What is hacking, anyway?

  • ATNO/TW
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'm hoping that this might be the first "hacking" post at OZZU the mods won't remove. I think (knowing how I think, they would defer to Bigwebmaster to decide). First let's define hacking. This is how webopedia defines it:

Quote:

(v) 1. To write program code.
2. To modify a program, often in an unauthorized manner, by changing the code itself.

(n) 1. Code that is written to provide extra functionality to an existing program.

2. An inelegant and usually temporary solution to a problem.


Now on the other hand, I have always been told that the term we associate with "hacking" is derived from the old-timers who started this whole mess who simply "hacked" away at problems until they solved them.

I am particularly impressed with this web page:
http://thetechmag.com/index.php/news/ma ... event=view

Specifically the following quotes from the page itself:

Quote:
Hackers used to have nobler objectives for their being. In the earlier days of the Computer technology, they were the computer experts/geniuses who tested computer systems, with the owners? consent, for loopholes and recommended better programs or fixed the errors themselves to frustrate any effort to exploit the defective system by more dangerous ?creatures.? They even had the Hackers? Code of Ethics.


And the following paragraph:
Quote:
There are two types of Hackers: The Ethical Pros, the highly skilled professionals who hire out their skills to organizations concerned about their own network?s safety. They represent Hackers of earlier generation. The other type is the CyberRambos or plain crackers-despised by the Elite Hackers, Crackers crack/break systems for superficial reasons. (UC San Diego Psycho. Dept.: Computer & Network Resources)


I also particularly appreciate his statement about "old timers" which in some respects is identified with the Code of Ethics posted immediately following:

Quote:
Old School Hackers:

akin to the 1960s style computer programmers from Stanford MIT for whom it is an honor to be a hacker; interested in analyzing systems with no criminal intent; they believe the Internet was designed to be an open system;



What are the hacker's code of ethics, specifically?
You can read them here:
http://courses.cs.vt.edu/~cs3604/lib/Wo ... .Code.html

So, by now, many of you are scratching your heads wondering what in the world is ATNO posting all of this about. I'm posting it because I have a problem and have speant several months trying to resolve it. I'm posting this because over the years I've found that sometimes solutions to problems aren't always as easy as Google this, and Google that.

Here is the problem I'm refering to if you want to afford the time to look at it:
http://www.ozzu.com/mswindows-forum/ozzu-page-load-problems-resolved-ummm-resolved-again-t20431.html

It's probably not important at all to any except me, and many have tried to help over time, but everytime I think I found the solution, it just resurfaces.

Tonight I took a closer look and discovered that every time I have a delay on page load with OZZU (or anywhere else on the internet for that matter -- I just notice it most at OZZU) I have timouts with several of my ISP provider's nodes (i.e. Comcast)


So at this point, some of you are going to be asking "Why is ATNO posting something like this?"

The reason is this issue:

http://www.ozzu.com/mswindows-forum/ozzu-page-load-problems-resolved-ummm-resolved-again-t20431.html

It's been driving me nuts for months! I thought I had it resolved several times by mistakes I may have made on my own system, but tonight I narrowed it down to my ISP (i.e. Comcast)

I used several methods to get to the point that I am now. One was the command prompt "tracert", and the other was an old freeware verssion of NeoTrace I have on one of my older computers. (as a side note, it saddens me a bit to find out tonight that McAfee bought out NeoWorx's NeoTrace and now call it something like "McAfee Visual Trace and charge about $20 US for it....discovered here: http://radified.com/Software/neotrace_radified.htm and confirmed here: http://www.mcafeestore.com/dr/sat3/ec_M ... CACHE_ID=0 )


By immediately running tracert when I got a hangup on an OZZU connection when I tried to change pages or make a post, I discovered that my connection hangup was in the first six nodes via the following two tracert's"

Quote:
Tracing route to server1.trihosting.com [66.98.226.83]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 * * * Request timed out.
2 * * * Request timed out.
3 * * * Request timed out.
4 * * * Request timed out.
5 * * * Request timed out.
6 * * * Request timed out.
7 31 ms 16 ms 31 ms tbr1-p012401.phlpa.ip.att.net [12.123.137.45]
8 16 ms 16 ms 16 ms tbr1-cl8.n54ny.ip.att.net [12.122.2.17]
9 16 ms 16 ms 31 ms ggr1-p330.n54ny.ip.att.net [12.122.11.214]
10 31 ms 32 ms 15 ms nycmny2wcx2-pos6-3.wcg.net [64.200.68.41]
11 16 ms 31 ms 31 ms hrndva1wcx2-pos5-0.wcg.net [64.200.210.97]
12 32 ms 31 ms 31 ms hrndva1wcx3-pos9-0.wcg.net [64.200.95.74]
13 31 ms 31 ms 47 ms drvlga1wcx2-pos4-0.wcg.net [64.200.232.125]
14 31 ms 32 ms 46 ms drvlga1wcx1-oc48.wcg.net [64.200.127.29]
15 47 ms 63 ms 46 ms dllstx1wcx3-pos6-0.wcg.net [64.200.240.21]
16 47 ms 62 ms 47 ms dllstx1wcx2-pos9-0-oc48.wcg.net [64.200.110.73]

17 47 ms 62 ms 63 ms hstntx1wce2-pos4-0.wcg.net [64.200.240.74]
18 47 ms 78 ms 63 ms hstntx1wce2-everyonesinternet-gige.wcg.net [65.7
7.93.54]
19 78 ms 94 ms 93 ms ivhou-207-218-245-47.ev1.net [207.218.245.47]
20 94 ms 94 ms 78 ms server1.trihosting.com [66.98.226.83]

Trace complete.


Quote:
Tracing route to server1.trihosting.com [66.98.226.83]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 * * * Request timed out.
2 * * * Request timed out.
3 * * * Request timed out.
4 * * * Request timed out.
5 * * * Request timed out.
6 * * * Request timed out.
7 31 ms 16 ms 31 ms tbr1-p012401.phlpa.ip.att.net [12.123.137.45]
8 16 ms 16 ms 16 ms tbr1-cl8.n54ny.ip.att.net [12.122.2.17]
9 16 ms 16 ms 31 ms ggr1-p330.n54ny.ip.att.net [12.122.11.214]
10 31 ms 32 ms 15 ms nycmny2wcx2-pos6-3.wcg.net [64.200.68.41]
11 16 ms 31 ms 31 ms hrndva1wcx2-pos5-0.wcg.net [64.200.210.97]
12 32 ms 31 ms 31 ms hrndva1wcx3-pos9-0.wcg.net [64.200.95.74]
13 31 ms 31 ms 47 ms drvlga1wcx2-pos4-0.wcg.net [64.200.232.125]
14 31 ms 32 ms 46 ms drvlga1wcx1-oc48.wcg.net [64.200.127.29]
15 47 ms 63 ms 46 ms dllstx1wcx3-pos6-0.wcg.net [64.200.240.21]
16 47 ms 62 ms 47 ms dllstx1wcx2-pos9-0-oc48.wcg.net [64.200.110.73]

17 47 ms 62 ms 63 ms hstntx1wce2-pos4-0.wcg.net [64.200.240.74]
18 47 ms 78 ms 63 ms hstntx1wce2-everyonesinternet-gige.wcg.net [65.7
7.93.54]
19 78 ms 94 ms 93 ms ivhou-207-218-245-47.ev1.net [207.218.245.47]
20 94 ms 94 ms 78 ms server1.trihosting.com [66.98.226.83]

Trace complete.


Immediately after OZZU began it's display, the timouts ceased and I was able to resume at OZZU and my DOS Command line.

After a Review of the IP's that timed out, I determined that they are all owned by AT&T Worldnet. What's up with that? I thout I was on Comcast? Nothing happened until my ping hit the first backbone router in Philadelphia, which oddly enough is also owned by AT&T Worldnet.

So what's my point? Well...first, I would very much like to solve my afforementioned problem without having to call Comcast tech support, although it appears that I will probably have to. 2nd, I wanted to demonstrate that hacking is not a game for script kiddies....it's something prfessionals do intelligently to fix things. Whether or not I'm holding to the true definition of hacking? --I don't really care, but to me -- this is what the "old time school" is all about.

So what of you that are thinking, "Does ATNO think he's some kind of elite hacker?" Nope -- I'm just a guy that has a problem and wants to fix it and am going about it as methodically as I can. But I also wanted to make a point on behalf of all us mods and Bigwebmaster, that hacking isn't all about being a script kiddy and writing viruses and wanting/needing cracks to pirated software. It's about having problems and learning how to understand your computer enough to fix them.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • Axe
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hackers == good guys
Crackers == bad guys

:)
  • Vladdrac
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Well I agree with axe, Originally when I knew nothing about computers I associated hackers with an author of malicious code. Then later I came to understand that there where black hat, white hat, and grey hat types.

But more recently my definition has changes somewhat, Now I associate it with someone that just modifies a program to make it more useful--beyond the spectrum of its intended use. This can also include mofifying hardware.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Well, I think you're safe from the 'hacker' moniker ATNO. :)

The asterisks in your traceroute signifies that those hosts did not send 'ICMP Time Exceeded' messages. This could be simply due to those hosts running MIT C Gateway code, which does not forward those messages, or perhaps the ttl is simply too small to reach you. There's also a bug in the BSD 4.2 and 4.3 base network code which that sends an unreachable message using whatever ttl remains in the original datagram.

I would run a trace to another location to see if your provider reissues those time exceeds. It's odd that the first hop should send that, but not unheard of. In fact, everyone in your providers network could be doing that, hence the multiple time exceeds. You hit the ATT network, because they are, no doubt, the backone provider for your provider.

If you run it again, and those asterisks show back up to a different location, then it's your network provider, if not... if they actually show, then something weird is going on. Perhaps valid time exceeds, in which case you have a reason to call your provider. You should not truly exceed your ICMP timeout to the first hop.

You say you are on Comcast? Did you ever load their software on your Windows machine? They used to -- much like Cox -- load throttling code on your machine when their software was installed. There are several cable tweaks out there for Windows machine which I have seen in some cases, dramatically increase your d/l speeds. (MTU changes, maxwin, etc. ). If needs be, I can locate those for you, I have them saved in bookmarks at home - not here at the office. Just let me know.

As for your issue, well I would need to know a lot more about it, but would be willing to help you work through it when I can. Obviously, now that I am in the office, I was only able to briefly scan your previous postings as well as this one, so I don't feel comfortable proffering aide as yet. Once I get home, I should have some time to sit down and check a few things... if you would like.

As a preemptive measure, I ran traces from several (35 or so) key locations around the globe I have available to me, and found no delays -- bear in mind these are all on major backbones though. :)

Anyway, let me know.

Cheers.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The arbitrary moniker of "good" and "bad" are not quite so black and white -- no pun intended.

Just because someone breaks a network, does not make them "bad"; just because someone writes some useful code, does not make them "good".

There is such a thing as 'ethical hacking', or 'ethical cracking' if you are a hard liner.

If someone finds a hole, then writes an exploit for that hole, does that make him or her inherently evil? Or should the company which released the software despite previous knowledge of said bug, liable?
If it had not been for the hackers so often condemned by society, we would not have the level of security we now possess. The statement might be proposed, "well if there were no hackers, we would not require security." Yeah, right. People are naturally curious; hackers are just better at satisfying that curiosity.
Now, that having been said there are times when hacking is plain wrong. Whacking my customer database so you can steal numbers for credit cards is reprehensible. However, as a professional, not protecting my network is also reprehensible; maybe more-so.
It's a test of who's kung foo is better. ;)

Maybe a good read would be the original "Hacker's Manifesto", from Phrack, circa 1986.

http://www.mala.bc.ca/~soules/media112/hacker.htm.

Nuff said.

Cheers.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks Daemonguy. Any suggestions at all would be appreciated. Actually, when I looked at that this morning, I realised I inadvertantly pasted the same trace twice. The second one I intended to post Only the 1st three hops timed out, and I got replies from every other one. I purposely ran the traces at the same moment I was having problems connecting to OZZU's server. When things are working smoothly, I get replies from all hops except the first one no matter what route it takes. I'm thinking that's possibly my router anyway, so not worried about that.

