How to Be a Hero in
School Computer Lab
This is a recently (May 2000) revised
chapter based upon a chapter in the fourth edition of The
Happy Hacker book.
They came for Daniel Gilkerson in the middle of class. He
knew why. He was the school uberhacker.
But Daniel wasn't worried. He figured it would turn out to
be good news, and he was right. They had come to to ask him for
help with the Rio Rancho High School computer system. Seven hundred
computers and all networked.
Within days he had found one simple hack that was key to disabling
all the Win95 boxes on their NT server system. On bootup, when
the login screen appears, don't enter the password. Hold down
the control key and hit the escape key (or, if the computer has
a "hot" key, hit that). This brings up a task window.
Click on "run" and you can run any program on that
computer. You can edit and get rid of any controls, including
the NT Server's "Policy Editor," which is supposed
to control what what programs students can run.
You've probably heard of lots of kids getting in big trouble
for hacking school computers. Yet others, like Daniel, are also
hackers, but end up being heroes. What makes the difference?
In this Chapter you will learn how to:
This chapter will give you some tips for safely proving just
how good you are, and maybe even showing your hacker teacher
buddies a thing or two. Best of all, this chapter can help you
become another hacker hero--to your teachers.
But I would feel really bad if someone were to use the tips
this chapter to mess up his or her life.
You can mess up your life warning: In
most countries kids don't have nearly the legal protections that
adults have. If you get involved in a hacker gang at school and
you guys get caught, you can easily get expelled from school
or even arrested. Even if the authorities don't have good proof
of your guilt. Even if you are innocent. Arghhh!
First task of this chapter, then, is how to find teachers
would love to play hacker games with you and give you free run
of the school's computer systems. Whoa, you say, now this is
some social engineering challenge! But actually this isn't that
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