[ISN] Tunnel rat, global hacker, or white supremacist?

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Wed Dec 21 2005 - 23:04:18 PST


Sydney Morning Herald
22 December 2005  

SYDNEY: Police know him as Andrew Sanders, supposed white supremacist.  
His neighbours know him as a quiet 25-year-old who cannot leave home
without his mum. And computer nerds know him as Valiant, international
cyber hacker.

Years before the Cronulla riots prompted police to allege a link with
white supremacists and raid his home, Sanders was the head of a
hacking organisation called Halcon, which claimed to be the nation's
most popular.

Valiant, named after a Dungeons and Dragons character, was well known
in the cyber world. He claimed to have developed something "remarkably
similar to the New Love computer virus" and was selling copies of the
notorious The Anarchist Cookbook autographed by Valiant.

But Sanders became more famous than Valiant in 1999 when an
organisation he was said to be linked with, the Australian Underground
and Empire Loyalist Movement, claimed to have sabotaged the Australian
Republican Movement's office.

The republicans received a threatening fax from the group. Soon after,
their phones and email broke down.

Sanders, quoted as the founder of the empire group, denied any
involvement: "We are against the republic and I will uphold freedom of
speech to the day I die, but we would never go that far," he told the
Sydney Morning Herald in 1999.

However, Valiant boasted to Wired magazine that he "took out" the
republican groups' telecommunications.

The Valiant interviewed by the Australian newsletter QuadCon sounds
like a computer nut who "lives to programme" and loves to find ways to
hack into systems, then alert their administrators so they can plug
the hole.

But things in the hacking world turned nasty. A rival group said his
New Love claims were hollow and "attacked" his house to teach him a
lesson, plastering his front door and car with stickers bearing their
logo, the SMH reported in 2001.

By early 2001, Halcon folded. Sanders blamed another hacking
organisation for its demise, which he described as "the rich kids of
the local hacking scene", and said the Australian scene was falling

These days Sanders lives with his mother, Clara, and girlfriend at a
modest home in Willmot. He is an avid "urban explorer", and
investigates the tunnels and sewers of Sydney - a so-called tunnel

Police arrested him and four others in Ramsgate on Sunday, accusing
him of being linked to white supremacist groups. Officers raided his
house on Monday and said they found a haul of weapons and suspicious

He is charged with possessing an unlicensed firearm, a prohibited
weapon and an item used for disguising a face.

His lawyer said much of it was related to "urban caving" and there was
a dispute over the gun licence with the Firearms Registry.

Sanders is stuck at home unless escorted by his mother, as part of the
bail conditions set by the court.

On the tunnelrats.org.au website, Sanders still calls himself Val.  
When asked to list his occupation, he said: "Troglodyte".

His tunnel rat friends support him. Yesterday on the website, "Freak"  
- also known as Robert Roach - posted a message on the site's
guestbook: "He is not a racist, nazi or a supremacist. I am his best
mate and as ive [sic] told the media already i am Half leb half

Sanders's lawyer, Phillip Gibson, said: "Mr Sanders's association with
any organisation in the past is irrelevant to the matters currently
before the court."

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