Anarchist Cookbook

Oh my! The Anarchist Cookbook! This is one of the examples that bone-headed people always seem to cite in defense of the idea that we need to censor the Internet to save the human race. And what's in the Anarchist Cookbook? Well, lockpicking, bomb making, drug recipes, getting revenge, fraud, and more. However, I have to warn you, the real Anarchist Cookbook is copyrighted and you won't find it on the Net -- these are imitations. Warning #2: These imitations have factual errors. Warning #3: Don't try to do any of this stuff. It's only for reading.


Backward Masking

Backward masking refers to hiding messages on recorded music by inserting sounds that are meaningful when played backward. Some people feel that cunning malevolent fiends insert such messages into music in order to subliminally influence unsuspecting listeners. This idea first surfaced some years ago when fanatical Bible-thumpers were convinced that various popular rock groups were putting reversed Satanic messages in selected recordings. Since then, a number of musicians and bands have embedded such messages on purpose (for the novelty, I suppose). Here are some Web pages that offer audio snippets of actual recordings played backward. (Between us, the possibility that anyone could be affected by listening to backward sounds is about as likely as your being affected by the brain emanations of aliens from a nearby star system.)


Cellular Phone Hacking

If you want to be able to hack cellular phones (or even just talk about it to impress people at parties), you need to know the basics and then some. Here are some Web sites with a collection of information that will set you on the road to getting inside those funny little boxes that cost so much.


Disney Secrets

Disney theme parks are very controlled. Try causing even a slight amount of trouble and see how fast the security people (materializing out of nowhere) will give you the bum's rush. When you visit a Disney park, everything you see and everything the employees do is planned carefully. For instance, you are never more than 25 paces away from a garbage can. Disney management goes to a great deal of trouble to sustain the illusion of "the happiest place on Earth". People who work at Disney theme parks are called "cast members". (Repeat this often enough and even the employees think it's normal.) That is why I love to read about Disney secrets. None of these secrets is all that important. Nevertheless, they are intriguing because you just know that the pleasant folks who control the world of Disney would very much prefer that you didn't know anything about their behind-the-scenes management.



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Easter Eggs

An Easter egg is a secret feature hidden inside a computer program. Many programs have Easter eggs -- usually hidden there by the programmers -- that you can invoke if you know the secret key combinations. For example, if you use Netscape, try pressing Ctrl-Alt-F and see what happens. Want to see more? Here is a large collection of Easter eggs hidden in many different programs. However, the fun doesn't stop here. There are also Easter Eggs in other creative works, such as movies and TV shows. Two examples: In the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, when Richard Dreyfuss is looking into the crater and a large spaceship flies over, underneath the spaceship is an upside-down R2-D2 (from Star Wars). In the film Raiders of the Lost Ark, look at the scene where Indiana Jones falls into the snake pit. You'll see an image of C-3PO and R2-D2 in the hieroglyphics. (And some people say there's no God.)


FBI Secrets

The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) is the investigative branch of the U.S. Department of Justice. As such, they are the closest the United States has to federal police.

So what is their job? According to the FBI, their priorities are (in this order) to protect the U.S. from terrorists, foreign spies, technology crime, public corruption, civil rights transgressions, organized crime, major white-collar crime, and major violent crime. The final two priorities are to support other law enforcement organizations and to keep their own technology up-to-date.

Notice there is nothing in this list about being accountable to the people. As you know, the FBI investigates a great many people and organizations and, in the process, amasses a vast amount of information. But, once this information has been used, to whom does it belong? Information, after all, is power.

According to the U.S. Freedom on Information Act, all government information must be made available to the public (aside from certain well-defined exclusions). Thus, one way in which the FBI is supposed to be accountable to the people is by honoring requests for what would otherwise be secret information.

So, would you like to browse through some of the FBI's "secret files"? Do you have a desire to find out what information the FBI had about the Beatles? Frank Sinatra? General Douglas MacArthur? Mickey Mantle? the Hells Angels? Ernest Hemingway? Carl Sagan? Charles Schultz? Or, if your taste runs more to the bizarre, would you like to know what the FBI found out when they investigated "Spontaneous Human Combustion"? It's all yours, just for the asking.

