- Mathew Bevan is a 23 old computer hacker
with an interest in UFOs. Recently he made front page world headlines when
he was charged with hacking offences which included access to the most
secret military computers of the United States Military. Mathew was able
to access computers, which had the ability to launch nuclear missiles or
other missiles. Described by one pentagon spokesman as being "The
biggest threat to world peace since Adolf Hitler", Mathew Bevan talks
to Matthew Williams about how he did it and the fact that whilst in Wright
Patterson Air Force Base computers he saw plans to a secret Anti Gravity
- Matthew Williams: How many years have
you been into the Internet.
- Mathew Bevan: Since about 16. It was
a case that over here there were very few Internet providers. The only
one was Demon Internet and the closest phone number to dial was in Bristol,
so it was just easier to do a free (hacked) phonecall to the States and
use a free provider and not worry about paying any bills.
- MW: How does one "hack" the
phones - what is the procedure involved.
- MB: You use a little program on the old
computer... The Amiga was the first computer to be used for "Blueboxing"
(hacking phones) and the reason was that it has four channels of sound
whereas the PC could only go "BEEP". To get the blueboxing to
work you had to play dual tones into your phone. There was a set of frequencies
of tone not dissimilar to DTMF which is on most modern phones (DTMF - the
tones played when you press a number on your phone keypad). When the special
tones were played it would cause the network to do a number of special
- What you then needed to do is to call
a 0800 number for a foreign countries operator service - such as Columbia
or Hawaii. You would play a few tones down the line and it would cut the
operator off and BT would think that you had hung up the call but in fact
you were still in the trunking system and you play a few more tones and
you could re-route your call anywhere.
- MW: Is it complicated to do these things
because playing sets of musical tones down the phone line sounds quite
complicated and what if you make a mistake.
- MB: Well it is complicated but is a case
of playing around to see what you could do. If you make a mistake you just
hang up and try again. There were some other interesting things you could
do like dialling a number and when you get the engaged signal then play
a couple of tones and break into the call and listen without the two parties
knowing you were there.
- MW: You are saying that there are ways
to listen to calls without being detected and this can be done from any
home phone with such codes! Are you saying that you could listen to another
call anywhere in the world?
- MB: Yes but most of the time I was calling
into the States anyway so that's where I did it the most. I think that
secretly listening in is what it was designed for.
- MW: So when did you go from hacking innocent
university computers into hacking the military computers?
- MB: It was a case of getting onto a system
and getting the password file and then running the encrypted passwords
through a code cracking program so that you get the passwords. Once you
have the passwords then you can get a higher level of access and get into
peoples files and folders and you can monitor the system to see what it
is happening. You can see that there are people that are themselves who
are going from computer to computer with legitimate reasons. Now it would
just happen that some of these people would be working on projects with
the military. You could find that a professor would be contacting a military
- One would get fed up with doing small
computer systems and would want to try to hack something bigger. The thing
with people is that they tend to like the same password for multiple systems
and so if you have hacked their account on a relatively unprotected system
then the password will probably work on another more well protected system.
The professor probably has some silly password like "professor"
on the university computer and more often than not would use the same on
a military system.
- It is not a case of sitting there typing
in millions of passwords and hoping that you get the right one. There are
much more intelligent programs to do that for you and get you in to a system.
- We now use things called SNIFFERS, which
are covert and do not harm the system in any way. These sit in the background
and watch for people's passwords and they send them back to you. This is
something that I was charged with and the offence read "modification
to a system with intent to impair the operation of the computer".
Well the whole point of a sniffer is that it sits there and nobody knows
it is there - if it did any harm we wouldn't use them.
- Well once inside you would use various
hacker techniques to bump up your access level to that of systems administrator,
so that you would have the entire system under your control. You could
connect to other systems on the network with the same authority. You could
monitor people's emails and you could get into their project folders and
look at their research and development work or papers that they have written.
Occasionally you would get into somewhere that was quite interesting but
it wasn't always that way. Most of it was quite boring. Back in the old
days before Internet Browsers that give you nice pictures and buttons to
click on, it was all text based and you had to use the keyboard to type
commands. There were pictures, but you had to manually download them and
view them "offline".
