Back when the Duke of Edinburgh was hacked

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Back when the Duke of Edinburgh was hackedThe National Museum of Computing (based at Bletchley Park, pictured left) has recently come into possession of a hoard of documents dating back to the mid 80’s, when two men called Robert Schifreen and Steve Gold hacked into BT’s Prestel system. According to Schifreen, the hack initially was the result of an entirely fortuitous act which resulted in him having full access to an administrator’s account, which in turn gave him access to live data.

Prestel was an early text based computer system which gave users access to constantly updated information such as the weather, news headlines and stocks and share prices. Email was added to it in 1983 and included an email inbox belonging to the Duke of Edinburgh, not one to miss out on the new technology. The documents detail how the hack was carried out and the legal fallout which followed in the courts; the case led to the passing of the 1990 Computer Misuse Act.

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