • Who has a pic of a naked Woz in his inbox?
  • Geeks like to play pranks? Amazing!

    What'll be news next? Women like shoes? Cats like to sleep? Cowboyneal likes tentacle porn?

  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:13AM (#44956625)

    1) He did some phreaking (phone hacking, back when audible frequencies were used to control the networks).

    2) He made a TV jammer and then had friends go try out elaborate steps to "fix" the issue.

    3) He snuck into computing facilities and tested out his punch card programs in the middle of the night when they weren't in use.

    That's about it from the article. No particularly scintillating details even. Just stuff most of us have already heard.

  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:16AM (#44956643) Journal

    I wouldn't admit to hacking anything in today's USA.
    The Obama administration doesn't like people to be smarter than them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Can't you Americans have any discussion on government behavior without immediately making it a red/blue thing ?
      I have no doubt someone else will respond, pointing out how this is actually a Bush instigated problem, after which someone else undoubtedly will find a way to blame Clinton, etc,etc.
      After that someone will remind us that the problem is the system itself and that red and blue are just 2 sides of the same coin and that you should vote independent.
      By that time the thread is swamped by political shill

    • This is why we need total surveillance by the government in our society. We all know that to achieve the best results, we need that government to have perfect information and perfect law enforcement. If that's what it takes to jail menaces like Woz, then so be it, because society will be better off without any "troublemakers" around.

      Just think - if only the law breakers who started the women's rights movement, the civil rights movement and the gay rights movements had been properly surveilled then they cou

    • They'd have a hard time arresting the man for claims of nonspecific security breaches ocurring prior to the passage of the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act [wikipedia.org] and the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 [wikipedia.org].

    • The Obama administration doesn't like people to be smarter than them.

      That's a pretty low bar.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:21AM (#44956675)

    Life in prison is too god for him. Oh, wait, in those times prosecutors had not heard of the Internet yet and had not started their immoral tactics of piling charges upon charges on people like Woz. I wonder how many great talents we have already lost because they do not dare to learn these things today or are sitting in prison.

  • As computers shifted to a position of greater importance in society, the potential damage even a playful hacker could do increased. Enforcement an penalties increased correspondingly.

    A bit of online mischief has long been part of learning to be a good computer engineer, whatever the exact role. It's just that the chances of getting caught, prosecuted, jailed and/or financially ruined have increased too. The bumbling beginner, whatever their potential, won't have learned properly how to mask their identity.

    • I think it's kindof balanced out. Sure, in theory someone could do more damage now, but in practice it takes a fair bit of know-how to do damage against anything that isn't extremely poorly set up (I'm looking at you, publicly-facing SQL servers). Meanwhile, back in the day a single guy with a box that could generate the right tones could potentially control all telephone routing for an entire coast.
  • TV goofin' (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Thursday September 26, 2013 @02:57AM (#44957033) Journal

    Somewhere I read an interview of Jobs where he expanded on how he and Woz would cause interference on the dorm TV from a distance. At first they just wanted to get others to leave so that they could watch their favorite show. But then they went further.

    When students stood up to adjust the antenna, they'd make the set suddenly work, but go snowy if the student walked toward the set. Thus, the student would have to stand in one spot throughout the show to "get a good signal". They "fine tuned" the people to control where and how they stood, practically making them dance, and training them like dogs.

    Sounds like great fun. I remember those days of finicky TV signals, though, and can see how such a trick could grow.

  • There is probably a very long list of possible good entries into the list and I hope people reply here to add their own.

    This is a short list of "things that were okay/acceptable before but terrible now." (Mostly things I did as a child)

    1. Fireworks
    2. Children playing/hiking far away from home
    3. Play with guns (both toys and real... yes I knew how to use a gun from a very early age and how dangerous they are. Still here, no one was harmed.)
    4. Play with knives
    5. "Hunted small game" (meaning killed small anim