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Nov. 1997 Digests November 13, 1997



 * R.J. Gosselin  -- "We can't unsubscribe you"
  * R.J. Gosselin  -- "Guide To Social Engineering" Pt 1
     "Blah-Blah Bank"
 * Posts, Questions & Answers


** "We can't unsubscribe you"

I have been getting several messages each day asking to unscubscribe from
the "HH Chat List".  I really wish I could comply -- but, as indicated in
both our "Warning and Apology" email and the last Happy Hacker Digest - we
have no affiliation whatsoever with the other list.  According to Jesse
Brown, the "HH" in HH Chat stands for "Hacker Heretic".

Somehow or other it seems as though *someone* with root access to Jesse's
machine added my email address into the routing of the majordomo, so I get
a copy of everything -- in and out. [No, I have no idea how .... Really!
;-)] From the message traffic I have been getting, it seems as though Jesse
and his crew are having a real tough time unsubscribing people from their
list. I must admit that I find it really funny that this "3l33t haxxor" is
having a hard time managing something as "complex" as unsubscribe on a
majordomo!  Oh well.

My only advice for all of you who want to unsubscribe to his list would be
to try any or all of the following:

A- Email the majordomo to unsubscribe.
 If that's not sucessful, then
B- Try email directly to him. [bextreme@pobox.com]
 If no response, he may be having email problems, so
C- Try calling him. [(805) 945-0139]
 I don't think he'd mind; he's really a nice kid.

Wish I could be more help.

