[RC5] Mersienne crack busted...

Richard Byer root at bushing.plastic.crosslink.net
Tue Sep 15 21:22:04 EDT 1998

Robert Hettinga wrote:
> Somebody evidently installed the Mersienne(sp?) prime search client on
> 2000+ AT&T machines.
> The local talk station news has a report that they have just been
> apprehended and will be prosecuted for it.
> Interesting times, indeed...

This was just mentioned on the Mersenne mailing list.

Please note that this is somewhat different than the accused's own
report of the situation, which can be found at


Hacker accused of using US West computers for math

DENVER (AP) -- A 28-year-old computer expert is accused of hacking into
the U
S West computer system and diverting more than 2,500 machines that
should have
been helping answer phones to his effort to solve a 350-year-old math
according to documents filed in a federal court.

Aaron Blosser also allegedly obtained the passwords to 15,000 U S West
workstations and sent much of the coded material he found in them onto
Internet, according to an FBI search warrant served at his Lakewood,
home last Wednesday.

The warrant says Blosser, a contract computer consultant who worked for
vendor that was hired by Denver-based U S West, is under investigation
computer fraud.

In a telephone interview with The Denver Post, Blosser said he has not
charged with any crime and said he made no money from his unauthorized
use of
U S West computers. He also failed in his mathematical quest: the search
for a
new prime number.

``I've worked on this (math) problem for a long time,'' said Blosser.
``When I
started working at U S West, all that computational power was just too
tempting for me.''

Blosser enlisted 2,585 computers to work at various times during the day
night and quickly ran up 10.63 years of computer processing time in his
for a new prime number.

U S West spokesman David Beigie called the hacking ``unprecedented'' in
company history. ``It would be virtually impossible to do it from the
outside,'' he said.

Blosser's alleged hacking was discovered when computers at U S West's
in Phoenix, which normally respond in 3 to 5 seconds, took as long as
minutes to retrieve telephone numbers.

The computers were so slow in mid-May that customer calls had to be
to other states, and at one point the delays threatened to close down
Phoenix Service Delivery Center.

On May 27, U S West's Intrusion Response Team found a software program
on the
system that ``captured U S West computers to work on a project unrelated
to U
S West Services,'' according to the search warrant.

The anti-hacking team traced the software to a terminal at the company's
Littleton offices, where they found Blosser, a self-described ``math

Blosser allegedly showed agents how he remotely installed software on
computers throughout the U S West system and reprogrammed them to search
for a
new prime number.

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