Susan Headley

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Susan Headley (born 1959, also known as Susy Thunder or Susan Thunder) was a hacker during the late 1970s and early 1980s. A member of the so-called Cyberpunks, Headley specialized in social engineering, a type of hacking which uses pretexting and misrepresentation of oneself in contact with targeted organizations in order to elicit information vital to hacking those organizations.[1]


Born in Altona, Illinois in 1959, Headley claims to have dropped out of school in the eighth grade after a difficult childhood. She later moved to Los Angeles, California where she worked as a teenage prostitute and was a rock 'n' roll groupie, claiming all four former members of the Beatles among her conquests.[2] She met computer hacker Kevin Mitnick (also known as Condor) in 1980, and together with another hacker, Lewis de Payne (also known as Roscoe), formed a gang of phone phreaks. Headley is referred to, in 1990 The Hacker's Handbook as [3] "one of the first of the present generation of hackers", not because she was 'female', but because, in 1977, she successfully hacked the US phone system and showed that a 17yo could run rings around "orthodox computer designers [who] are among the intellectual elite of our time". Headley operated at the then limits of technological ability long before it was recognised that 'females' could not only be as good as 'males'[citation needed] but superior at computer coding and lateral thinking[citation needed].

Public service[edit]

Headley was elected to public office in California in 1994, as City Clerk of California City.


  1. ^ Bradley Barth (10 July 2017). "Female blackhats". Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  2. ^ Hafner, Katie; Markoff, John (1991). Cyberpunk: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-68322-5.
  3. ^ Hugo Cornwall's New Hacker's Handbook 4th Ed. Century 1990

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