What's New!

Chat with

How to Defend
Your Computer 

The Guides
to (mostly) 
Harmless Hacking

Happy Hacker 
Digests (old stuff) 

Hacker Links 


Meet the 
Happy Hacksters 

Help for 



It Sucks 
to Be Me!

How to Commit
Computer Crime (not)! 

What Is a 
Hacker, Anyhow? 

Have a 
Great Life! 

News from the 
Hacker War Front

Carolyn's most
popular book,
in 4th edition now!

For advanced
hacker studies,
read Carolyn's
Google Groups
Subscribe to Happy Hacker
Visit this group

July 16, 1998

Inside Happy Hacker Report July 16, 1998

See back issues of the Happy Hacker Digest and Guides to (mostly) Harmless
Hacking at http://www.Happyhacker.org.
GTMHH en espanol: http://underhack.islatortuga.com

* Hurray for Netmask!
* Hacker Wargame Recent History
* The Wargame Is up Again
* How to Tell When a Wargame Box Goes Online
* Cryptik will Be Back
* Help, I'm a Newbie, Teach Me Step by Step How to Hack
* Hacking Lessons
* What's in a Name?

Hurray for Netmask!

 For months many haxors have tried to prove how elite they are by attempting
to vandalize Rt66 Internet.  However, last week Netmask (netmask@303.org)
showed those haxors what the ethic of a real hacker is.  He found a security
flaw in chili.rt66.com -- someone had forgotten to upgrade Secure Shell on
that computer after a remote root exploit had been found for it.  Netmask
could have used his knowledge to sneak in and vandalize chili to prove how
31337 he is.  However, instead he emailed a Rt66 sysadmin about the problem.
As a result, Netmask made new friends who honored him by praising him in the
logon message for all Rt66 shell account users.
 Netmask is sysadmin of a web site (http://www.303.org) that is not exactly
complimentary to me (Carolyn Meinel).  Despite that, I now have to admit he
is a real hacker.  Way to go, Netmask!

Hacker Wargame Recent History

 We had a lot of fun with the first Wargame computer,
cryptotek.happyhacker.org.  Spagheti was the first winner.  He made me
promise not to reveal his true identity, but he sure was fun to play with!
 When we launched this game, I assumed that any player would want to hog
root all to his or herself.  I was wrong.  At times as many as three people
were sharing root, and working together in a friendly way, monitoring
cryptotek almost around the clock in shifts.
 One day I was sniffing the goings on with the IP-Watcher sniffer program
(available from http://www.engarde.com) while one fellow was trying to patch
cryptotek.  This fellow was having a hard time, so suddenly someone else
su'ed into a root shell and used that power to start typing instructions on
how to do it right on the other fellow's screen.
 The most exciting day was May 8, 1998.  Someone who had root on cryptotek
was taking advantage of it to try to break into the Rt66 domain name server.
We later learned he had told the fellow who runs Antionline
(http://antionline.com) that he planned to tamper with the Rt66 DNS server
so that anyone pointing their Web browser at http://www.happyhacker.org
would instead go to his fake Web page that he had set up on cyptotek.
 Since attacking a Rt66 computer was against the rules of the game, one of
the other guys with root blew the culprit entirely off cryptotek.
 Moral of this story is that if you play politely, the Uberhackers who hang
out on our Wargame will lend you a hand and even share root with you.  Those
who fight dirty will be history.  Those who brag in advance that they will
hack the Happy Hacker Web site or mess with Rt66 will probably end up
looking like lamers.
 What I really liked about the game is that some Uberhackers proved that
they are generous, kind and powerful enemies of computer criminals.  it was
a real privilege to watch them at play.  Of course, these guys deny being
Uberhackers, but that only tells me that the best hackers are also modest.

The Wargame Is Up Again

 The Hacker Wargame is up again: koan.happyhacker.org.  Actually it has been
up since July 1.  We wanted to see how long it would take for people to
realize it is up.  If you were one of the early birds, you would have
discovered it when it was a mere newbie challenge.  However, no one broke in
during those first few days when it was super vulnerable.  Now it has been
upgraded to an intermediate challenge.
 By intermediate we mean it is easy to hack, but not by exploits that you
can download at any hacker websites (that we know of).  You will have to use
your ingenuity.  Yes, it soon will be vulnerable to some remote exploits, so
you don't need a shell account on it to be able to seize control.  For more
details on rules of the game and how to break in, see
 Violators of the rules will suddenly discover that the game is run by
people who are better hackers than they are -- and who have console
access:):)  Remember the fate of the May 8 hacker!;^)
 Koan's sysadmin is Satori, a recent graduate of an Albuquerque area high
school and a sysadmin at Sandia National Laboratories.  The hardware, a 486,
is on loan from the infamous blips, with ethernet card provided by the Happy
Hacker Grand Pooh-bah (me).
 Koan is lots of fun.  I just logged into my shell there and got the message
"Troubled day for virgins over 16 who are beautiful and wealthy and live in
eucalyptus trees."  If you think my sense of humor is bad, try breaking into
koan and see how Satori messes with your head!

How to Tell When a Wargame Box Goes Online

 By now you are probably realizing that if you had spotted koan the first
day it was up, it might have been a mere newbie challenge and you would
probably have root on it by now.  Now quit all that moaning about why didn't
we let you know right away when it was up! If you want a chance at a newbie
box, you have to patiently keep on scanning our network for warboxes.  The
minute a new one pops up -- have phun!
 How do you know when a computer is available for you to legally attack?
Our rule is that anything in the happyhacker.org domain is OK to attack.
 So how do you identify when something is up in the happyhacker.org domain?
You need the nslookup program.  It is available on almost Unix computers.
There are also nslookup programs for Windows, but I'm not going to tell you
where to get them because it should be impossible to break into any of our
wargame computers using programs that run on Windows.  So please don't waste
your time hacking this game from Windows.
 Don't have a shell account?  You can find ISPs that sell shell accounts at
http://www.celestin.com/pocia.  Netcom provides shell accounts with local
dialup numbers in most parts of the US.
 If you live where there are no dial-up shell accounts, you can get one on a
distant ISP and telnet in.  See http://www.happyhacker.org for more
instructions.  Don't email me about how to get a shell account, you can find
lots of answers to your questions in recent Digests and the GTMHHs on shell
 Or -- best of all -- run some form of Unix on your home computer.  If you
are a newbie, probably the easiest to install is Red Hat Linux
(http://www.redhat.com).  Most powerful, IMHO, is Slackware Linux.  Most
secure is, in the experience of our Wargame, either OpenBSD or FreeBSD.
Most compatible is, IMHO, Debian Linux (http://www.debian.com).  If you have
a Power PC, check out the Apple Web site for Mach 10, a Unix for Macs that
Hacker Wargame director Mark Schmitz swears by.
 Assuming you have a shell account (an account on a Unix computer that
allows you to give Unix commands), here's how to see whatever is in the
Happy Hacker domain (stuff after the ">"s are the commands you will give):

~ > nslookup
Default Server:  mack.rt66.com
Address:  198.59.999.1

> ls happyhacker.org
 happyhacker.org.               server = mack.rt66.com
 happyhacker.org.               server = chili.rt66.com

 The computers mack and chili are NOT available for hacking.  They come
after the word "server".  That just means they carry information about what
computers are in the Happy Hacker domain.  Only the computers which have
numbers after them are in the Happy Hacker domain.
 Now before you get all excited and think we have four computers available
to try to break into, there is one more step you need to take.  These are
merely IP addresses we have assigned.  There may not be a live computer
behind each of these numbers.  Your next step is to ping these numbers to
see if anything answers back.  In your shell account, or in Win 95 or Win 98
MS-DOS while online, give the command:

~ > ping
PING ( 56 data bytes
ping: sendto: Host is down

 This is how ping works on koan.  On MS-DOS you may get:


Pinging with 32 bytes of data:

Request timed out.

What Not to Attack

 You probably figured out that our ISP, Rt66.com, is NOT OK to attack.  If
you try to break into Rt66 you are breaking the law.
 The Happy Hacker website also is not OK to attack.  Despite its name, it is
NOT in the Happy Hacker domain.  Here's an easy way you can tell.

~ > ftp www.happyhacker.org
Connected to zlliks.505.org.
220 zlliks FTP server (Version 5.60) ready.

 As you can see, ftp discovers that www.happyhacker.org is on
zlliks.505.org, which is NOT a happyhacker.org computer.  All 505.org
computers belong to the 505 gang.  While they are kind enough to volunteer
lots of help for Happy Hacker, they are really grouchy about people trying
to break into their computers.  I have gotten ever so many anguished emails
from people who tried to break into zlliks.505.org and lost their Internet
accounts.  This is because minor attacks, really lame stuff like phf
attacks, cause an automatic program to email the ISP from which the attack
came alerting its sysadmins that someone tried to break in, and sends a log
of the attack.  From this log the ISP is able to tell who was the culprit
and will often kick him or her off.
 People who try more sophisticated illegal attacks get even more interesting
responses.  I suggest you NOT experiment with riling up 505.
 Just to be sure you don't accidentally attack a 505 gang computer, here is
how to tell which belong to them:

~ > nslookup
Default Server:  mack.rt66.com

> ls 505.org
 505.org.                       server = mack.rt66.com
 505.org.                       server = chili.rt66.com

Cryptik will Be Back

 Those of you who miss Cryptik and his Wargame box,
cryptotek.happyhacker.org, will be glad to hear he will soon be back in the
game.  He recently moved from Albuquerque to Sunnyvale where he has been
busy finishing high school a year early, taking a college course in advanced
shell programming, and also working in a place that builds motherboards.
Nevertheless he has taken the time to replace the 486 that used to host
cryptotek.happyhacker.org with -- an ULTRASPARC2!  We expect this new,
muscular version of cryptotek to swagger back into the Wargame soon.  Way to
go, Cryptik!

