From Outlaw to Consultant

    Date29 Jan 2001
    CategoryHacks/Cracks
    3400
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    ... there may be no tale so poignant as that of John T. Draper, the mythical "phone phreak" who became a national figure in 1971 after being one of the first to discover that a toy whistle in the Cap'n Crunch . . . ... there may be no tale so poignant as that of John T. Draper, the mythical "phone phreak" who became a national figure in 1971 after being one of the first to discover that a toy whistle in the Cap'n Crunch cereal box could trick the telephone network into giving free telephone calls.

    Widely known as Captain Crunch, Mr. Draper has had a remarkable career since then. He was arrested and sent to prison for his telephone exploits several times and graduated from phones to computers.

    He did the early design from a jail cell for EasyWriter, the word processing program that came with the first I.B.M. PC in 1981.

    In the intervening decades he was for a while a millionaire who owned a house in Hawaii. But he has also lost jobs and been homeless more than once. He hacked into computer networks, using some of the same skills he honed on the telephone system. His back was permanently injured in a prison beating in Pennsylvania. He was robbed on a Texas highway where he lost a notebook computer containing the only copy of his autobiography. For years he wandered the world working where he could as a high-tech hobo - including the Goa coast in India, where in 1999 he spent six months coding Web sites for an Indian entrepreneur.

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