Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

Sorry, this story isn't very interesting, but it really stuck with me nonetheless, and I wanted to share.

Adrian had a passing romance with a friend of mine, and thus ended up traveling through the city I grew up in. This was long before Chelsea Manning, etc.

I was a super shy, rather awkward teenage girl. I suppose the teenage part has changed.. but I digress. I loved the idea of mischief, but at the same time, I was a habitual rule-follower. I get nervous walking through the retail store detectors placed at entrances.. even though I've never stolen anything in my life. I remember listening to social engineering phone pranks -- the sort where people would talk their way into being put on the store-wide intercom at Walmart. At the time, I think I really wanted to be so confident that I could do such a thing, versus the reality, which was mild anxiety over something so simple as placing a legit pizza order over the phone.

I knew who Adrian was in a peripheral sense. I was a community leader and eventual employee on AOL in years prior, and I had an interest in how to break things as an inverse of being curious how they're built.

I had a car, while my friend did not, and Adrian had traveled via transit, so I spent the day with them hopping around town. At one point, we were downtown grabbing food in one of the larger complexes -- Adrian breaks off for a second and asks a retail store employee a bunch of questions about working there, saying he was just hired at the cafe. We then ended up going into what was clearly an employee-only area -- GUYS WE AREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE HERE WHAT IF WE GET IN TROUBLE OH GOD -- we duck into a fire escape, hike up to the upper level where he picks the lock to the door with roof access, and there we are, highest point in the city. After a few minutes of me suggesting that MAYBE we go back down since this was cool BUT REALLY WE SHOULD GO, Adrian told me I'd miss the sunset if I kept worrying.

It was dumb. I'm sure I could've been arrested. But watching the sunset with the two of them from the top of that building remains one of my favorite memories. It was the first time I'd taken a step out of my shell, I suppose. Adrian was a troubled guy, and I don't forgive what he did to Manning, but I appreciated him for that moment in time.




This is a good description of the kind of hacker Adrian was. He wasn't a write finely crafted shell code to exploit a buffer overflow in an application or deep knowledge of the esoterica of how CPUs function Spectre Meltdown kind of hacker. He'd just try the knob on a door he wasn't supposed to go through and surprise it was open.


well, to be fair, he didn't plenty of that too.


Good hackers can expose the inconvenient difference between what is illegal from what is wrong without doing harm to anyone or anything. So thanks for sharing such a beautiful story, it perfectly explains the hacker mindset where mainstream media articles would fail miserably.


In honor of hackerdom I'll be a bit of a pest and say that stoners already have that lesson covered. :)

I think hackers reveal the unexamined difference between how people use something and what it does. E.g., people used copyright to give exclusivity to a particular publisher. But copyright itself doesn't "do" exclusivity. It instead gives the author the power to license the work as they see fit. So even if the license is a legal restatement of the golden rule, it is still backed by the full force of U.S. copyright law.


Nice story, the kind that makes HN worth it


I sadly can't believe anything I read on the internet and I view this with suspicion for some reason...


But that would make the story even more awesome, somehow. It's about a kid who used social engineering to conjure an alternate reality out of thin air, simultaneously leading his friends through a metaphorical forbidden door and a literal one.

This is probably how myths, if not entire religions, get started. A grain of truth wrapped in a larger web of deceit, spun by an insignificant spider who doesn't even know, herself, how far it will ultimately reach.

(That aside, the site guidelines encourage its users to presume good faith, so I'm inclined to do so unless there's some actual evidence that whichwalrus's story isn't on the level.)


Was it the awkward wording as I attempted to make it as location-detail-free as possible? ;)

(tbf, I wouldn't believe a random story on the internet from an account created that day either.. ah well.)


Why would someone spend time to make up a story like this and post it anonymously? The comment is interesting and well-written, and obviously took some effort to write. I find the specific descriptions of the author and the events to be quite convincing.


This is a fantastic story. Thank you for sharing.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: