December 14th 2019 - Potsmoke from FHCF calls in!
From time to time I Google around to check out something specific, and
one thing often leads to another, and before you know it you have your
head digged deep into something totally different than you started out
for. Thatís exactly what happened this week as well, but this time I
ended up at zor.org and got nostalgic. So here I am, sitting in front of
the computer at zor.org, starting my day with a cup of sweet chili tea
and a slice of bread with egg and bacon. It sounds like the beginning of
a good day :)
I remember the day I started cracking with a demo version of W32dasm and
a copy of HIEW back in 1999. I can still see that tiny software with the
yellow icon in front of me, called Sweet little piano, which was the
first software I ever cracked. And I still remember the feeling I got
when I saw the text ďThank you for registering!Ē for the first time, and
me jumping around in the house in ecstasy like a retard. What a feeling!
Cracking was a pure drug for me that is hard to describe, like a
possession or addiction. One Saturday I was out partying with lotís of
friends and some nice looking girls, being drunk, having fun, and all I
could think about was that freaking beloved debugger called Softice that
I wanted to go home and cuddle with.
Believe it or not, but the day I cracked Sweet little piano was the day
I decided that I was going to start a cracking group, heavily armed with
a demo version of W32dasm and a copy of HIEW ;) It was like I had gotten
a call from above, even though Iím not religious. What makes this even
more absurd is that I started out with computers about 10 years later
than most people. I almost knew how to crack software before I was able
to install Windows, and some of my friends are still making fun of me
because of that :)
I canít think of one single moment in my life that gave me the amount of
goosebumps Iím currently feeling and Iím simply just reading a website
called zor.org, or am I? Well, I am, but at the same time Iím going
through 20 years of history - technology, learning, pushing limits,
competition, friendship and so much more. Iím re-living the last 20
years of my life and it feels good! All those goosebumps is my body
saying ďThank you, Zor!Ē. Iím by the way shocked to read that people
manually translated the news into 12 different languages. Thatís pretty
hardcore if you ask me.
Thank you for zor.org and to everyone that contributed to the website
and the scene.
Thank you so much for bringing me back to the good old days and for all
the good memories.
Thank you for supporting me and FHCF.
Iím also very grateful for all the people that made both FHCF and
#cracking.no on IRC EFnet possible.
FHCF was of course not the best group in the world, but when I look back
on what we did, I must admit that Iím still proud. We keygenned Palm
software like no one else as far as I know. We released lotís of crypto
keygens. The last few years we were a keygen-only group and most of the
keygens were made in pure assembly. I remember releasing one of my
keygens under another group and they asked if there was something wrong
with it because it was only 3kb in size while they were used to 200kb+
Personally I pushed my limits way beyond what a human being should. Itís
easy to see that now, but Iím not sure if I saw it back then, or maybe I
just didnít want to see it. When I was unemployed I usually cracked
software until the sun came up around 06.00 in the morning. I often had
very long debugging sessions and at one point I decided that it was
better to only sleep every second day to get more time for cracking. I
did this for quite a period of time until I started seeing shadows in my
side vision, shadows that wasnít really there. It got worse and worse,
so one day I had to change my sleeping pattern back again and start
sleeping like most people. It turned out I wasnít a super hero after
all. If that wasnít enough I once noticed that I hadnít opened my front
door for three weeks Ė THREE WEEKS! And when I did, I met a world that
felt so strange that it was almost unreal. Iím not particular proud of
this and think Iíve only told the story to one or two of my friends.
I feel so utterly humble to see my nickname mentioned on zor.org and I
feel just as humble and thankful for seeing my good old group FHCF
mentioned on the right side of the website. Iím also extremely thankful
for all the offers I got from other groups when I retired, from groups
that I looked up to, to groups that were my heros, and they will always
be. I would have accepted some of the offers if I could, but it was too
late, and it slightly hurts saying that 13-14 years later.
Zorís Crack News will never die, neither will Potsmoke and his beloved
FHCF, at least not in the heart :)
If you stumble across some Norwegian crackers feel free to point them in
this direction → www.fhcfreunion.net
I guess Iím done with the breakfast and itís time to get going.
Thank you very much for everything!
Wish you all the best and I hope you are all good.
August 13th 2019 - Celebrating 21 years of zor.org
"For quite a few years through the late nineties and early 2000s I was one of thousands of people across the world who started the day with a coffee and a visit to Zorís Crack News. Checking out what crack sites had been updated, what new cracks were out and what the big crackers were up to was a great way to start the day. So what was Zor's Crack News? It started way back in 1995, the golden age of the net. The mid to late nineties was a time when the corporate world wasnít all that interested in the net, when it was all about free sharing of information. The only companies making money off the net in those days were the software people, and the way they did that was much the same as they do today. They'd release time limited or Ďcrippledí versions of their software on the net, free to download. If you wanted to use the software permanently you purchased a key from the company or programmer. When you entered that key into the software
it became registered and its limitations were removed.