- MW: So what were the most exciting computer
systems you hacked?
- MW: Firstly there was the FLEX system.
This stands for Force Level Execution, and this is the thing which the
News of the World newspaper picked up on. The reason this system was of
interest because it had control of nuclear missiles. To explain what this
program does; the official line is to plan an air war and to find out what
things are incoming and what air strikes are pending. The system would
then advise you of where to strike next with the best killing ratio and
where to launch you missiles etc. From looking on the computer and through
the "source code" I got the impression that the system had direct
access to real missiles. What type of missiles I do not know and the News
of the World printed that these were in fact Peacekeeper Missiles, but
that didn't come from me - I don't know where they got those details from...?
- The easiest comparison I could make is
that it was a very similar system to the Skynet System in the Terminator
movies. This means that the computer has access to all available information
and can make intelligent decisions about how to operate a war and even
control the weapons.
- Of course the FLEX system is secret and
something that they do not want the public to know about and the fact that
weapons are controlled solely by computer. You would think that there would
be other failsafe system but, as far as I could tell, that was not the
- There were other systems such as Wright
Patterson Air Force base and White Sands Missile Testing Ground, some now
I forget - I went to a lot. I had been to so many I had to tell the police
that I could not remember all the systems I had been in.
- The lawyers couldn't get their stories
straight even for a trial of this type, which you would have expected.
They would not present evidence to show how I was able to hack into their
systems. So with the details of the computer systems real purpose having
been removed from the case then I am now pretty sure that I did have a
good idea about the real function of the programs - they didn't want this
information out in any form. This was probably the reason that they were
so pissed off about it because I came forward and told everyone. You see
after I was arrested then I started to get some very strange phone calls
from people claiming to be in the military, Koreans and other people. I
had weird semi-threatening things said to me and this is why I moved away
to get away from these treats and this is another reason that I spilled
the beans, in order to keep myself and my wife safe, after all what is
the point of silencing me after I had talked.
- MW: Where were you living and did the
police give you any assistance in your moving because of these threats.
- MB: Firstly I was living in Grangetown
and then I was moved by the benefits agency to another location. They were
aware of the court case and the sensitivity and people from Scotland Yard
were helping in this respect also. I was given a new name under the benefits
agency computers and was living under name of Mr Smith for a while.
- MW: Why do you think they were prepared
to go to this trouble to help you?
- MB: What you have to understand is the
fact that there was a big Senate hearing on the fact that two hackers had
got into secret computer systems. One of these was a 16-year-old who they
had arrested and the other person was supposedly thought to be a foreign
spy who was paying the 16-year-old for information. I was made out to be
the foreign spy and I was prepared to believe from the threats I was getting
that these people were serious. So I had to move home.
- To give you an idea of the level of the
ominous phone calls I was getting, at the time I was just about to change
my phone over to British Telecom. Just days before I was arrested I was
due to sign the BT phone forms and send them off, but had not done do at
that point. Then I had another threatening phone call and I told them to
**** off and said that I was now having my number changed. The voice on
the other end of the line said "yeah we know that your new number
is going to be 01222 233blah blah blah" and so they knew my new number
already! My wife asked often who was speaking and one name we got was Chung
Lee Makasuki and he gave some phone number in China, I think.
- MW: When you were arrested what happened?
- MB: I was working at Admiral Insurance
at the time in their computer department for around a year and a half.
One of the managers came in and asked me to come and have a look at one
of their computer systems and I got up and went with him. I went with him
to the MDs office and there were seven people in the office, your typical
men in black so to speak but as this was the MDs office I didn't at first
see this as abnormal. When I got inside one of then said to me "Mathew
Bevan" and I replied "yes" and then he put up his hand and
said "I am placing you under arrest for hacking of NASA and various
Air Force bases." I was standing there stunned and I was going "Oh,
gosh... ummm." They then told me that they were going to search my
desk, which they did, then they took me back to my house and searched there
- When they got to the house they took
all my X Files videos and X Files posters and the reason was because the
"KUJI" hacker that they were after had a computer user description
which read "The Truth Is Out There". So they wanted to use the
X Files material to prove that they had the correct "KUJI". They
just wanted to pin me on anything they could. They took all of my computer
kit as well as my passport.
