Adriel Desautels was suddenly in a serious mess, and it was entirely his fault.
Sitting in his college dorm room back in the mid-1990s, Desautels let his curiosity run rampant. He had a hunch that his school’s network was woefully insecure, so he took it upon himself to test it and find out.
“My thoughts at the time were, ‘Hey, it’s university. I’m here to learn. How much harm can there really be in doing it?’” Desautels says in a recent phone call, the hint of a tremor in his voice.
It wasn’t long before he found himself in a dull faculty conference room, university officials hammering him with questions as a pair of ominous-looking men—Desautels says he still doesn’t know who they were, but it’s hard not to assume they had badges in their pockets—stood quietly listening on the sidelines.
Penetrating the school’s network proved simple, he says, and thanks to Desautels’ affable arrogance, talking his way out of trouble was easier still. Forensically speaking, he argued to the school officials, there was no way to prove he did it. It could’ve just as easily been another student, at another computer, in a dorm room that wasn’t his. And he was right; they couldn’t prove shit, Desautels recalls. One of the mystery men smiled knowingly.
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