But there have always been smart guys who could figure out how to turn the trial software into a full version. Maybe they'd write a small piece of code that would make the software think it was registered. Or theyíd poke around in the program and crack the algorithm that decided if the key you entered was genuine, then overwrite that so the program would accept any key you entered. Whatever the method, and thereís plenty more, that small file for a particular program that turned it into a full, registered version was known as a crack. And cracks were magic.
In the mid 1990s the crack scene was pretty much an Ďinvitation onlyí one. Cracking groups usually werenít real interested in releasing their cracks to the masses, often distributing them on password protected sites or other hidden away places
that only a few people had access to. There were good reasons for this of course: any of the hosting companies around at that time would immediately remove a site that distributed cracks, and the software companies monitored the net and launched action whenever they saw a crack published anywhere for their software.
But the net was growing - it was blossoming. By the mid nineties the number of internet users was exploding and light was being shone on many of the net's small dark places. And the person who dragged the crack scene into the mainstream internet world was Zor. Zorís Crack News provided information on cracking groups, crack websites and, most importantly, listed a selection of the best, right up to date cracks that had just been released. And with crack sites coming and going, and new cracks coming out every day, Zor's Crack News was updated on a daily basis. Each and every day for more than ten years! The site was compulsory reading for so many of us and had a massive following. Anyone across the world who was interested in the cracking scene HAD to visit Zorís Crack News. There was no place like it on the net.
Zorís Crack News developed into much more than a directory of crack sites. Zor was in direct contact with many of the best crackers from around the world and gave them support, publicity and practical assistance, including by giving them
a zor.org/yourname redirector (or even a domain
name) and arranging hosting. For the latter, Zor partnered with 'hacker', a guy from USA who ran his own private server in Kentucky and would host any crack group that was personally recommended by Zor. A home for a crack site - the crack world exploded!
Until the inevitable happened.....As Zor tells the story, Cokebottle, one of the worldís most expert (and notorious) crackers, rang Zor at 4am one morning to break the news that an FBI team had raided hackerís house and dragged his ass to jail. As well as the crack news site, about fifty of the world's best cracking groups immediately lost their
But despite the setback, Zor's Crack News, and the crackers, recovered
and thrived. By this time Zor's Crack News had
its own Discussion Board, with an unbelievable 80,000 members at its peak,
and an IRC channel. The daily news was translated and published across the net
daily in 12 different languages (done manually
by native speakers of course - this was years
before google translate!)
Of course the software sites had Zor permanently listed as public enemy number one, with Adobe in particular doing all they could to track him down and stop his promotion and ditribution of cracks. They never found him!
But by the early to mid 2000's the net was rapidly becoming a different world. The corporations had taken over, it was all about services, all about making money. The old days of the net being defined by free sharing of information were coming to an end. And the crack world was changing too - the old world of 'honor among thieves' was coming to an end. Some cracks started to be released with viruses or adware, the sort of thing that would NEVER have been tolerated back in the day.
The huge, but friendly and closeknit, crack scene was rapidly coming to an end and Zorís Crack News was becoming a bit of a dinosaur, an anachronism, a quaint reminder of the netís wonderful early days. After more than 12 years of operation Zorís Crack News closed in 2007, with this site left as a museum piece for anyone interested in the history of the internet crack scene. It's awesome clicking on the many links and checking out the wayback archives of the crack sites as they were presented in the old times. It's a fascinating window into a very different internet world.
Zor is still around (and still can be reached at email@example.com!) I tracked him down a while back and he was kind enough to relate the amazing story of Zorís Crack News. I wrote this brief summary from what he told me and said Iíd be honored if he would use it on the 21st anniversary of the
year the zor.org domain was created.
Thanks for the memories - Zor's Crack News will never die!"
December 17th 2017
So how good was it to get
an email today from one of the best crackers
ever, the famous Alpha1 from TnT. Still rocking!
Totally out of the scene for years of course! It was
sure fun to reminisce with Alpha1 about the old
times. If anyone else is still out there, drop
me a note and say g'day.........
March 8th 2016
Yeah, genuine museum piece
here dudes! A slice of retro to remind the
youngsters what the net was like 20 years ago in
1996, when Zor Crack News started. (And of
course way before cell phones - don't waste a
second trying to view this site on anything
other than a full size desktop computer
So in 1996 we
started up our dial-up connection - 28.8 kbps
unless you were one of the rich blokes who could
afford a 33.6 kbps modem. We'd fire up Netscape
Navigator and first stop of course would be Zors
Crack News, one of the 100,000 or so websites
that were on the net in 1996 (less than ten
years later there were around 200 million
sites.) We might download a few cracks,
hoping that no one would ring the phone and
disconnect the dial up connection. That'd
mean we'd have to start the download again,
which was not only inconvenient but pricey.
