Since it’s a four part story, here are links to the other parts.
The Prehistoric Times of Social Media (Part 1 of 4)
The Prehistoric Times of Social Media: The Sting (Part 2 of 4)
The Prehistoric Times of Social Media: Crime and Punishment (Part 4 of 4)
(I’ve decided to speed up the posting of this event. Since it’s long, I will still chop it to one more part, and will post this and the other post today. There are other things I want to discuss and I don’t like posting more than a post a day…)
This time no recap. If you’ve gotten here, I assume you read part 2.
As I was saying, I was becoming increasingly nervous that I won’t make it, so decided to pull a sting.
Note that the following took place in 1990-1991, when I was already familiar with MUDs for a while. Also note that this was prior to the creation of the World Wide Web, so the whole concept of cybercrime was pretty much in its infancy. And also, I was a minor I would not have done this today.
With that in mind, I will continue.
As I mentioned before, there were many MUDs. The vast majority of them originated from the same code. Every MUD creator took the code, made changes, and expanded on it. However, in almost all of them there were regions that were identical – these were the areas that were created in the original MUD.
Usually MUDs grew a lot like real world cities do. The first domains created by wizards would surround the original city, and every new addition was placed farther and farther away. Though some wizards used to outsmart this by doing something creative, like placing a closet in one of the original rooms which would take you to their realm if you entered it (obviously, inspired by the Narnia series).
In my MUD, one area was right next to the entrance. I was playing for more than a year at the time, and during the entire period there was no change – it was clearly abandoned. There was absolutely nothing going on there. After investigating this, I found out it was created by a wizard name Solarwind whom I knew (there was a way of checking) had not logged in for years. Since at the time virtually all internet access originated in academic institutions, my guess was that he simply graduated and moved on. In retrospect, I’m pretty sure that was the case.
Considering his vanishing and the fact his area was so close to the entrance, my theory was that Solarwind must’ve been one of the original founders of the MUD.
I decided I would try and “borrow” his account in order to help Thor reach Wizardhood – and then I would abandon it. I’m not going to say “steal” since I genuinely intended only to use it to advance my own character. Time was running out and I had to do something!
Since it was obvious Solarwind was long gone, I was certain he would not even know it, and where he was he probably wouldn’t even care. Listen, I was under a lot of pressure, I had to get this done! We’re talking addiction here.
I didn’t know how much information MUD administrators had on users, so I decided to be cautious. I had access to an American account (through a friend of my father) and I used telnet (nice to see some things haven’t changed in 2 decades – telnet is the same as it was back then) to log in to the MUD from that account.
This is a good time to mention that every MUD had a God. Meaning, the person who literally owned the MUD – set it up and maintained it. I imagine most MUD Gods were geeky, computer science students in real life. But to us… they were gods! They could do everything! They could even raise the dead – NOTHING was beyond their reach.
I guessed that Solarwind must’ve been a friend of the MUD’s God because he was one of the original founders. Yes, this was all a series of speculations, but I decided to risk it.
So one day, when the God materialized in the MUD, I logged in through my American account, and created a user by the name of “Solarwin”.
I sent the God a message “Hey buddy, long time no see! How are you?”.
[my heart was beating like crazy]
He responded: “I’m good, and yourself?”
[I couldn't believe it!]
I said: “Things are great here. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I haven’t been here for so long that I can’t remember my password anymore. Can you help me out?”
[Every second felt like hours]
He responded: “Sure, no problem”.
And before I knew it… I was Solarwind. I was an immortal force of nature, I wielded powers beyond even the mightiest of mortals. I logged in and found myself in Solarwind’s personal chamber (all wizards had one, it’s where they had guests come over. Seriously). My plan worked!
With the year’s 2010 perspective, I know that what I did was Phishing. I don’t know when this term was coined, but I probably did it way before. This was 1991.
Again, just so you won’t judge me: I was just a teen at the time, it was a victimless crime, and I intended to abandon Solarwind’s account once I’m done. And don’t they say addicts will do everything to get their next fix? I just had to do this.
Immediately I proceeded with my plan. To my great disappointment, I found out that it’s much harder to be a wizard than I realized. And worse, I could not ask anyone for help. There was no one to guide me nor were there tutorials.
A few years later I became (legitimately) a wizard in a different MUD, so in hindsight I know what I did was incredibly clumsy and awkward. I could’ve accomplished my goal so easily – but I barely knew what I was doing.
What I did was log in to both Thor (my real account) and Solarwind simultaneously – each from a different country – and have Solarwind constantly provide information to Thor on how he could defeat monsters. Even then I knew that in principle Solarwind could’ve made weapons that would kill any monster on a hit – but would be caught. He could heal Thor – but would be caught. He could bring every monster to the point of death and allow Thor to “finish it off” – but would be caught. So I did the only thing I knew is safe.
I also used Solarwind to gather intel and objects from places unreachable. I even manufactured one of the items needed for a quest – I suspected this won’t raise any red flags.
Slowly – yet much faster than before – I was approaching my goal… Thor was becoming very close to becoming a wizard. Then I could really do things the right way.
Yet I failed. I was caught.
Mail this post
Popularity: 2% [?]
Tweet This Post