Netwatch

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PORN PIRATES AND SOFTWARE SMUGGLERS

The discovery of a hard-core-pornography cache at one of three U.S. weapons labs exposed the Internet's steamy underside but mostly drew yawns from experienced Net users. Tens of thousands of illicit computer-porn sites now litter the system; and the cache, uncovered by the Los Angeles Times at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, near San Francisco, so far appears to have been an inside job, started by someone within the lab.

More compelling was a discovery at nearby research lab Lawrence Berkeley, where an outsider apparently slipped into a restricted system, set up a secret file server and loaded it with thousands of dollars' worth of stolen software — like Power Japanese (retail: $395) and the unreleased game Alien Legacy — the L.A. Times found. But if these pirate locations are so secret, how do Net users ever find them? Through Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels that span the Net and elude all but the most determined federal investigators.

Space Watch, Cyberstyle

Space fans eager to join in the moon-landing anniversary celebrations or hear the latest shuttle updates can get news about the space agency on the Net. Use the "finger" resource for nasanews (http://space.mit.edu) Or use Gopher for (http://world.std.com) and choose "News and Weather," then select "NASA News."