πŸ’»Hackers & UFOs

This is the history of hackers looking for evidence of UFOs.

TL;DR: At least three hackers targeted US military and/or government computer systems between about 1992 and 2002 looking for evidence related to UFOs. According to them, they found it.

Table of Contents: 1992: "Quentin" 1996: Mathew "Kuji" Bevan 2002: Gary "SOLO" McKinnon Further Information 2007: Richard "neuralcowboy" Thieme BBSes & Other Archives

Earliest: "Quentin" on Dateline NBC and in Phrack

"Quentin told us he's...browsed through secret government files on UFOs, and gone snooping in our nation's military computers." - Narrator (2:15)

"The hacker is aware of the interest his apparent UFO data has provoked, but does not wish to respond." - the late Susan Adams (Dateline NBC producer)

I contacted Chris "Erik Bloodaxe" Goggans, the editor of Phrack. Here are two things he said:

  • "I know that Quentin had at least two people in the hacker scene that he considered friends and was usually working with on whatever it was he was up to. Don't know much more about them."

  • "I have no real way to track down authors of the submitted articles at this point, as I don't have the Phrack email archives from 1993."

Quentin's true identity remains unknown.

Mid-'90s: Mathew Bevan

β€œNearly started a third world war.” - Jim Christy, AFOSI

β€œPossibly the single biggest threat to world peace since Adolf Hitler.” - a Pentagon source

Technical details about Bevan's hack are discussed in this Twitter thread by @hackerfantastic. He accomplished this over a USR 14.4K dial-up modem.

Of note is that he got into a Wright-Patterson Air Force Base system that took no password and saw plans for an antigravity drive:

In getting into that there was one machine on the network where I read current files and future project proposals. I read documents which gave me the impression that they had an anti-gravity engine which was capable of at least Mach 12 to Mach 15. I don't know how exactly how fast that is but I think that is faster than most aircraft we know of today. Supposedly the aircraft which employs this engine uses a reactor to which there were a lot of detailed numbers and figures for, but I have no idea what all this meant. I can remember that the documents referred to a super heavy element, whatever that means. The element is the main fuel for the reactor. The engine worked by making a disturbance of molecules at the front of the craft so that it was able to stop the inertia or G-force inside the craft. I got the impression that this information was the type of material I was looking for because it was far in advance of our current technology and could be something to do with the Roswell UFO. Finding this threw me because I didn't know if this information was a disinformation exercise and that people were meant to get in and find this stuff or if it was real. I can't be sure and this is the one annoying thing.

Bevan also says,

I like to think what I saw was not misinformation.

Most Well-Known: Gary McKinnon

"The biggest military computer hack of all time." - US prosecuting attorney Paul McNulty

2001-2002 Gary "SOLO" McKinnon, the most well-known UFO hacker, breaks into US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, Department of Defense, and NASA computers by targeting systems with administrator passwords of "Administrator," "password," or blank. Gary accomplishes this using a Perl program to mass scan a /16 IP space and probe the NetBIOS protocol on port 139. He uses a 56K dial-up modem. On some systems, he installs RemotelyAnywhere for remote desktop. He uses Landsearch software to search through all files on all computers across a domain. On a Navy system, he sees spreadsheet tabs with titles such as "non-terrestrial officers" and "fleet-to-fleet transfers", with names of ships not known to be in the US Navy. Also, following Dr. Steven Greer's Disclosure Project and specifically the testimony of Donna Hare, he targets Building 8 at NASA Johnson Space Center where UFOs are reportedly being airbrushed out of satellite photography before the photos are released to the public. He makes it onto a system and sees a 'raw' photo of a smooth cylindrical craft with domes that has no seams or rivets. However, he miscalculates the time zones and is disconnected by a local computer user before he can take a screenshot. Months later, he is arrested by the UK's National Hi-Tech Crimes Unit (who seized his computer) and he is put under an extradition order from the US. It will be a 10-year legal battle before his extradition is finally blocked by the UK over human rights and UK charges are eventually dropped. Gary still faces US charges.

Corroborating Technical Evidence

First, Gary says that he used IPindex.net for reconnaissance. Using the Internet Archive of that site, and comparing it with the specific IPs from his indictment, we can see that the IP ranges in Texas correspond to NASA Johnson Space Center.	NASA/Johnson Space Center, TX (NET-JIN)

Next, Gary says he used RemotelyAnywhere to remotely control the NASA JSC desktop. Looking at the 2002 manual for RemotelyAnywhere, remote installation is documented:

Install <–computer COMPUTER> <–path PATH> [-port PORT] [-minimal] [-license FILENAME]

Last, I found this program in an old CD-ROM's contents: About Proxynator screenshot I used these same hacking techniques at around the same time. As seen, the idea is attributed to "SOLO", capitalized the same as Gary's handle.

Author, Professional Speaker: Richard Thieme

Richard "neuralcowboy" Thieme, while not a hacker in the traditional sense, is an author and public speaker, who talks on UFOs at the annual DEFCON hacker conference in Las Vegas, and at the MUFON Symposium:

Thieme has given talks on other topics as well, see a more complete index here.

Thieme also wrote a monthly column which was compiled in his book Islands in the Clickstream. In the original printing, Chapter 9 "The Dark Side of the Moon and Beyond" contains columns written between 1997 and 2003, many of which involve the UFO topic, e.g. "UFOs and the Internet" from July 8, 1997.

Thieme's 2023 book Mobius: Out of Time covers "the deft management of UFO phenomena and research in the intelligence community," among other topics.

While an Episcopal priest, Thieme reports a fighter pilot confided in him regarding UFOs, confirming that in their fastest jets,

We chase them, and we can't catch them.

Historically Relevant: BBSes and Other Archives

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