Help, I'm a Newbie, Teach Me Step by Step How to Hack

 I get email asking me this all the time.  Here's what I tell all these
guys.  Buy "The Happy Hacker" book.  It is NOT a printed version of the
GTMHHs.  It is all new writing, and has lots of screen shots.  It takes you
step by step, chapter by chapter, all the way from being a pure beginner to
where you can do some lots of really fun stuff such as playing the hacker
wargame.  In fact, three of the editors of The Happy Hacker book are helping
run the Hacker Wargame.  When you get good enough to master everything in
the book, it has lots of URLs to point you to places where you can begin
advanced study and even tells how to win a mentor who will help you make it
to the top if you work hard and buy him or her lots of pizza and chocolate
covered strawberries and mint condition Crow comic books.  Spagheti is
especially partial to Crow comics.
 How do you get "The Happy Hacker"?  I've gotten a number of complaints
about it being hard to get.  Here are the best I've found:

1) Cheap: get it from your local bookstore for $29.95 plus any local sales
tax.  They probably won't have it on their shelf, but can usually order it.
Barnes and Noble has it in their warehouse.  If your local bookstore doesn't
have it, tell them they can get it from American Eagle, 800-719-4957
(outside the US dial US country code plus 520-367-1621).
2) Cheapest: get together with some friends and talk American Eagle
(800-719-4957) into selling a bunch of the books to you wholesale.
3) Buy it with a credit card on the Web at either http://www.amazon.com or
http://www.infowar.com.  The Infowar site also sells a lot of rare computer
security books.
4) Fastest: In the US, buy it directly from me (Carolyn Meinel) by sending a
check for $34.95 (That's $29.95 plus $5 shipping and handling).  This gets
it to you by 2nd day priority US mail.  By contract I'm not allowed to sell
it for less than other folks such as Infowar, which also charges $34.95 for
shipment by priority mail.  But I have the book in stock all the time, and
sometimes Infowar runs out.
5) Buy it directly over the phone with a credit card at American Eagle,
800-719-4957 (outside the US dial US country code plus 520-367-1621).
 If you have ordered the Happy Hacker book and not gotten it after several
weeks, please let me know.  I can help find the problem faster if you tell
me who you bought the book from and where and when your check was deposited.
Important note: if you made the check out to "Happy Hacker," guess what,
more than one person has sold it under that name.  Be sure to tell me the
mail or email address to which you sent your money.
 We have not had any problems with American Eagle, Amazon.com or
Infowar.com.  They are all well established companies with good reputations.

Hacking Lessons

 Want someone to hold your hand on IRC while you learn to hack?  You are out
of luck.  However, if you want to learn Unix well enough so you can have a
chance of winning the Hacker Wargame, email Joshua Fritsch
<derr@idworld.net> and he will notify you of his next IRC Unix lesson.

What's in a Name?

 Speaking of more than one person getting people to write out checks to
Happy Hacker and depositing them in their personal checking accounts --
guess what, this name isn't trademarked.  Anyone can call themselves Happy
Hacker.  The only way you can tell us from the others is that we have a
better sense of humor and own happyhacker.org.
 For example, if you go to http://www.happyhacker.com, you will discover
they call themselves "HappyHacker, Inc."  Their site, last time I visited,
had nothing to do with either happy or hacking, but sure had an X-rated
simulation of Bill Clinton and Monica doing, um, er, something.  We have
nothing to do with those guys!
 A fellow named Brian Martin, who also uses the handles jericho, DisordeR,
Damien Sorder and dis, owns the domain name happy-hacker.org.  He also has
no role in our Happy Hacker.
 However, when he isn't flaming me he often asks me to please let him be an
editor of my upcoming GTMHHs.  I actually kind of like Brian when I'm not
flaming him, and a long time ago he helped with two of the GTMHHs. Recently
he turned up on one of Josh Fritsch's Unix lessons on IRC and was quite
helpful.  So who knows, Brian might someday become a Happy Hacker regular
volunteer.  But he isn't one yet:)

 That's all for now.  Have fun and hack happy!  Just don't rile 505, OK?

This is a list devoted to *legal* hacking! If you plan to use any
information in this Digest or at our Web site to commit crime, go away!
Foo on you!

Happy Hacker is a 501 (c) (3) tax deductible organization in the
United States operating under Shepherd's Fold Ministries. Yes! This is
all a plot to save your immortal souls!

For Windows questions, please write Roger Prata<rprata@cmeinel.com>;
for Macs, write Strider <Strider@clarityconnect.com>,
and Unix, write Josh Fritsch <derr@txdirect.net>
Happy Hacker Digest editor: "Dale Holmes"<editor@cmeinel.com>
Want a mentor to teach you how to do *legal* hacking?  Contact mentor
coordinator Ron Gloetzner, member, Happy Hacker Board of Directors, at
Happy Hacker Grand Pooh-bah: Carolyn Meinel <>

 © 2013 Happy Hacker All rights reserved.