March 6, 1986: First Computer Sting Operation

Hacker Troll

Hacker Troll

EDITOR NOTE: I received documentation that shows this event actually happened on March 5th. This will be corrected on Wikazine.com and changed for next year.

1986 –  Fremont, California police set up a BBS called “Phoenix Fortress” in order to do one thing – catch cyber criminals. Sgt. Dan Pasquale was the online contact with the handle “Revenger”. He continued to stay in contact with hundreds of of hackers and pirates in seven states through the BBS until they collected enough information to make an arrest.

Stolen credit card numbers, long distance codes, selling weapons, hacking information and more were divulged through this BBS. A lot of the arrests were misdemeanors and many arrests were made against teens – ranging from 15 to 19 years old.

Those who were convicted lost their computer equipment. The original warrants were issued on Feb 26th, so some arrests may have been made in the first few days of March.

Wikazine – Full show notes for March 6

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Jeffrey Powers @geekazine

I love tech history. I enjoy how we evolved from computers that fill a room to computers we wear on our bodies. I have put a full archive of tech history together at Wikazine. You can also talk history at Google +. I am also a podcaster and V-caster at Geekazine and a Podcast Coach at How to Record Podcasts. You can also sign up for a Helpout

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  • 1) The arrests occurred March 5th not the 6th
    2) It was called Phreakers Phortress
    3) they could of stayed longer but their cover was blown when the software they used was compromised by the software makers themselves when they used a backdoor to access the data itself.
    4) Define “Convicted” since most were eligible to plead guilty to a single charge in exchange for 6 months on probation, pay a fine and then have the last charge “vacated” by the courts. In short, most got back their computer equipment…