30 December 2020

One of the Earliest Recorded Hacks of Government

Inside The 1983 Los Alamos Hack: Part I | by Hexa

May 9th 1983, a couple of kids from Wisconsin were able to gain remote access to the network at Los Alamos National Labs in New Mexico, looking for games. Oddly reminiscent of a movie that was about to come out.

June, 1983 — The Cold War was raging, leg warmers were in and a movie called WarGames was premiering in theaters. WarGames introduced the public to a subculture that had been thriving long before the fearsome ideas the movie’s plot dealt with. It showed the public a glimpse of something that wasn’t fully understood by the public, or even the hackers of the time. It showed a future where young, technically talented people could inadvertantly shape geopolitics.

1983 turned out to be a banner year in the history of technology. Mobile phones were hitting the consumer market for the first time ever, Microsoft Word was first released, causing perpetual headaches for countless generations of suffering Americans and ARPANET began using TCP/IP which would pave the way for the Internet that we all know and hate today.

Click thru for the details on the breach, and more. It turns out what you don't know can hurt you. Security was bad from the beginning. I wonder how much has really changed. Hat tip to Soldier of FORTRAN and a reTweet from Twitter.

If you haven't seen WarGames, you should. Here's a link to the trailer, which manages to capture the feeling, without giving too much away.


  1. "Mr. McKittrick, after very careful consideration, sir, I've come to the conclusion that your new defense system sucks."

  2. I watched WarGames a while back. It's dated, obviously, but it holds up. It holds up better than Hackers, which came out over a decade later. The practical upper limit for acoustic-coupled modems was 1200 baud, so that would slightly limit your streaming ability. Though this advanced technology could help with that.

  3. I was on a tour of Cheyenne Mountain about a year after this movie came out courtesy of NOAA media week which was held in Colorado Springs that year instead of Norman, OK. The commander said he wished his facilities were as nice as what the movie showed. Vice President George H W Bush and his wife were scheduled to visit the next day. Everything that didn't move was getting painted. We were allegedly given the same tour that Barbara Bush would be receiving. Obviously George got to see the areas that we did not. Still an interesting tour.


Be Nice. Arguments are welcome. Personal Attacks will be deleted