Negative Effects of Mass Media

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Hacking for Dummies

Contents of Volume 2:
Internet for Dummies
Linux!
Introduction to TCP/IP
Port Surfing!
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GUIDE TO (mostly) HARMLESS HACKING
Vol. 2 Number 1
Internet for Dummies -- skip this if you are a Unix wizard. But if you read on you’ll get some more kewl hacking instructions. ____________________________________________________________

The six Guides to (mostly) Harmless Hacking of Vol. 1 jumped immediately into how-to hacking tricks. But if you are like me, all those details of probing ports and playing with hypotheses and pinging down hosts gets a little dizzying. So how about catching our breath, standing back and reviewing what the heck it is that we are playing with? Once we get the basics under control, we then can move on to serious hacking. Also, I have been wrestling with my conscience over whether to start giving you step-by-step instructions on how to gain root access to other peoples’ computers. The little angel on my right shoulder whispers, “Gaining root without permission on other people’s computers is not nice. So don’t tell people how to do it.” The little devil on my left shoulder says, “Carolyn, all these hackers think you don’t know nothin’! PROOVE to them you know how to crack!” The little angel says, “If anyone reading Guide to (mostly) Harmless Hacking tries out this trick, you might get in trouble with the law for conspiracy to damage other peoples’ computers.” The little devil says, “But, Carolyn, tell people how to crack into root and they will think you are KEWL!” So here’s the deal. In this and the next few issues of Guide to (mostly) Harmless Hacking I’ll tell you several ways to get logged on as the superuser in the root account of some Internet host computers. But the instructions will leave a thing or two to the imagination. My theory is that if you are willing to wade through all this, you probably aren’t one of those cheap thrills hacker wannabes who would use this knowledge to do something destructive that would land you in jail. *****************************

Technical tip: If you wish to become a *serious* hacker, you’ll need Linux (a freeware variety of Unix) on your PC. One reason is that then you can crack into root legally all you want -- on your own computer. It sure beats struggling around on someone else’s computer only to discover that what you thought was root was a cleverly set trap and the sysadmin and FBI laugh at you all the way to jail. Linux can be installed on a PC with as little as a 386 CPU, only 2 Mb RAM and as little as 20 MB of hard disk. You will need to reformat your hard disk. While some people have successfully installed Linux without trashing their DOS/Windows stuff, don’t count on getting away with it. Backup, backup, backup! *****************************

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You can go to jail warning: Crack into root on someone else’s computer and the slammer becomes a definite possibility. Think about this: when you see a news story about some hacker getting busted, how often do you recognize the name? How often is the latest bust being done to someone famous, like Dark Tangent or se7en or Emmanuel Goldstein? How about, like, never! That’s because really good hackers figure out how to not do stupid stuff. They learn how to crack into computers for the intellectual challenge and to figure out how to make computers safe from intruders. They don’t bull their way into root and make a mess of things, which tends to inspire sysadmins to call the cops. *********************************

Exciting notice: Is it too boring to just hack into your own Linux machine? Hang in there. Ira Winkler of the National Computer Security Association, Dean Garlick of the Space Dynamics Lab of Utah State University and I are working on setting up hack.net, a place where it will be legal to break into computers. Not only...
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