July 16, 1998
Inside Happy Hacker Report July 16, 1998
See back issues of the Happy Hacker Digest and Guides to (mostly)
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
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
that computer after a remote root exploit had been found for
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
(available from http://www.engarde.com) while one fellow was
trying to patch
cryptotek. This fellow was having a hard time, so suddenly
su'ed into a root shell and used that power to start typing instructions
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
We later learned he had told the fellow who runs Antionline
(http://antionline.com) that he planned to tamper with the Rt66
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
out on our Wargame will lend you a hand and even share root with
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
looking like lamers.
What I really liked about the game is that some Uberhackers
they are generous, kind and powerful enemies of computer criminals.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
minute a new one pops up -- have phun!
How do you know when a computer is available for you to
Our rule is that anything in the happyhacker.org domain is OK
So how do you identify when something is up in the happyhacker.org
You need the nslookup program. It is available on almost
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
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
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
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
secure is, in the experience of our Wargame, either OpenBSD or
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
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
> ls happyhacker.org
server = mack.rt66.com
server = chili.rt66.com
The computers mack and chili are NOT available for hacking.
after the word "server". That just means they
carry information about what
computers are in the Happy Hacker domain. Only the computers
numbers after them are in the Happy Hacker domain.
Now before you get all excited and think we have four computers
to try to break into, there is one more step you need to take.
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 188.8.131.52
PING 184.108.40.206 (220.127.116.11): 56 data bytes
ping: sendto: Host is down
This is how ping works on koan. On MS-DOS you
Pinging 18.104.22.168 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
~ > 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
zlliks.505.org, which is NOT a happyhacker.org computer.
computers belong to the 505 gang. While they are kind enough
lots of help for Happy Hacker, they are really grouchy about
to break into their computers. I have gotten ever so many
from people who tried to break into zlliks.505.org and lost their
accounts. This is because minor attacks, really lame stuff
attacks, cause an automatic program to email the ISP from which
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
responses. I suggest you NOT experiment with riling up
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
server = mack.rt66.com
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
shell programming, and also working in a place that builds motherboards.
Nevertheless he has taken the time to replace the 486 that used
cryptotek.happyhacker.org with -- an ULTRASPARC2! We expect
muscular version of cryptotek to swagger back into the Wargame
soon. Way to
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
where you can do some lots of really fun stuff such as playing
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
the book, it has lots of URLs to point you to places where you
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
covered strawberries and mint condition Crow comic books.
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
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
(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
http://www.infowar.com. The Infowar site also sells a lot
of rare computer
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).
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
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
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
Important note: if you made the check out to "Happy Hacker,"
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
Infowar.com. They are all well established companies with
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
<email@example.com> and he will notify you of his next IRC
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
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
they call themselves "HappyHacker, Inc." Their
site, last time I visited,
had nothing to do with either happy or hacking, but sure had
simulation of Bill Clinton and Monica doing, um, er, something.
nothing to do with those guys!
A fellow named Brian Martin, who also uses the handles
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.
he turned up on one of Josh Fritsch's Unix lessons on IRC and
helpful. So who knows, Brian might someday become a Happy
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
information in this Digest or at our Web site to commit crime,
Foo on you!
Happy Hacker is a 501 (c) (3) tax deductible organization
United States operating under Shepherd's Fold Ministries. Yes!
all a plot to save your immortal souls!
For Windows questions, please write Roger Prata<firstname.lastname@example.org>;
for Macs, write Strider <Strider@clarityconnect.com>,
and Unix, write Josh Fritsch <email@example.com>
Happy Hacker Digest editor: "Dale Holmes"<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Want a mentor to teach you how to do *legal* hacking? Contact
coordinator Ron Gloetzner, member, Happy Hacker Board of Directors,
Happy Hacker Grand Pooh-bah: Carolyn Meinel <>