I do not have this issue at work. Both machines run Win2K. My home computer is hand built, Intel Celeron 1.0 Ghz, 128MB SDRAM, connected on Comcast cable via a Siemens router. I notice the problem most with OZZU because I'm here frequently in the evenings, but it is not limited to OZZU. When the problem occurs, it affects any page I try to visit. It's random, and can be severe enough at times that everything 404's. Wait a minute or two and back to normal.

I'm just wondering if it's just do to heavy traffic on my node? Of course, I could just call Comcast about it, but where's the fun in that, eh?

Thanks again.
  • suzie
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Quote:
http://thetechmag.com/index.php/news/main/949/event=view

Sad story atno !!
I did read your link to your problem, i had a simular problem but only with one website, its fine now but a pain for a while...glad yours is ok now.
Suzie.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Ahh, your 'router' is your first hop? That makes sense actually.

Would you happen to have a linux or unix box on your network? Would make things easier.

I'll play catch-up later and we'll see what we can find.

Cheers.
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No Daemonguy, I don't. I haven't had time to install linux on a separate partition, and probably won't for some time.
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Well i have just had a real shock at a web site... :shock:

I had posted here some lovely examples of Swish effects, anyway i found the guys web site, had a look around like you do, i came accross apage that gave several links to what he had, and he said earlier his website is closing down, i think he was ill or something !

So on i went to his chat thing, it did'nt say register from what i could see, it said post a message..i did then a box came up " your ip is logged if you try to hack the script again we will imform your isp"!!
OMG, is that hacking ??? someone best tell me, i'm in total shock here.
:cry:
suzie.
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I wouldn't worry about it suzie - probably somebody's idea of a scare tactic to keep people from viewing their source code.
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well atno, its upset me a great deal.
1/ i never had that happen to me anywhere before, and i certainly don't have a clue how to hack anyone, it was just a message to say i hope he soon returns, he said on his first page he is gone for a time , does'nt know for how long, he's ill i think, then i clicked send !
2/ i'm annoyed because i was putting..have put his excellent work in the forums here as an example.
But its shook me up a bit atno...thanks.
suzie.
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Daemonguy wrote:
If someone finds a hole, then writes an exploit for that hole, does that make him or her inherently evil?.


Depends..

Somebody who does that on their own system, writes a patch to cover the hole, writes an exploit with the intent of having people use it to test their own sites, then releases it to the world is a "hacker" (hence "good guy")

Somebody who does that on somebody else's system, without permission, then writes the patch to cover their own ass whilst telling nobody and leaving the rest of the world still open to attack would be a "cracker" - once he'd had his fun and got bored, he'd release his exploit to the world for others to screw people over (hence "bad guy").

At least, according to my way of thinking :)
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suzie wrote:
Well i have just had a real shock at a web site... :shock:

I had posted here some lovely examples of Swish effects, anyway i found the guys web site, had a look around like you do, i came accross apage that gave several links to what he had, and he said earlier his website is closing down, i think he was ill or something !

So on i went to his chat thing, it did'nt say register from what i could see, it said post a message..i did then a box came up " your ip is logged if you try to hack the script again we will imform your isp"!!
OMG, is that hacking ??? someone best tell me, i'm in total shock here.
:cry:
suzie.

That is, as ATNO says, hardly hacking and quite easily circumvented. When you publish content on the web, you have to assume people will view your 'code'.
This is, again, as ATNO correctly states, a blatent scare tactic and hardly worth concerning yourself over. Yes, they can log your IP -- which I am guessing is dynamic DHCP assigned from your ISP. The likelihood that your ISP would then cough up customer information based upon that IP and time-range logs is slim. It would take a court order,which itself must be justified, to force them to comply. By then, I would venture to say, the logs concerning your particular record would most likely be sent to /dev/null.

I wouldn't worry at all. If that sort of thing concerns you though, you can use services like anonymizer.com to make your initial connection anonymous -- they can't trace your IP.

Cheers.
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Thanks Daemonguy,
Yes i have heard of annoymiser, also static, dynamic, also had experience of someone else having global :x so confusing all the different ip's.

I think i have the static, it rarely if ever changes, the global, well that can change the ip with every post, from what i know of that from google its quite expensive option...i feel ok now but i'll be more careful next time.

suzie.
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Axe wrote:
Daemonguy wrote:
If someone finds a hole, then writes an exploit for that hole, does that make him or her inherently evil?.