- During the interview I agreed that I
used the handle 'Kuji' and afterwards the police gave me my property back
such as the X Files videos, posters,monitor and the keyboard back but they
kept everything else.
- I was taken to the Central Police station
in Cardiff. The officers were from the computer crime unit of the Met Police.
I believe that the C.C.U. also uses the code S.O.6 which leads me to believe
that they are intelligence (MI6) related but I don't think they would admit
- MW: What was the atmosphere like in the
- MB: It was a good cop bad cop scenario.
The one person was very nice and the other guy was quite nasty and was
giving snide remarks and shouting at me. There were bits in the interviews
that were really stupid too where I was asked by the nice cop if I had
any political leanings and I said no - then the other cop stepped in and
said "Yeah, but your a vegetarian" and he then said "So
you do have a leaning then.". To this I then replied "Well if
being vegetarian is a political leaning then I plead guilty!". The
other copper then steps in and make a lighthearted comment and then the
other one steps in again and says "ah so you indicate a leaning then"
and so on.
- I was under arrest for the best part
of 36 hours but there was about 28 hours spent in the cells. I wasn't allowed
to speak to my wife or anyone else. They threatened that they would arrest
my wife and I pointed out that she knew nothing about computers and they
said tough because they would arrest her anyway. This was part of their
oppression tactics. I said what do I have to do to stop you arresting her
and they said that if I co-operated then they would not arrest her. So
the only telephone calls I was allowed were to my solicitor because they
didn't want me to tell anyone I had been arrested.
- One thing I didn't realise but found
out was the fact that in Cardiff police station they bug the cells with
listening devices and recently a few people have had tape recorded evidence
used against them when they have admitted to things whilst in custody.
This is immoral but they seem to be able to do it.
- MW: What sort of specific questions were
you asked by the police in the interview.
- MB: They asked me about the Rome Labs
computer and if I had placed a sniffer program on the computers. I would
not admit to this. They also asked me about Goddard Space Flight Centre
and Wright Patterson, I admitted to these but was never charged with them!
They don't charge me with the right things. They then charge me with conspiracy
with the other hacker, but by the time they realise that they don't have
any evidence to prove this it transpires that they could not charge me
with the original intended charges anyway because they are out of time
by 6 months; They would have had to charge me with a summary offence within
six months of my arrest. They also found out that they were out of time
for a 3-year clause
- The Americans position in court was that
they claimed that they had to spend 1/2 a million dollars to repair their
computer systems. A fundamental question that my defence asked was could
we see a backup of the system to show before and after these so called
repairs to prove what was being claimed. The Americans said that we could
not see the records because they were so sensitive and also said that it
was not in the jurisdiction of the British courts to order them to show
the files. If it were any other trial then you would ask how could we accept
this evidence but because we are asked to take the Americans word, this
is supposed to be good enough.
- The next thing that happened was that
my barrister had meetings with the prosecution and he then turns around
to me and says that he feels that they will find me guilty on some charges
so I should give in and change my plea to guilty. So I 'relieved' him of
his professional duties and got a new barrister who was then completely
on my side and who felt that I did indeed have a worthwhile and quite solid
- MW: What was the final stage of the case
and how did you get acquitted?
- MB: The judge surprised everyone by saying
to the prosecution that because my charges were lesser than those of the
other hacker and that the other hacker had received a small fine of £1200
then my sentence at best would be non-custodial so to proceed with such
a case would not produce a large penalty whilst the costs for running such
a case would run into millions. It was estimated that if I would be found
guilty I would get a £450 fine and considering that the court's daily
costs would be £10,000 it would not be worth it.
- However the prosecution was determined
still and said that they would still proceed and then at the last stage
they pulled out and said that they wished to offer no evidence and that
it wasn't in the public interest to run the case. Verdicts of not guilty
were entered, this being the equivalent of a full acquittal and so ensuring
that the police would waive the right to re-arrest me in conjunction with
- This being the case I was then free to
admit to the press and everyone else that I had in fact done some of those
things and that I did hack those systems. This pissed Scotland Yard off
immensely and they are now being very awkward about returning the seized
goods that are in evidence storage even though the case has been dropped.
- MW: How were you tracked down?
- MB: I cannot be sure because this was
never disclosed - I have my suspicions that I was grassed on by a hacker.
They said they found my number on somebody's computer system and traced
me back like that but I think somebody told them who I was. The point was
if it took them 2 years to find my number on the other hackers hard-drive
as they claim then that is incompetence, as a search of a 250meg drive
takes less than five minutes.
- MW: Where does the story take a turn
to where you started hacking military sites for UFO information?
- MB: In a hacker magazine called PHRACK,
it gave a list of sites that people who said they were interested in UFOs
would like to see hacked and that hackers should check these out. Allegedly
there were forty people who were trying to penetrate these sites and they
got into some of them but they all went missing?
- MW: A group of forty people went missing?
- MB: Apparently so. They said in the magazine
that if you were going to do it then do it carefully and printed a list
of the sites. I used that list and used it and I also used some of the
folklore of UFOs like "Roswell wreckage taken to Wright field",
"Lockheed space missile company have connection to Area 51" etc.
It is then just a case then of picking up the addresses and names of these
computers. They are quite easy to find as the military provide you with
as much information on their computers as you could ever want.
- It was a case of "go for it",
"lets have a look". As far as I was concerned I was not traceable
and not causing any harm to anybody. If I couldn't get in then no big deal,
if I could then I was not going to screw the system up.
- MW: You did gain access to some interesting
UFO type files - what were these?
- MB: The information was obtained through
the Wright Patterson Air Base computer system. I was looking for information
on the Roswell crash. On one of the computers at Wright Patterson the systems
administrator was very un-secured. Captain Beth Long was the system administrator
she is supposedly working in a pumping station in Alaska now instead of
working at Wright Patterson - the reason being, because she had no password
so this meant that anyone logging in as her meant they had the highest
level of access on the system with no password needed!
- Wright Pattersons' computers were strange
because unlike all other computers I had hacked which had clear warnings
to hackers and people using the system regarding the classified information,
their system had a banner which read in flashing red letters that no classified
information is to be stored on the computer system. This throws you a bit.
I was unsure if it was a real banner or if it was to put off people who
had got that far.
- 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 ecause 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
- In the interviews that were carried out
with the police Wright Patterson was mentioned. Officer D S Janes asked
me, had I been in there and I said that I had. He then asked me if I had
got any information from this computer and I said that I had found details
of an anti-gravity propulsion system. He asked if I downloaded any files
from this project and I said no and I had only read the files online. As
I said earlier I admitted to this but no charges were brought against me
on this matter which is a bit odd. Then the interviewing officer asked
me if I knew what Hanger 18 meant. I said "well if you are thinking
of a building where they store extraterrestrial aircraft then this is what
you might mean but perhaps you mean it is a computer or a bulletin board
-is this what you mean?". He replied that this could be the place
that he was thinking of. This was the only time that Hanger 18 was mentioned
in the interview.
- In one of the hearings at magistrates'
court there was a special agent who came over called Jim Hanson. When asked
what did he feel I was trying to achieve by my hacking he said that he
believed I was not trying to do any harm but was just looking for information
on Hanger 18. The prosecution then asked Jim Hanson in a light-hearted
manner if he could confirm if Hanger 18 exists and Hanson responded "I
can't tell you that because I am not party to that information".
- What surprised me is the fact that I
was asked about the little known Hanger 18 story instead of somewhere well
known such as Area 51. Some members of the press alluded that I had hacked
into Area 51, but I never said this and I refused to comment on the UFO
issue to them. There were things I was not prepared to talk about to the
press because I was not sure if I would be able to sell my story or not,
so I did not want to give the information away.
