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Video clip synopsis – In the 1980s members of an underground hacker community called The Realm hacked into the Internet via a university network.
Year of production - 2001
Duration - 2min 32sec
Tags - design, emerging technologies, hackers, Internet, technology and society, telecommunications, see all tags



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Additional help.

About the Video Clip


This video clip is an excerpt from the film In the Realm of the Hackers, produced in 2001. In the Realm of the Hackers is a Film Australia National Interest Program produced in association with John Moore Productions and with the assistance of Film Victoria and the ABC. The video clip is on the website From Wireless to Web, produced in 2005.

The website is a selective history of broadcast media in Australia. Decade by decade, from radio and newsreels to TV and the internet, this history shows how the Australian broadcast media developed and shaped the way Australians see themselves.

From Wireless to Web is a Film Australia production in association with Roar Film.

Curriculum Focus


This Module can be used to achieve some of the outcomes of the NSW Information and Software Technology Years 7–10 syllabus; specifically the following outcomes:
5.4.1: A student analyses the effects of past, current and emerging information and software technologies on the individual and society.

This material is an extract. Teachers and students should consult the Board of Studies website for more information.

Background Information


In the late 1980s, Melbourne was the hub of the computer underground in Australia, if not the world. The hackers who formed the underground were not disgruntled computer professionals or gangs of organised criminals. They were disaffected teenagers who used their basic home computers to explore the embryonic Internet from inside their locked, suburban bedrooms. From this shadowy world emerged two elite hackers known as Electron and Phoenix, who formed part of an alliance called The Realm.

Together, Electron and Phoenix stole a restricted computer security list and used it to break into some of the world’s most classified and supposedly secure computer systems. So fast and widespread was the attack, people assumed it was an automated program, until Phoenix called The New York Times to brag. Soon the US Secret Service and the FBI were on their trail and, within months, the Australian Federal Police had raided their homes.

The documentary In the Realm of the Hackers charts Electron’s journey from his initial innocent explorations to his ultimate obsession and vividly recreates the climate of the 1980s, before there was public access to the Internet.

Classroom Activities

  1. New technologies inject new words into everyday language. In the clip In the Realm of Hackers the term ‘hacker’ is used to define someone who breaks into a computer network. However, among recognised computer programmers, the words ‘hacker’ and ‘hacking’ is used more often in the admiring or awed sense of a wizard software developer. Research the differing definitions for the term ‘hacker’ and discuss.
  2. Hackers are loosely grouped into three separate types: White Hats, Grey Hats and Black Hats. Define and compare the ethical differences between types of hackers.
  3. Richard Jones (a.k.a. Electron) and Nahshon Even-Chaim (a.k.a Phoenix) were members of an underground hacker community called The Realm. Read the Wikipedia article on Phoenix and discuss the impact of their crimes.

Further Resources


Go to From Wireless to Web for more about the history of broadcast media in Australia.

Go to Hacker from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia