Feeds

Woz blesses Captain Crunch's new box

Legendary phone phreak debuts anti-hacker kit

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

3 Big data security analytics techniques

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 conversation. "'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 CrunchBox.

The online demo is available at the ShopIP com. and Crunch's own website, which collects many stories about his life and deeds, is here. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.