** "Guide To Social Engineering" Pt 1 -- R.J. Gosselin


If you would like to download the entire text of "EXTERNAL THREATS TO
COMPUTER SECURITY IN NETWORKED SYSTEMS" - it is available online from Winn
Schwartau's InfoWar Web Bookstore.  The URL is www.infowar.com.  Select
"Bookstore" from the main page, then "Bookstore" from the On-Line
Department Store Page.  My book is on the top of the list.

~~~~~~ Comments About "External Threats ..." ~~~~~~~~~~~

"Blew My Socks OFF!" -- Carolyn Meinel

"Let me tell you something, I'm going to find "Tin Man". I'll go after her,
I'll even go after you if I have to. But she broke the law and I'm going to
see that she gets caught!"
(Name Suppressed), President, "Blah-Blah Bank" (See Below). By the way,
Blah Blah Bank insists that the incident related in this book absolutely
and unequivocally never happened.
  ------   That's why they want to catch "Tin Man".


Deep access to controlled information is sometimes unwittingly given by
those who have been given authorized access, but have not been trained in
the need to exercise caution and prudence.  This section provides a
detailed account of just such a situation, and details how deep access was
given by several individuals employed by a regional financial institution
unwittingly working in concert with one another.  The lesson which I hope
to drive home by the retelling of the incident is this:


The above statement applies, as shall be demonstrated, no matter how
"insignificant" the information might seem to be, nor  how "trusted" the
individual to whom it is given is assumed to be.  While it may certainly be
true that the information provided seems to be of absolutely no
consequence, it may gain significant consequence when combined with
information which is either readily obtainable, or may have already been
surreptitiously obtained.  While a particular end user might feel as though
the person with whom they are conversing is "obviously" supposed to have a
certain piece of data, providing them with that data may be akin to
unlocking the front door.

I am acquainted with an individual who, interestingly enough considering
her gender,  enjoys using  the moniker "Tin Man".  For purely innocuous
reasons , she was attempting to identify which phone numbers in a
particular block would be answered by a modem.  Her system was running a
particular type of software called a "war dialer", which is easily
available from any of several internet locations.  Software of this type is
designed to  perform the following actions:

 1) Dial the first number from a specified list
 2) Determine if that number
  a) Went unanswered
  b) Was not in service
  c) Was answered by an person
  d) Was answered by a computer
 3) Move to the next number in the sequence
 4) At the conclusion of the list,  report numbers answered by computers

Once she had been provided with this list of computer -answered numbers,
she proceeded to dial these numbers and attempt to identify to whom these
systems belonged, what type of entity they served, how they might be used,
etc.  This was gathering of information for the sake of the knowledge and
experience to be gained, with no malevolent intent whatsoever.

It is probably worth noting that at this stage of her "career", "Tin Man"
was what is commonly called in these circles a "newbie".  She had almost no
experience at external system access, but she had undertaken the
development of skills in this area as a personal challenge for purely
academic reasons.  "Tin Man" was simply interested in determining the level
of difficulty one might reasonably be expected to face in accessing a
system to which she was supposed to have no access.  She had availed
herself of several internet-provided articles on this topic, but at that
point, she had not developed any significant skills in this area.

Despite her inexperience, she found most of her calls to these numbers
provided her relatively little challenge. (This is a area that would be
most interesting in and of itself, if I were to discuss the other places to
which she was able to gain access.  But that is outside of the point I am
detailing here.)  Among the several places she was able to gain access,
there was one number, however, which simply provided a cryptic "logon:"
prompt.  None of the standard techniques which may have been expected to
cause the system to provide some information about itself seemed to have
any effect whatsoever. This system, whatever it was, simply and
unceremoniously disconnected her after each failed logon attempt.  This
ignominious little prompt, which refused to give her any information,
became her "pet project".   She deliberately set about on a course of
action to "win" the challenge presented her by the silent and uncooperative

Here is necessary to note, by way of explanation,  that businesses with
more than one phone line frequently obtain blocks of phone numbers from the
local phone company.  They may then choose to have only certain of these
numbers published, and sometimes only the main number.  Commonly, they rely
either on a rollover switch at the phone company or on a rotation feature
of their phone system to handle the routing of incoming calls to other
lines, as necessary.  However, if you dial these other, non-published
numbers directly, it is a simple thing to test your theory of ownership by
listening as they answer the phone, since they will have no way of knowing
you have bypasses their rotation and dialed directly and will answer with
their typical greeting.  So if you are trying to determine who owns (505)
327-1558, and you are able to determine that the phone number for a large
business is (505) 327-1555, it is a relatively safe bet that the business
owns 1556, 1557, 1558, and perhaps several more numbers.  Point noted, back
to our primary illustration.

It was a relatively trivial matter for "Tin Man" to consult a reverse
directory and determine the probable ownership of the number. That
particular phone number, though unlisted itself, would have followed in
numerical sequence immediately after a series that apparently belonged to a
small, local bank.  The bank had only one number listed to them, but
afterwards there was a "space" of four "missing" numbers.  This was
followed by an inconsequential residential listing.  That the modem
belonged to the Blah-Blah Bank could readily be inferred within a few
moments by calls to the three other numbers in the rotation. The three
closest numbers to our recalcitrant dial-up system were each cheerily
answered "Blah-Blah Bank, may I help you?".  The fourth number could now
reasonably be assumed to belong to them as well.

Our heroine then needed to concoct a plan to gather as much information as
she could about the target system.  She decided that it was time to employ
one of the most common (and yet also one of the least suspected) tools used
against unsuspecting end users - Social Engineering.  This skill is
practiced far more often than anyone would like to believe, and is highly

Posing as an individual employed by Banking Technology, or some other
suitably impressive name she had made up, "Tin Man" phoned various branches
of the Blah-Blah Bank and proceeded to ask several "survey questions" about
the equipment the used to support external dial-in services for their
branches. It was indicated that the results of the survey would be
appearing in an upcoming issue. Given her position with such a prestigious
periodical, she was warmly and congenially provided with, among other
things,  the make and model of the particular piece of hardware which was
so determined to keep her and all others outside of the sacred, secure
areas of their depositors records.

Having been provided with the key piece of information she needed, "Tin
Man" then visited the internet site of the manufacturer of this particular
piece of hardware. Once there she learned several key pieces of
information, not the least of which was that this fine vendor was pleased
to provide their valued clients with online technical support.  A few days
later, having read and learned a great deal about the operations of this
particular piece of equipment, she once again phoned the Blah-Blah Bank.
This time "Tin Man" was conducting no survey, she was responding to a
"reported problem" with one of the bank's computers.  A computer which just
happened to be connected to the offending guardian of the door.

As anyone who has worked in an automated environment knows all too well,
someone within the organization is always having problems with something on
their computer.  These problems are frequently lamented while standing next
to fax machines, coffee makers and all manner of office equipment.  So when
"Tin Man" phoned and represented herself as being from the phone support
team for the particular piece of equipment in question, she was immediately
told that Mr. Jackson had been having problems with his system, and they
promptly forwarded her to his extension.  As it turns out, Mr. Jackson was
a Vice President with Blah-Blah Bank. (A fact which almost caused "Tin Man"
to abandon her efforts.)  Mr. Jackson wasn't at all sure what was causing
his particular problem, and (come to think of it) didn't even recall asking
his secretary to phone for support; but he was certainly pleased at the
prompt response of their support team.  After he finished describing his
problem to "Tin Man", she began to assist him in performing some diagnostic
steps.  After several minutes had been spent building his confidence, "Tin
Man" determined that she would not able to help him "off-line", but offered
to dial into their equipment attempt to reproduce the problem on her
system.  At this point Mr. Jackson, thrilled with the level of support
provided by their company, promptly provided his Username and Password for
use by the helpful "technician".

Dialing into the modem port thus armed, "Tin Man" was now given a warm
welcome by the system; and every option available to Vice President Jackson
was presented to her.  These included  the ability to initiate account
inquiries, balance inquiries, and electronic wiring of funds!

 "Tin Man" had reached the Emerald City of Oz!

The crowning touch was a classic one. Now that she had gained access, she
proceeded to provide Mr. Jackson with the solution she had known all along.
 The end result of this conversation was that, not only did Mr. Jackson say
he was quite satisfied with the solution, but he indicated that he was very
pleased to have had it provided by such a pleasant and knowledgeable
service technician. He hung up the phone without ever realizing that he had
just compromised the financial security of every depositor at Blah-Blah
Bank.  A phone call to the bank's modem line a week later confirmed that
Mr. Jackson had not changed his password! In light of this, "Tin Man"
declared victory to be hers.  Ever the honorable victor, she consigned her
notes to her fireplace that evening during a celebratory dinner during
which her husband was treated to the details of the conquest.

 -- RJ
** Posts, Questions & Answers

We have had several questions related to Denial Of Service Attacks (DOS).
Hans Husman, a student in the Department of Scientific Computing, Uppsala
University (Sweden) has an excellent DOS tutorial and FAQ. Readers of this
digest have been given permission to run his denial of service tutortial at

**FTP HELP INFO (Anonymous)
I was reading your file: gtmhh_bs23.txt from the X-Treme archive.
I noticed your remarks on the DOS "ftp" program, and thought you
might be interested in this.
 To get help on Dos ftp:
1)At the DOS prompt in /windows, type "ftp"
2)Type '?' or 'help' and return.
3)For specific commands, type '?' or 'help' followed by the command.
4)Typing '!' shells out to windows, but leaves the program active.
 you won't be able to close the program unless you re-enter
 the ftp shell by typing 'exit' and 'quit' the ftp program.
 Windows(95, anyway) won't be able to close the DOS window
 unless you've exited ftp using quit rather than shelling
 out.  Typing 'ftp' while shelled out to windows starts a
 second instance of 'ftp.exe' in active memory, and you'll
 have to quit out of BOTH of them if you want to close
 the window without the OS whining about lost information.

    I'm working on a project for a programming class... a unix password
cracker (like CrakerJack, etc...) web page applet written in Java (yes, I do
realize how slow and stupid this is).  The problem I am running into is that
nowhere can I find any reference material relating to the one-way algorithm
unix uses to encrypt algorithms.  Have you ever run across any documentation
or papers written that exactly describe how this algorithm in implemented in
unix.  If you know of anything or anyone that could be of help off the top
of your head, I'd GREATLY appreciate it.  Thank you very much!

Editor's Note - Post reply's to with subject "HH Post"

(Question was "How can I find out someone's IP address if it is being
dynamically assigned by their ISP?")

About those Dynamic IP addresses.  All you would have to do is telnet on to
the server that they are logged in from and telnet to the finger port (79).
Then figure out if they are logged in by hitting enter to get a list of
all the people on at the time.  It should on the right hand side of the
list, say where they are logged in from (the IP address they are logged in
from). Hope this was some help.

Another point, if someone is p***ing you off on a *nix box and you know
their user name, give them this command.

telnet localhost 19|write (target)

This will only work if the person has messages on and is a dumb ***.
What this does is pipe the chargen which makes Ascii characters show up in
rows on the screen flood their screen and make it so they can't do
anything.  Like a personal freezeup.

**LINUX/freeBSD QUESTION (From: Bill Catone <<cwil1757@uriacc.uri.edu>)
i have linux and freeBSD on a a disc . .but other people use my computer
and would kill me if i changed OS's. can i run two?

Yes, Bill - LINUX has dual boot information in the readme file on the CD.
I'm not certain, but I beleive the freeBSD CD also has the same.  You will
need a separate logical drive for the *nix partition - or at least I did.

**PRE-1985 WOMEN HACKERS (From: "Paul N. Edwards" <<pedwards@pcd.stanford.edu)

{Note from Carolyn --
Paul Edwards is an interesting and nice guy who wrote a good book on the
early history of AI entitled "The Closed World".  His new project concerns
women hackers, and he's looking for relevant information and potential
interviewees.  I'd much appreciate if you could forward this to anyone who
might be able to help him.}

I'm a historian of technology. Most of my work concerns the political,
social, and cultural history of computers and their uses. Members of this
list may know my book The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of
Discourse in Cold War America (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996). More
information about me is available on WWW at the URL below.

I'm now working on a historical article about women hackers, based largely
on email and telephone interviews. The purpose of the article is to
investigate myths and realities surrounding the role of women in computing,
especially during the 1960s and 1970s, when most authors have argued that
hacking was more or less exclusively male. As I've met more and more women
recently who describe themselves as hackers, I've become interested in the
particular experiences of the small minority of hackers who were female.
(NB: I am purposely leaving the definition of the term up to respondents.)

I'd like to hear from women who fit any of the following categories:
1) self-identified hackers;
2) women who have had extensive involvement with hacker communities in some
way, while not necessarily identifying as hackers; and
3) women computer professionals who have done serious thinking about the
gender roles of hackers.

I'm especially (but not exclusively) interested in women whose experience
dates from the period prior to 1985. I would like to interview as many of
you as possible, either by telephone, or by email. I've prepared a short
(but broad) questionnaire that can be the basis for either oral or written
responses. Interviews can be confidential, if desired.

I'm also looking for:
4) documents relating to women hackers. These might include, for example,
old email, other correspondence, newsgroup postings, or published
literature. Again, I'm primarily but not exclusively interested in the
period before 1985.

Hope you'll be interested. I will be happy to send you a copy of the
questionnaire or to interview you by phone. It would also be helpful to
have names/emails of other women who might be willing to participate.

Paul N. Edwards
Senior Research Scholar and Lecturer
Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Stanford University
Director, Information Technology & Society Project


Is there anyway to find out who sends an anonymous mail from
www.hotmail.com, or is it simply impossible?

[Carolyn: to trace it would require that Hotmail keep logs of its users. I
don't know if it does so. But if push were to come to shove and the FBI turned
up with a search warrant, what do you want to bet that a user would get
traced? This happened to the anon.penet.fi server when the Church of
Scientology wanted to bust someone for emailing secret church documents
through that anonymous server.]

i have access to SYSUAF.DAT the password file in a vms system (with
permission of course). I have been trying to use kermit to download the file
but am undable to due to permissions. how can i change permissions or copy
the file to my local machine? any other advise will be much appreciated.

and include a 'HH' in the subject
header somewhere. Your posts are the lifeblood of the Digest; keep 'em coming!
But, please don't send us anything you wouldn't email to your friendly
Neighborhood narc, OK?

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R.J. Gosselin, Sr.                rjg@computersource1.com
Network Security Analyst
Editor-In-Chief - Happy Hacker List
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