South Hills Amateur Radio Club, Inc.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
KS3R / N3WX / W3PIT
www.sharc.org
www.sharc.net

SHARC Founding Vice-President
Ron Lentz - N3WX
1960-2002
 
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SHARC & ISP Catch Ham Radio Hacker
Pittsburgh SATERN Ham Gets Caught in the Act!


Thanks to cooperation between SHARC and a major Internet Service Provider (ISP), a local Pittsburgh Amateur Radio operator was reprimanded by his Internet Service Provider for violating the provider's terms of service (TOS).

The identified ham was caught making anonymous & obscene guestbook entries into the club guestbook of ''South Hills Amateur Radio Club, Inc.'' (SHARC), an Amateur Radio Club located in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. The ham was also responsible for attempting to hack into SHARC's web site, by trying to access the account of one of SHARC's officers (Corky Bennett - N3MJP), who the hacker had apparently graduated with from high school.

Len Gordon, TOS/Abuse Investigator for Mindspring.com reported ''We have warned our user about their abuse of the Internet and do not expect any more problems from this account. If you receive any other messages of this nature from this account please let us know and stronger action will be taken, up to full termination of services''

The identified ham was apparently unaware that his IP address was captured while he was committing the offenses. MCI WorldCom Advanced Networks representative, Dennis McGough (Network Operations Center - Atlanta), successfully tracked the culprit down, by using the captured IP address along with the recorded dates & times of each offense.

Checking further into MCI's records, it was confirmed that the identified ham's visits to the club's web site matched the recorded dates and times of the offenses.

User is MS589241@MS:
User Login Date/Time: 2/28/99 11:57:24 PM
Incident Date/Time: 3/1/99 12:45:00 AM
User Logoff Date/Time: 3/1/99 1:36:07 AM
User IP address: 207.205.218.101

The following data was captured on the identified hacker when he tried to hack into the club's member's only area:

Date/Time: 990301 00:45:06 IP: 207.205.218.101 User: corky Passwd: n3mjp
Date/Time: 990301 00:47:30 IP: 207.205.218.101 User: Corky Passwd: N3MJP
Date/Time: 990301 00:49:19 IP: 207.205.218.101 User: CorkyBennet Passwd: n3mjp

The following are a sample of several of the guestbook entries made by the ham:

---------------------------------------------------------
What a bunch of assholes
General Amateur Radio Comunity blackeyetoallhams@usuck.com
here, OR USSR - Friday, January 01, 1999 at 00:29:04 (EST)
207.205.218.41 - [01/01/99 00:29:04 EST]
---------------------------------------------------------

Stealing an amateur radio clubs good name is just plain ignorent and wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The World originalsharc@sharc.com
here, NO USA - Friday, January 01, 1999 at 00:31:38 (EST)
207.205.218.41 - [01/01/99 00:31:38 EST
---------------------------------------------------------

The indentified ham radio operator is a Communications Officer and Webmaster for the Western Pennsylvania chapter of ''SATERN'' which stands for ''Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network'' and at one time was an EMT. He is also a member and Webmaster for a VHF Ham Radio club in the Greater Pittsburgh area. At the time of the above offenses, he was a member of Wireless Association of South Hills (WASH RADIO ARC). Since the incident, the identified ham no longer has an account with Mindspring.com and now uses Verizon.net. All gathered information was forwarded to the ARRL in Newington, CT. During the same time, several of SHARC's repeater control operators reported that someone was intentionally keying up the club's 2 meter repeater (145.130 MHz) and holding down the key for several seconds and at times playing pager tones and rebroadcasting dispatcher communications through the repeater. Such actions are strictly prohibited according to FCC rules and regulations.

*** Update: Hacker's comments in email further implicates guilt ***

An email recently forwarded to us on 11/08/01 from a fellow ham has further implicated the hacker. For security reasons, the identity of the forwarder has been witheld, however, the actual email message has not been edited in any way and is as follows:

---------------------------------------------------------
Original Message From: ''Eric Hegerle -N3VOC''
Subject: Re: Looking for a ham club Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 20:48:16 -0500

''On the GOOD side. If you are interested in radio's and computers, and just general talking: The Greater Pittsburgh VHF Society has an extensive repeater System of 2m, 440,220, 6meters, and 10meter repeaters, commonly linked together. They are also the Home for the Salvation Army's SATERN Team. Website: http://engrng4.fsheng.pitt.edu/gpvhfs/''

''A more social club in the S.Hills area is The Wireless Association of South Hills. 145.955. This is a nice, good hearted group that is both active on the repeater, as well as very sociable (parties, picnics, contesting, etc) Website: http://www.washarc.org/''

''Well, I really don't generally like to say anything particularly negative about a club, however because of the extreme circumstances of this incident, I will say to avoid SHARC the 145.130 repeater in Bridgeville, PA. This group broke off from another club and behind the club officer's and member's back, went and registers the club name, artwork, etc as trademarks and threatened to sue the Original SHARC club if they used it. They also attempted to illegally take the club callsign, almost costing their president his amateur license plus fines for falsifying FCC applications. If you go to http://www.arrl.org/news/enforcement_logs/2000/0110.html you can see the article's and warning letters sent out by scrolling down to ''PITTSBURGH, PA: The FCC has settled a call sign tug-of-war in Pennsylvania...''. As I said I do not like to talk bad about any club, but this gave a black eye to ham clubs everywhere.''

''I hope this will help you out! Eric Hegerle - N3VOC n3voc@verizon.net''
----------------------------------------------------------

The individual in the above email specifically uses the words ''Original SHARC'' and ''Black eye to all hams'' which were also used in the anonymous and offensive guestbook entries. This further implicates the individual's guilt in the above offenses. However many of the facts that the individual states is clearly in error.

1. In the individual's guestbook entry and subsequent email, the individual claims we ''stole'' the club's name. The actual legal fact is that the name ''South Hills Amateur Radio Club'' and all associated logo's were notarized by the designer/club co-founder in September of 1993, several years before the above individual had ever joined the organiziation.

2. There has never been any threat issued by SHARC or any SHARC member to sue any other member or entity. The actual fact is, that it was ''their'' club president who issued an editorial in 1998 that mentioned they were considering suing us. After consulting with an attorney, they realized they didn't have any legal standing.

3. There was never any statement or document originating from the FCC accusing anyone from SHARC of committing any illegal act. This was a call sign dispute and not a rules infraction. In fact, the FCC ultimately returned the club's (1st) original & historic call sign ''KB3BRF'' back to SHARC.

4. The President of SHARC ''KA3EBX'' never received any notifications from the FCC, nor was he ever threatened with fines or the possibility of losing his licence. He is not mentioned in any FCC correspondance whatsoever.

After being notified that the above individual attempted to hack into his online account, SHARC officer, Corky Bennett contacted Len Gordon of Mindspring to discuss the matter further in detail.

''This individual's behavior is typical as to why he and his fellow associates are no longer members of SHARC'', said one SHARC official. ''How sad that someone involved in public service would resort to such childish and cowardly tactics''. ''It really casts a dark shadow on ''respectable'' people who work in these types of services. I think a public apology and resignation is in order here''.

Additional Related Information:

[ Local Pittsburgh Club Attempts to Smear South Hills ARC ]

[ Former Club Newsletter Editor & Club President Gets Busted! ]

[ WASH ARC Obituary Correction - Unauthorized Obituary of N3WX by the Wireless Association of South Hills ]

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