Depends..

Somebody who does that on their own system, writes a patch to cover the hole, writes an exploit with the intent of having people use it to test their own sites, then releases it to the world is a "hacker" (hence "good guy")

Somebody who does that on somebody else's system, without permission, then writes the patch to cover their own ass whilst telling nobody and leaving the rest of the world still open to attack would be a "cracker" - once he'd had his fun and got bored, he'd release his exploit to the world for others to screw people over (hence "bad guy").

At least, according to my way of thinking :)


9 time out of 10, when exploits hit the wild, the companies products for which this code circumvents not only have knowledge of said malfeasance, but were, in fact duly informed by those same coders.
Such a release is an effort to obtain conformance by those companies who would otherwise ignore such open communication.
Now, if someone uses this code to break a system and cause damage, then yes, that is not appropriate behavior. However, it must be that some systems get broken to effect change. A company like MS will not arbitrarily expend resources to an issue with their source code if it is non-profitable. They, apparently, must be drug, kicking and screaming into compliance. When they start losing money, because business requirements call for secure environments, they comply.

Simply put, if someone throws up a website or a e-commerce site with no thought to protection of resources, they will get burned. I have very little sympathy for those people who refuse to take responsibility for their own technology; even less for the companies that create it.
If the actions of some lamer script kiddies, effects change in the was companies like MS create code, all the better for the rest of us.

Does that mean I condone random hacking, no, not in that sense. I do, however, take responsibility for my networks, knowing full well that people like that exist. If they burn me, it's because they are better at it than I; not because I didn't try.
The software companies should have the edge; they have the resources to craft software that does not contain blatent holes and the capability to draft entire groups of engineers to 'fix problems' as they happen. If they choose to ignore it, then the consequences, unfortunately fall to the consumers of said software.

Sometimes it takes a few "bad guys" to make good things happen.


Cheers.
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suzie wrote:
Thanks Daemonguy,
Yes i have heard of annoymiser, also static, dynamic, also had experience of someone else having global :x so confusing all the different ip's.

I think i have the static, it rarely if ever changes, the global, well that can change the ip with every post, from what i know of that from google its quite expensive option...i feel ok now but i'll be more careful next time.

suzie.


Well just because your IP rarely changes, does not make it static. In fact, if it has ever changed without you knowing about it, you are DHCP.
If it were static, you would have to alter your network configs manually. So chances are you obtain your IP via DHCP, it's simply that they have a long lease time. Also, once you reconnect, it will attempt to fetch the last known IP within your expires limit.

It would still require a court order to extract that information; a situation, as I said, not very likely to happen in such a case.

I am not entirely certain what you mean by "Global IP" -- perhaps GIA, (Global IP Anycast, which is a routing definition of sorts for anycast) or perhaps Global IP as a term used to describe tier 1 providers.

Anyway, as I said, there's nothing to be concerned with; right-click away to your heart's content.

Cheers.
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ive always seen hackers as being bad guys who do bad stuff with their computer to other people/companies etc. its a negative word to me. hackers suck.
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musik wrote:
ive always seen hackers as being bad guys who do bad stuff with their computer to other people/companies etc. its a negative word to me. hackers suck.


Well, Rose -- I can understand your feeling about it, but let's put it this way. If it weren't for people that have the desire to "hack", this forum would not exist in the form that it is right now.

In essense it would look exactly like this:

http://phpbb.com/phpBB/

It's the "hacks" and hard work of quite a lot of programmers that have added all the conveniences and appearances and options you have at your fingertips. Take for example, spellcheck. It wouldn't exist. All the extra mods that make this forum rock are referred to as "hacks". Look at where most of the extras come from"

http://www.phpbbhacks.com

If you haven't had the chance to, you should take a look at the hackers manifesto posted earlier. It essentially helps you understand what the concept is all about. Unfortunately, there are those who abuse it, and they deserve the punishment they get, or eventually will get.

But as others have stated it has been proven to be an "artform" so-to-speak that is necessary for the evolution of the internet and corporate networking (as well as home) environments.

