King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Monday, January 10

First and foremost...

... can I be the last to wish you a happy new year, and the first to wish you happy halloween.

Teachers should never lower their guard

Its 1980-something, and a teenage adolescent by the name of Rikaitch was feeling mischievous. The school computer lessons mostly consisted of word processing, and really were quite drab. It didn’t help with the fact that every other school in the area had the popular BBCs and we had to make do with Link 480zs . A small group of us were 'in' with the computer teacher, because we would get to school early, and help her to set up the computers each day. For security reasons the computers were locked away in a cupboard each night, and apparently this cupboard was impenetrable and could withstand attack from local burglars, teenage residents, or even special military forces. Anyway, the room was left unlocked during the day, and it became a game to see who could get onto the server PC for the longest, and do the most subtle alterations. One day Mrs Coleman, the computer teacher (a most interesting and unlikely computer teacher, more then likely just taken the post even though she really was a maths teacher) was away probably selling technical secrets to the Russians. We took the chance and told the cover teacher that we always work on the computer in the room. He looked doubtful, but when we showed him work we had already done he was so impressed he agreed.

So, there it is. 3 mildly pubescent aggravators sat for the next 2 hours at the control centre of each and every computer in the school. Oh yes, the power, I could feel the power. Mmmmmm, what could we do? Well first was to lower the security just enough on the main computers to allow us access again in the future. This was rattled off in a couple of minutes. We needed to do more, but being uncreative 13 year olds we thought we would go looking for inspiration. Some level of security was in place, but we found that this could be disabled by just going around the password program. Eventually we found access to a Commodore Pet.

“Strange,” said one of my counterparts, “I didn’t know the school has any Pets.”

“Oh they don’t really, only the one in the head’s office,” said the other accomplice.

“Gumpf,” I said.

Closer examination showed it was said computer. I typed quickly, the chance of being caught now red handed would be fatal. One of the guys told a weedy member of the class to keep a look out for us, or face a dead leg. Not a lot could be found, but one large file was too tempting. Just to stop us losing such bounty, we copied it to the main server and set about looking into it.

“Bloody Hell!!!” cried one person.

“Flippin’ ‘eck” cried the other.

“Gumpf”, I said, again.

It was only the teacher’s personal details. Full names, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, inside leg measurements. You get the picture. We’d struck hacker’s gold. How could we possibly print out the list though, with the teacher’s desk next to the printer? We decided we could do better then that. We modified the file so that it would work in the main school database program used by each and every year to learn how to make and query a database. The seed was sown, and it was only a matter of time…

3 weeks passed, and a fellow pupil appeared in registration one morning with a large computer printout. His older brother had come across it, and printed out the entire list. They took the list home, photocopied it (good on them!) and came back in to distribute the list to anyone that cared, for a small fee of course. By break time they’d sold out, and we were getting a tad nervous and hot around the collar. By lunchtime the great “Chester” (the head) had beckoned me... me?!?! Only me. I had to plead my innocence, but apparently because of my knowledge, the computer teacher was the only one who thought I had the ability to do such a thing.

The fact of the matter was she was right. I knew one thing though…

They could prove nothing.