- The point was that I knew where Wright
Patterson airbase was but I didn't know, until I read a UFO magazine recently,
that Hanger 18 was located at Wright Patterson. This was the first I ever
learned about this.
- When you put it all together it seems
weird - the fact that I hacked into Wright Patterson and found details
of a secret gravity engine and then the coppers asking me about Hanger
18, even to have a secret service agent in an open court saying about Hanger
18 and then me later on finding out that the two places are the same.
- MW: Wasn't there a ban on press reporting
of your case?
- MB: The press were there and they heard
many interesting things which the failed to print but yes there was a ban
on reporting the case, they said because they did not want the press opinion
to influence the case in any way. This is the principal of subjudicy.
- The prosecution had originally intended
to have the case heard in secret (In Camera) but we did not allow this
- MW: Have you ever seen any UFOs yourself?
- MB: There was a time when I was going
back to Newport from Cardiff and there were two very feint lights which
were like passenger plane lights at first. They looked like they were going
towards Rhoose airport but in-between them there was a start which was
shooting back and forth between these two points. I had to force my friends
to look at the lights because they would not look and said was crazy but
when eventually they did look they agreed that they had seen something
- My Wife and I went on holiday to Fuertaventura
in the Canaries and there were unusual lights in the sky above us which
we watched for many hours. They changed colour and went on and off. They
seemed so far away that they couldn't be sure if they were satellites or
not. I am not saying that this could not have been explainable phenomena.
- MW: What interest did you have in UFOs
before the trial.
- MB: Just before I got into the hacking
scene I was making the free phone calls and I found a Bulletin Board in
Australia which had loads of UFO files. There were about 500 or 600 text
files on offer so I downloaded them all and waded through them slowly.
I found it really interesting and I wanted to know more. I go into the
MUFON files and Keelynet Bulletin Boards and they had interesting things
on them also.
- It seems to me that far more people have
seen UFOs and have evidence of this than there is evidence of GOD but people
go around believing in GOD and are not ridiculed for this in any way!
- My opinion is that there is a lot of
information UFO information out there and it is hard to separate the liars
from the truthful people. The thing is that some of the wilder claims may
also be the truth but sometimes you cannot be certain of any claims either
- The types of thing I mean are cases where
people say that they have been onboard spacecraft and seen the classic
alien with big black eyes and that they had experiences which are consistent
with other witnesses. You then hear from the same person that the aliens
took her for a ride and they were walking around on the moon without a
spacesuit and the story starts to take a strange turn. It seems that people
seem to go overboard but who knows that person may in fact be telling the
- MW: Do you know much about Bob Lazar?
Tell me what you about his story.
- MB: Well yes, Bob Lazar was able to show
documents from his previous work to show that he worked with certain companies,
but they deny he ever worked for them.
- As I remember he is a really nerdy looking
guy that claims to have worked at Area 51's S3 complex I think? He claimed
to have been working on crashed UFO technology. He said that he had seen
saucers in hangers and had seen one flying one day. Only recently I saw
the original interview he gave on video where he talked about his work
and was drawing on a blackboard. I think he got prosecuted for running
a brothel, I don't know much more than that.
- MW: Do you know anything about the propulsion
systems he was talking about in his work on the saucers?
- MB: No not really - I can remember the
shape of the craft and I can remember that the propulsion system was in
the bottom of the craft and that it is like a segmented thing. I remember
a little area in the middle where the "guys" would sit. I don't
really remember the details or specifics of that.
- MW: I am interested because you used
the term "heavy element reactor" earlier on and I wondered if
you have heard about something called "element 115"?
- MB: No I did chemistry at school but
was very bad at it and got kicked out. I don't know anything about elements
full stop really.
- MW: Bob Lazars story was that he worked
on propulsion systems, which utilised a reactor, fuelled by a super heavy
element. Everyday scientists do not know of the element 115 of which he
speaks. Does this mean anything to you?
- MB: Maybe that is a parallel. The only
things I know about him really is that he worked on UFOs and his involvement
in the brothel and the fact that he looks a bit "geeky".