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 More how to get a good shell account...

How to Tell Whether Your Shell Account Is any Good for Hacking

Alas, not all shell accounts are created equal. Your ISP may have decided to cripple your budding hacker career by forbidding your access to important tools. But you absolutely must have access to the top ten tools listed above. In addition, you will need tools to explore both your ISP's local area network (LAN) and the Internet. So in the spirit of being Supreme Arbiter of Haxor Kewl, here are my:

Ten Meinel Hall of Fame LAN and Internet Exploration Tools

1) telnet <hostname> <port number or name>
If your shell account won't let you telnet into any port you want either on its LAN or the Internet, you are totally crippled as a hacker. Dump your ISP now!

2) who
Shows you who else is currently logged in on your ISP's LAN. Other good commands to explore the other users on your LAN are "w," "rwho, " "users."

3) netstat
All sorts of statistics on your LAN, including all Internet connections. For real fun, try "netstat -r" to see the kernel routing table. However, jericho warns "Be careful. I was teaching a friend the basics of summing up a Unix system and I told her to do that and 'ifconfig'. She was booted off the system
the next day for 'hacker suspicion' even though both are legitimate commands for users."

4) whois <hostname>
Get lots of information on Internet hosts outside you LAN.

5) nslookup
Get a whole bunch more information on other Internet hosts.

6) dig
Even more info on other Internet hosts. Nslookup and dig are not redundant. Try to get a shell account that lets you use both.

7) finger
Not only can you use finger inside your LAN. It will sometimes get you valuable information about users on other Internet hosts.

8) ping
Find out if a distant computer is alive and run diagnostic tests -- or just plain be a meanie and clobber people with pings. (I strongly advise *against* using ping to annoy or harm others.)

9) traceroute
Kind of like ping with attitude. Maps Internet connections, reveals routers and boxes running firewalls.

10) ftp
Use it to upload and download files to and from other computers.

If you have all these tools, you're in great shape to begin your hacking career. Stay with your ISP. Treat it well.

Once you get your shell account, you will probably want to supplement the "man" command with a good Unix book . Jericho recommends _Unix in a Nutshell_ published by O'Reilly. "It is the ultimate Unix command reference, and only costs 10 bucks. O'Reilly r00lz."

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