Teenage hacker 'wrote note on security codes'

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A TEENAGER charged with computer hacking offences believed he was justified in using other people's accounts, a court was told yesterday.

Paul Bedwith, 19, is charged in the first case of its kind in the UK of conspiracy to dishonestly obtain telecommunications, conspiracy to make unauthorised modifications to information on computers, and to gaining unauthorised access to computers.

James Richardson, for the prosecution, read from a handwritten document seized when Mr Bedwith was arrested in June 1991: 'Yes, hacking does involve the stealing of other people's ID (identifying codes) and ripping companies off,' it said.

'This is the only way that it can be done . . . British Telecom are damned stupid and charge far too much for using their networks with the result that only businesses have NUIs.' NUIs (Network User Identifiers) are access codes, equivalent to code numbers for cash cards.

'If you use someone else's NUI you rip off a company like ICI or even BT themselves,' Mr Bedwith had written.

Ian MacDonald, for the defence, said that some parts of this document had been crossed out.

The court was also told that Mr Bedwith had his own telephone which was cut off after he failed to pay the bill. He then tapped into to his mother's phone.

Records of calls from Mr Bedwith's mother's home in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, showed hundreds of attempts at dialling 0800 freephone numbers in the hope, Mr Richardson said, of finding computers.

They also showed night calls up to six hours long made to an access point for computers at the then Leeds Polytechnic.

Mr Richardson produced a data log - the computer equivalent of a phone tap - of connections made to Leeds Polytechnic. At one point, Mr Bedwith, using the name 'Wandii', was exchanging messages with another person using the name 'Pad'.

In the transcript Wandii asked: 'Have you got the ISTEL NUA handy?' (He wants the address of the ISTEL computer network in the US). Pad answers: 'Yo yup]' and gives a 12-digit number. Later, Wandii asked: 'You got access to a bank? . . . I've got access to a Lloyds bank computer.'

The court was told that this conversation took place on a computer in Germany. Mr Bedwith was said to have accessed this through the Leeds Polytechnic computer network. Other parts of the data log included access numbers and passwords for computers around Britain.

The trial continues today.

(Photograph omitted)