We were paying for the net by the minute.
After checking out the new cracks we might
head to the main internet portal of the day. Up
until a year ago we knew it as "Jerry's Guide to
the World Wide Web" and we still found it hard
to get our heads around the new name, Yahoo!
Maybe we'd stick with the tried and true AOL,
with its bells and whistles like chat rooms and
We'd probably head to our favorite
search engine, maybe Altavista, WebCrawler or
Lycos. Or even Dogpile, which was an
aggregate site that gave lists from a whole heap
of search engines. Most of the sites we'd
see, even business pages, were housed by free
hosts - Geocities, Xoom or Tripod were the
No Google of course (google.com
was registered two years later), no youtube or
paypal, in fact very little ecommerce. A small
online bookshop by the name of Amazon was doing
This thing called the net
was starting to drive PC sales too. My next
door neighbor managed a computer shop and took
every opportunity to tell me of the beast of a
machine he had in his home. I still
remember the intense jealousy when he told me
he'd just 'taken home to try out' a 100mb hard
drive. "Yeah I know I'll never fill it mate, but
it's nice knowing I got all that space."
August 13th 2008
10 years ago the zor.org domain was registered
The Crack News you're reading now started two years before that,
around mid-1996. But let's commemorate August 13th 1998, the official
date the zor.org domain was registered. That
means the zor community has been going for ten years solid.
The oldest page I have is from
July 26th 1998 -
check it out to see the sort of world we lived in then!
Thanks to Hayn for digging that one up.....
The crack sites to your right have been amended
to list some of the great names and groups over the years. I
know there are many sites that could be there, but those listed were
selected on the basis of all having been on the news page for extended
periods of time - most are from around 1999.
Most of the sites are displayed from wayback
machine links - they're a great reminder of when the net belonged to
US, not the corporations. If
you're keen to do some more reminiscing, click on any active link and
see where it takes you.
And of course the zor.org redirector is still available, and the
firstname.lastname@example.org email address
is still ticking along. But most importantly, the Discussion
Board is as active now as it has ever been. Click on the link
above and check it out if you haven't been there. The 10th
anniversary celebration saw many people, including some great names of
the past post their reminisces and recollections of the past ten
Congratz and all the best !!!!
most fascinating fact for me were the daily news and the Top 10 list
of good workin' groups. That was like a daily newspaper and just
great. It wasnt just some news board, it was a real community with irc
channel, great gfx artists and a lot of fun
Happy 10th year Zor. I wish you all the best from your friend Alpha1
to Zor - 10 years is amazing
Bubba Zenetti: I think the first time I ever
heard about Zor's was back in the #1 Texas Crack Site days when the
only way to access a lot of the top crack sites was through Zor's.
Talked to Coke for the first time in awhile a week ago, nice to catch
up with him. Remember ThndrKiss and S2K? Haven't heard from him in
Best wishes for another 10 years
Fisben: Lets not
forget peeps/groups like Mysfyt, ringer, Pvtctzn, TKC for the early
tuts serials 99 crew, the oscar team, hambo, Keygen Studio, Zutphen,
Sir Greg, Leonardos World, The Egoiste, Nitallica, F.O.S.I, COR, Cosmo
Conner, yoshi, flying raichu, SirDream, Butterflylady, raye, and may
others that have slipped away over the years
Wow, has it been that long? Happy anniversary!
Been around since the crack
news page days, bout 1997 I guess
Ten years already? Where have they gone...
Seeing the names of all
the fine folks mentioned brings back all the good times
Well happy Birthday Zor. Damm it's great to see all the
old nicks all in one place again. And its great to remember some of
the members that are no longer with us. Damm I remember tracking
Antizor across the net for hours/days on end what a asshole.
ZOR & BAMAFATS legends in there
Thanks for the kind words guys. As
we head towards the next 10 year anniversary, just a few people I'd
like to thank personally for their contribution. First up the
three people who were exceptional in the early days,
Bamafats and Netking. Expecially worth remembering
since I'm not sure if either of the first two are still with us.....
And others that come to mind - sorry to
those I miss - who did the hard work to keep the newspage or
discussion board a vibrant and fun place include:
hacker, Dark Gypsy, Naq, Bubba Zenetti, Crack King, Gogol, Raye,
Cyclops, villan, alfa, Shad, Ringer, Scarecrow, Mysfyt, Russ97,
Osmooms and Leonardo
he was a real person!)
Finally, a special thanks to the people
that made it all work, the crackers. I don't like to single
people out, but do want to to pass on my personal thanks to some
Doit4Kicks, Raybiez, Krobar,
Flying Raichu, Mr White, Alpha1, Sir Dream and Potsmoke.
I'm still as impressed with your work today as I was back in 1998.