Computer Hacker Strikes On-Line Again Coeur D’Alene Author Latest Victim Of E-Mail Bombardments

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 14, 1996

The latest victims of an Internet prank: President Clinton, Ross Perot, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Gates … and Sandy Gookin of Coeur d’Alene.

Gookin found herself in rare company last weekend when she logged onto her Compuserve account. An anonymous computer hacker had “mailbombed” her, along with the slightly more famous folks.

The culprit signed Gookin up for every mail group on the Internet. That meant thousands of electronic messages poured into her computer mailbox, covering subjects from tubas to lesbian poetry. Her e-mail account crashed, so she couldn’t use it.

How did Gookin fall prey to the hacker, along with Hillary Clinton, Howard Stern and every member of Congress?

Gookin wrote “Parenting for Dummies” last September. Her husband, Dan, wrote “DOS for Dummies” a popular computer guide.

In an anonymous letter explaining the Internet mischief, the hacker explained that “anyone who needs a book to be a good parent should not have kids. You are contributing to the overall stupidity our society possesses.”

Gookin, mother of four boys, laughed it off. “The guy who did it is obviously a complete idiot.”

The mailbombing wiped out e-mail accounts for anyone hit by the hacker.

Compuserve will provide Gookin a new account at no cost, she said. Compuserve and America Online officials did not return calls Tuesday.

“The net may not belong to us but we can safely say it’s more ours than the capitalist pigs that are infesting it now,” the hacker’s letter read. “Revenge may be childish and immature but it is damn fun and very rewarding.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

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