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How Do You Secure a Computer against Attack?

If you want to have fun learning computer security, check out the latest Hacker Wargames.

Some resources that can help you learn how to secure a computer include:

  • Read The Happy Hacker book. It has lots of security tips. Check out the archives at this site, also.
  • Read the Guide to (mostly) Harmless Hacking on War Tools.
  • We've tested Internet Security Systems and their RealSecure software; En Garde Systems and their free TTY-Watcher program; AG Group's EtherPeek and the Sniffit program (available at http://www.rootshell.com), on our wargame.  These programs give fantastic abilities to watch break-in attempts and weird packets and alleged stealth port scan attempts live!  Want to see how EtherPeek can spot a so-called "stealth" port scan from Fyodor's nmap port scanner? Click here!
  • Set up a firewall
  • Learn how to program in Perl. If you have never programmed before, it is amazingly easy to learn, yet one of the most powerful of programming languages. Great tutorials include:


  • Learn how to write, link and compile C programs. Most operating systems are written in C.   Try this link for C programming help.
  • Are you a total newbie at C?  Here's Meinel Christian Cramer's C tutorial. The Happy Hacker book also has a chapter on how to program in C
  • Learn how to install and administer OpenBSD.  Better yet, join the team of volunteers that is constantly improving what is (in our non-humble opinions) the most secure version of Unix we have yet seen.  That's what we for a long time ran on zlliks.505.org, which in 1998 was the Web server for both the 505 and Happy Hacker Web pages.  Once we secured it with Kerberos  so no one could sniff our passwords, no one hacked it!  OpenBSD is designed to prevent buffer overflows from compromising the system -- a super start on security. There are versions of OpenBSD for PCs, Macs, Amiga, Sun SPARC, DEC Alpha and MIPS -- and even Vax!  (Sorry, no SGI version yet.) OpenBSD supports binary emulation of most programs from SVR4 (Solaris), FreeBSD, Linux, BSDI, SunOS, and HPUX.  The OpenBSD 2.2 release is available on two CDROMs for $30 USD + postage.  To order, email Austin Hook, austin@canuck.com.  For more information on OpenBSD, see http://openbsd.org/. Learn how to install and adminster FreeBSD.  It is the operating system of our first two hacker wargame computers, and it held up remarkably well.  It also tends to resist buffer overflows.

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