By the way, I'd like to tell you about a mysterious experience I had when I was researching this topic. I had just clicked on a link that was supposed to take me to information about many of the "surreptitious entries" performed by FBI agents in the course of their work and, just as the information began to load, my browser started to go crazy. Finally, it died completely, something that rarely happens. (I was using Firefox under Windows XP.)

I then saw a mysterious message that I have never seen before or since: "The file is damaged and cannot be repaired."


Hacker/2600 Magazine

At one time, it was possible to make free long distance calls by using a homemade device called a blue box. A person using a blue box could fool the telephone switching system into making long distance calls without billing for them. The blue box worked by mimicking sounds that the phone system used for signaling, in particular, a 2600 hertz tone. This number was well-known among phone hackers, and so when it came time to choose a name for a general hackers magazine, it was called "2600". 2600 covers subjects such as phreaking, hacking, cellular phones, scanners, hardware, credit cards, and much more secret stuff than you are ever supposed to know.



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I bet you would just love to be able to get into places where you are not supposed to be. Of course, as one of my readers you are scrupulously honest with a well-developed sense of ethics. However, wouldn't it be fun to know how to pick locks, just in case you have to someday? (For example, what would happen if the Queen of England came to visit and accidentally locked herself in the pantry?) Start with these guides to lockpicking. With a little knowledge -- and a lot of practice -- you will soon be a useful, important member of society, respected by all and worshipped by every male teenager you meet.


Magic Secrets Talk and General Discussion

Want to find out how magic tricks really work? This is the Usenet group where people discuss how magicians make sure that the hand is always quicker than the eye. For example, how does David Copperfield take rings from three people in the audience (seemingly at random), link the rings together, show everyone that the rings are really linked, and then separate them so as to give the rings back to the people? (Answer: One of the rings is a fake. It has a piece cut out of it, allowing it to be linked to two other completely whole rings. Copperfield makes sure that the audience never sees the cut-out part. When he borrows the three rings, he palms one and substitutes the special one he has prepared ahead of time.)


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Pay-TV Decoders would you do if someone gave you instructions for building a pay-TV decoder from simple parts you could buy at any electronic supply store? Don't tell me, I don't want to know. I think television is bad for you.



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Want to talk about phone phreaking: telephones, exchanges, toll fraud, kodez, signaling, and so on? Walk gently into that good night and talk to the people who love to phreak. (Just don't tell Mother and Father what you're doing.)



#hackphreak (EFnet, Undernet)

Police Codes

The police use a lot of different codes when they talk to one another over the radio. If you have the right type of receiver, you can listen too. But how do you know what the codes mean? Here is the info you need to keep up on what the serve-and-protect guys are doing.


Secret Societies

It's hard to find good material on secret societies (are you surprised?), so when you read articles that talk about organizations that conspire in secret, you have to judge for yourself how much you think is true. However, if you like finding out things that you are not supposed to know, it's always fun to read something about a group of people who go to a great deal of trouble to hide their traditions and aims. Visit this Web site to read about Freemasonry, the Knights Templar, the O.T.O., the Rosicrucian Order, Thelema, and more.


Social Security Number Location Finder

Stop me if you've heard this before, but you can tell where a U.S. Social Security number (SSN) was issued by looking at the first three digits. For example, if your SSN starts with 573, it was issued in California. You can also figure out a few more things, and here are Web sites to show you how. Most of the time, a SSN number is issued in the state where the person was born, so here is a trick that never fails that you can play on people. Find an American and tell him you are going to guess the state in which he was born. Then say some magic words to distract him, and, at the same time, use ESP to find out his Social Security number. Then, rush to your computer, connect to these Web sites and find out where his SSN was issued. Then rush back and tell the person where he was born. People are so amazed. (Hint: As with all magic tricks, don't tell the audience how it was done.)


Super Secret Web Site

I have found a Web site that is so totally cool, so awesome, that I know you will be completely blown away. However, the site is a big secret and I can't print the address in this book, so you will have to discover the Web site for yourself. (I have left a space for you to write in the address once you find it.)