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More on Telnet: the Number One Hacker Tool

A quick search of the Bugtraq archives at http://www.securityfocus.com revealed horrid things a criminal could do to that Mercur mail server. Since I think it is more fun to be nice, I told someone at the company using this mail server about the problems. He invited me to vacation at his beautiful Swiss home, where he and his wife keep horses and take long trail rides in the Alps. Golly, that is much more fun than breaking into a computer!

Right about now some elite ueberhaxorz are probably reading this and saying "What a lamer Meinel is! We can do the same thing by running nmap."

They are right, you can learn the same things by running a port scanning program such as nmap (available at http://www.insecure.org). However, I am quite careful about under what circumstances I run any port scanner. In order to get information on what programs are running on what ports, you must run a port scanner in a mode that will probably convince the owner of the victim computer that you are a criminal. He or she may persuade your online service provider to cancel your account.

The other reason to analyze computers using telnet is that you learn more. It's the difference between eating at McDonalds and learning how to cook.

How to Break into Web Sites Using Telnet

You don't have to use a web browser to access files on a web site. All you need to do is:

telnet <victimcomputer> 80

Or specify port 80 in a Windows telnet.

If you are using Windows 95/98/NT, whenever you are NOT logging into a telnet account, you should enable local echo. Otherwise whatever you type in (unless you are in a telnet account) will not show on the screen. To enable local echo, click Terminal --> Preferences --> Local Echo.

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