[ISN] Woz blesses Captain Crunch's new box

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Feb 27 2002 - 23:23:05 PST

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    By Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco
    Posted: 27/02/2002 at 21:31 GMT
    John Draper, the man better known as legendary phone phreak Captain
    Crunch, is soon to debut the fruits of recent labors: a box designed
    to thwart hackers.
    Crunch played a pivotal role in the phone underground thirty years
    ago, and paid for it with two spells in the clink. Crunch got his name
    by discovering that a plastic whistle included in a popular breakfast
    cereal perfectly reproduced the 2600Hz frequency which unlocked the
    AT&T phone network. Draper was also the inspiration for the first
    micro pioneers: Apple co-founders Wozniak and Jobs sold a Blue Box
    phone from their Berkeley dorm.
    But the Crunchman, now 58, is happy to play gamekeeper. The new
    CrunchBox is a dedicated Pentium III system, running a tweaked version
    of the secure OpenBSD operating system, and it fits in a 1U rack
    shelf. It uses the popular Snort IDS, but with added custom-written
    heuristics. New exploits can be identified, and authenticated rules
    sent back to the box within half an hour, Crunch tell us. A final
    price hasn't yet been set, but Crunch says the box will offer similar
    functionality to $8,000 boxes on show at the RSA conference last week,
    for considerably less money.
    He's confident enough to put a public version of the new CrunchBox on
    line, and that confidence is justified, according to his old friend
    Steve Wozniak.
    "He's devoted his life to it for the last few years," Woz told us.
    Over lunch after CodeCon recently, Draper modestly played down his own
    involvement in the phone underground, which he said began when one
    night, when he received a random phone call from a hacker.
    "It was going on before I got involved," he told us.
    Over a meal and CodeCon, Draper recounted the story of how he and Woz
    had dialed the Vatican. It was 4am, and Woz wanted the Pope.
    Draper recalls the converation"'Is the Pope there? I'm calling from
    California, and I need to confess!'".
    Woz laughs when we tell him the anecdote. Did this reallyhappen?
    "I've heard that story so many times," he says. "and read it so many
    times. So I guess it must be!"
    But Woz credits Draper as a true technical pioneer. "He perhaps didn't
    have the skills of social engineering of someone like Kevin Mitnick,
    but he did discover a huge amount of technical information himself,
    the codes and switches," all of which undoubtedly helps secure the new
    The online demo is available here. and Crunch's own website, which
    collects many stories about his life and deeds, is here.
    [Link - http://www.webcrunchers.com/crunch/ ]
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