June 30, 1999
Visit the Happy Hacker site at http://www.happyhacker.org
Crackers vs. Feds -- who's winning? http://antionline.com
Table of Contents
* What happened to the Happy Hacker IRC server?
* Wargame improvements coming up
* Looking for a mentor? Try Foomentor!
* Hacker friendly shell accounts
* What is a real hacker?
* Microsoft threat to national security?
*** What Happened to the Happy Hacker IRC Server?
By mutual agreement with Schematic, we have taken down
the Happy Hacker IRC
server. Another volunteer who has more of a taste for
the thankless job of
coordinating the moderators will be providing a new computer
to handle the
job. We thank Schematic and his fellow moderators for
managing to keep the IRC
server reasonably flame free for so long so people could
use it for learning
about white hat hacking.
Unfortunately, the people at http://attrition.org have
run a news story on our
IRC server which is seriously misinformed.
Most importantly, that story claims that the Happy Hacker
IRC server was a
public server. This is not true. If you go to
can look up who runs Happyhacker.org. Click on "whois
search" on the left hand
menu. When you ask about happyhacker.org, you will
see that Chris at
sage-inc.com is the technical contact, and I (Carolyn Meinel)
administrative contact. What that means is we are NOT
a public utility of some
sort that people can use and abuse as they see fit.
We provide the War Room
and T1, and we decide how our resources will be used.
Also, the Attrition.org article was quite insulting to
However, he was only telling the truth when he reminded the
moderators that they needed to do a better job of handling
people when they
behaved badly. If we want talented hackers to visit
our IRC server and train
people for free, we need to treat everyone politely.
If we run the place like
a barroom brawl, soon only trash will hang out on our IRC
In general, anything that makes lots of people raise a
big fuss will cause us
to take action. It isn't easy getting support for our
operation. Price out
renting a 20x15 office and a T1 and you will see what we
must deal with. We
could easily be totally shut down, with no notice, if our
backers ever decide
Happyhacker.org isn't worth their support. In fact,
we won't support Happy
Hacker, either, unless we beleive this is a worthwhile project.
We are the only public wargame that allows winners to
keep control of our
Internet hosts. There is a BIG reason that we are the
only ones. It is
because we work hard to avoid even the appearance of promoting
especially juvenile crime. To do this we must behave
politely and treat those
who support our activities just as well as we would treat
So where can you go to get a public IRC channel where
people talk about our
Hacker Wargame? Try #koan on Undernet. While
this channel, too, is moderated,
it is not moderated by us. So if you don't like how
it is run, don't flame
us! It is still up and none of us at Happyhacker.org
have any plans to
interfere with it. Happyhacker.org has never moderated that
channel and never
intends to moderate it.
For those who don't like to waste time waiting for flaming
to end and teaching
to begin on #koan on Undernet, we will have our IRC server
back up soon, with a
different set of moderators.
*** Wargame Improvements Coming Up
We've had a lot of complaints about koan.happyhacker.org
being down most of the
time. Unfortunately none of the Wargame players were
able to fix the denial of
service attack problems that kept on crashing it. So
some of the Wargame
administrators will be rebuilding it so you can have fun
again with the guest
account with the really stupid password. Meanwhile,
you can still have fun by
telnetting into thirdpig.com, and attacking our Happy Hacker
Meyer.happyhackr.org is still running its popular beta account,
and the Cisco
router, dmz.happyhacker.org, still lets you in if you can
guess its password
that is fined up beyond all recognition.
*** Looking for a Mentor? Try Foomentor!
From: "ForEver Phreaker" <email@example.com>
Subject: New Mailing List.
Hey Carolyn, I am just sending you a short note to tell
you about a new mailing
list I am starting for newbie hackers, It's in the same spirit
and I thought that you could possibly mention it in one of
the digests or if
anyone writes to you looking for a mentor, the mailing list
will be named
FooMentor and is just basically a cut down version of the
happy hacker list
mainly aimed but not completely towards Windows Users. I
already have a few
people I am 'Mentoring' who are interested. If you wish to
include it in any
digests then please feel free.
*** Hacker Friendly Shell Accounts!
Having trouble finding a mentor? Do you want to learn
how to use a Unix type
operating system? Do you want tech support from
the man who first created
Koan.happyhacker.org and its infamous guest account with
the really stupid
password? Want someone to help you big time with playing
the Hacker Wargame?
We soon will open an Internet Service Provider (cmeinel.com)
running on an
OpenBSD (a type of Unix) server and offering shell accounts.
Of course we will
NOT train people in computer crime. But we are happy
to teach people the
basics of legal, harmless hacking.
True, some people think someone should give them free
shell accounts and free
one-on-one training in hacking. There are lots of places
to look for this sort
of free stuff. However, normally hackers get really,
really nasty when someone
comes around begging for free stuff and not offering anything
in return. I
have had great experiences by first making friends, then
giving them copies of
my books, taking them out for pizza, that sort of thing.
