Have You Discovered Yet the 414s?

Discover magazine has just published a review of the 1980s phenom known as the 414s (Milwaukee area code, adopted by teenage hackers)

While the 414s’ antics didn’t spark a nuclear conflict, they did ignite a national conversation on computer security…

The youngest of the 414s on the cover of Newsweek, September 5, 1983

They get called pioneers, which I suppose is reasonable when compared to those today who habitually forget the 1980s, although frankly Discover magazine ignores the 1970s pioneers.

Anyway this kind of reporting helps give better context to papers like “The WarGames Scenario:’ Regulating Teenagers and Teenaged Technology (1980-1984)“, which in 2008 made boastful claims like this one:

WarGames (1983),the first mass-consumed,visual representation of the internet,served as both a vehicle and framework for America’s earliest discussion of the internet.

I made a similar case about movies being a vehicle for the discussion of tech risks in my 2011 presentation on Stuxnet (Dr. Stuxlove), although there I referenced movies from 1968.

In other words I still would argue the earliest true discussion of Internet risks was in the 1970s. If you can get into the 414 story, you might be interested to know who came before them.

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