It is a quest for knowledge and understanding. Everyday, as I slowly (sometimes painfully slow) learn more about how computers work, how to program etc, I am in awe of the people that write this stuff that we take for granted. Just MHO.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

For me Hacker & Cracker are from two different worlds entirely,
Hackers have always been the "Curious George" figure out anything on a computer type.
Crackers being where i'm from is street slang and I still have to pause for a split second when I hear or read it.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

yeah naa i know what you mean ATNO, i think the word has evolved but still in the media and over the net these people are refered to as 'hackers' :)
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Post 3+ Months Ago

What's ironic musik, is that you may be unaware that you are already a "hacker" - after 18 more posts you will be a "master hacker" *lol (It's hard to keep up with this when you have "mod" after your handle:

http://www.ozzu.com/general-discussion/what-ranks-are-there-this-forum-t401.html

XOX
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:shock: yes............ im a very very bad girl :twisted:
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Vladdrac wrote:
Well I agree with axe, Originally when I knew nothing about computers I associated hackers with an author of malicious code. Then later I came to understand that there where black hat, white hat, and grey hat types.


hmm, i thought it was red hat not grey?
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an in-between hacker, I thought was a grey hat. But you may be right
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Post 3+ Months Ago

musik wrote:
ive always seen hackers as being bad guys who do bad stuff with their computer to other people/companies etc. its a negative word to me. hackers suck.


The truly sad thing is, you're not alone in that. Many people think the same way, because that is how the mainstream media tells them to think. No one ever investigates a story themselves, or even attempts to confirm the validity of a report these days.
It's all about sensationalism -- what sells a newspaper, or provides ratings. People love to hear about "nasty little hackers, who destroy countless millions of dollars worth of data or infrastructure, are caught and hanging by their thumbs."

It's simply not like that, but we only hear half the story through the media.

If I could legally do it, I would convert "Freedom Downtime", a documentary done by the folks at 2600.com, to an mpg for you all to view. It really is something the masses should see; I believe it would open people's eyes to the truth. That's not to say, again, that the script kiddie who runs a random exploit so he can deface your website with "i 0wn joo" and " shouts out to 733t hax0rs in the wr3cin krew" is right. In fact, people like that are not hackers at all. They little to no skill, and are all about the fame, outside their own little worlds.

If you have 20 spare bucks, I highly recommend obtaining that video.
http://www.2600.com

As a final note... the whole concept of colored hats is humorous. Half the people I know would say they had "white hats with black trim" and the other half would claim the oppposite. You have to bend the rules a bit to be of any value -- or at least bent them at one time. ;)

Cheers.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I have always wanted to learn the ways of a "Good" hacker, I think its awsome to posses such knowledge and skills.
  • meman
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Post 3+ Months Ago

What people dont realise is its hackers who make the patches for your forums and tell the world about the many many flaws in windows.
Then its up to you (and the vendor) to fix it.

The earliest use of the word hacker was to describe people who were handy with an axe.
If someone came round and had nowhere to sit they would "hack" them a chair out of an old log , want cornflakes and dont have a bowl? they would hack you one.
So like ATNO said, its to describe any person who finds a temporary solution to a problem.

The media have come to describe virii coders and people who break into networks as hackers, when they are actually crackers.

Orriginally a computer hacker was a person who can reverse engineer computer programs and crackers were the ones who broke into computers but somewhere along the line they got switched round.

Even if a hacker is black hat the chances of them hacking you is very slim, they usually spend time testing out exploits on thier friends computers and forums instead of picking on ranom people for no reason.

The whole thing has almost become a parody of its self and most dont take any notice of the lables people give it, they just do what they do and dont worry about what people call it.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

That was very interesting. Didnt quite get it but....

Quote:
easy as Google this, and Google that.


always works for me ^^
  • daniel.g.wood
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Yer, i hate the way the media so hastily brands anyone with a little bit of skill a hacker... they dont seem to appreciate that without the real hackers of the world, internet, computers, none of that stuff wud exist.

to me, crackers are the *evil* types, tho the point about it being equally the fault of the sysadmin or software owner is well made.

to be honest, i think old-school crackers were also noble in a way- altho they did some bad stuff, they did good aswell. but the old-school crackers all but died out at the end of the 80's.

now the crackers are just lamers working mostly for advertising companies, and egos.

bring back the 80's!
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Post 3+ Months Ago

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