However, not everyone is lucky enough to find a mentor,
no many how pizzas you
buy. Even if you do find a mentor, I have nevertheless
often paid money for
shell accounts -- even when I had free ones, too. That's
because I meet great
people on commercial ISPs that offer shell accounts, both
staff and fellow
customers. So if you still want to learn how to be
a Unix wizard, if you want
to learn how to have a chance of becoming a Hacker Wargame
winner, and if this
is important enough to you to pay the people who are working
so hard to make
this happen, please email for details.
*** What Is a Real Hacker?
So many people nowadays think a hacker is *only* someone
who breaks into
computers. No way! Some people break into computers
simply because they found
a poorly defended computer and a program they could run to
break in. That
isn't even hacking -- it's just running software. Big
Following is a story about a REAL hacker.
From: "Prescott Ken" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Death of a Hacker
I first heard of you on rec.aviation.military NG back
in 1994-1995. IIRC, you
were interested in boost-glide vehicles. I didn't know
anything about beyond
what I read in Sweetman's Aurora book, so I kept my mouth
Since then, I found the Happy Hacker book, and I've enjoyed
it...it's a good
intro to computer security issues. I took your RTFM
advice to heart...right
now, my bathroom reading is the Windows NT Server Networking
reading for an MCSE candidate.
I'm hoping you might be able to use the following in your
newsletter. It's not
directly about hacking, but it's about a man who truly rated
the term hacker.
He passed away on May 20th, and he was my father...
Death of a Hacker
On May 20th, a true hacker died.
You probably didn't hear of him. He wasn't the sort
to blow his horn before
himself in public.
He was my father, and he helped bring about today's world...
In the late 1950s, the Navy faced a big problem.
Combat's speed had passed
beyond the ability of manual tracking procedures to keep
pace. Computers were
the answer...but there were so many questions.
Imagine taking a machine that was, at the time, a metaphor
performance in even the most tightly controlled environment.
Now, take that computer, and place it on a platform that
pitches, rolls, and
yaws unpredictably--one that sails the ocean (usually the
Norwegian Sea, the
North Atlantic, typhoon-infested portions of the Pacific,
and areas where the
"cooling" water comes in at almost 100 degrees
Further, take away that nice, perfectly arranged power
setup. Replace it with
one that's temperamental, mounted on that same free-moving
already strained by supplying power to radar, electrical
lighting for a large
building, and the many other functions that are essential
aboard a fighting
ship of the U.S. Navy.
You can't stop there! Now, you have to have a reasonable
secure means of
networking it to other computers on other ships...
...oh, by the way, this network has to be wireless in
an era that thought color
TV was pushing the limits of RF technology.
Now, let's add in another element...
This system can expect efforts to exploit its datalink
signals to detect and
track the ships; it can expect to come under very heavy jamming
actual attack, and it will have to keep functioning even
after the ship's been
torpedoed or bombed. (Think shock damage). If it fails, men
will die and ships
will sink; conceivably, a war could be lost. In an
era where cryptographic and
information processing technology was appallingly primitive
standards, it had to race ahead of developments in weapons
like heck to stay ahead.
And these requirements had to be met at a time when Viet
Nam was going through
$80 million A DAY, and anything that wasn't geared to fighting
Mr. Charles in
the rice paddies was (a very distant) second priority.
This system was eventually built, and it was called the
Naval Tactical Data
System. My father got in on the ground floor, and was
part of getting it to
work, as well as the first deployment at sea, and keeping
it up to date on a
budget that never seemed to be quite enough.
NTDS kept a lot of American aircrews from spending a long
captivity in a
stinking cell, or taking a long swim in the Gulf (whichever
Gulf that might
be--Tonkin or Persian). Verily, his wonder widget even brought
ME home from a
scary night over Khadaffi's Line of Death (it's truly amazing
how brave fighter
jocks get when they're bouncing a lone helicopter--and how
circumspect they get
when bounced in turn by a four-pack of F/A-18s).
In the end, he helped the good guys win.
He was a naval officer, and continued a hacking tradition
that goes back to
Benjamin Isherwood (designer of the incomparable Wampanoag,
fastest vessel of
its day), Albert A. Michelson (the first man to measure the
speed of light),
David Taylor (whose towing tank helped put ship hull design
onto a scientific
footing), and "Amazing Grace," the late Rear Admiral
Grace Hopper (designer of
the COBOL programming language, and inventor of the term
So, let's hoist a glass to Dad's memory, and remember
that the difference
between difficult and impossible is that the latter just
takes a little
*** Microsoft Threat to National Security?
While we're on the Navy theme, check out what Adam Penenberg
has to say:
From: "Adam Penenberg" <email@example.com>
If you have the time, check out my column today: Is Microsoft
a Threat to
National Security? If you think it warrants it, please post
on any lists you
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