How to Get into a
"I want to fight in a hacker war. How do I get in?"
I get email like this all the time. Many newbie hackers long
for my frequent experiences of being attacked by a talented gang
of computer criminals. The excitement! The opportunity to go
mano a mano with bad dudes and prove you are better than them!
There is some truth to this view. To be honest, I get a thrill
fighting those criminals -- using legal tactics, of course. Believe
me, if we catch the Succeed.net attackers, you will hear about
it. But before you make the decision to join us freedom fighters,
count up the cost. It isn't always fun.
But I've stood up to them. And, shoot, I'm just an old lady.
So if you want to attract a hacker war, and believe you are as
tough or tougher than me, be my guest. But before you start provoking
attacks, please wait for me to get out the next two parts of
this Information Warfare series, so you can learn how to repair
your credit rating and recover from other digital disasters.
You'll find plenty of things in the next Guides in this series
that will help you survive even the most determined hacker war.
Even the kind of war that attempts to steal all you own, wipe
out your identity, and threaten the lives of your family.
So just how do you get into a hacker war? The easiest way
is to attend a hacker convention. There are all sorts of twisted
people at these things, kind of like the bar scene in Star Wars.
"He said, he doesn't like the way you look." If you
fail to grovel and suck up to those d00dz, or, worse yet, tell
them firmly that you favor freedom of speech, or even worse yet,
make fun of them for being cybernazis, you can be in for lots
to Keep from Getting Caught -- NOT!
So you want to be the attacker in a hacker war? So you think
you can keep from getting caught? According to jericho, writing
in his "F***ed Up College Kids" ezine, "You have
media whores like Carolyn Meinel trying to teach people to hack,
writing guides to hacking full of f***ups. Telling these people
what to do, but not giving them enough information to adequately
I agree with jericho, if you decide to become a computer criminal
in a hacker war, I'm not talented enough to teach you how to
keep from getting caught.
In fact, no one can teach you how to keep from getting caught.
I'll tell you exactly why, too.
At a Def Con V panel I hosted (Las Vegas, July 1997), jericho
boasted "When I break in, I close the doors behind me."
He makes a big deal about how hackers can keep from getting busted
by deleting or modifying log files. Yeah. Right. Not!
Let me tell you the REAL story about what happens when hackers
think they are covering their tracks. Sure, an ordinary sysadmin
can't restore a deleted file on a Unix system. But there are
people out there with the technology to restore deleted files
-- even files that have been overwritten hundred of times. They
can restore them regardless of operating system. There are people
out there who can extract everything that has been on a hard
disk for the last several months -- or years. I know those people.
I arrange for them to read those hard disks. Guess who's toast:):):)
Then there is surveillance. Some 31337 haxor is sitting at
his box raising hell and "closing doors after him."
What he doesn't know is that thanks to a court order inspired
by his boasts, someone is sitting in a van a hundred yards away
-- picking up every keystroke. Van Eck radiation, luser. Or picking
up the signals that run down the power cord of your computer.
Ever heard of Tempest?
Even if the cybercrime detective doesn't have all this high-tech
hardware on hand, the history of hacker crime shows that criminals
will talk in exchange for lenient sentencing. Commit one easy-to-prove
federal felony, let's say posting someone's stolen email on one's
public ftp server (who do we know who has done this?), and the
Feds have lots of bargaining power against him.
So even if I wanted to help people become ubercriminals, I
can't. Not because I don't know how. Because there is no way.
The 31337 d00dz who tell you otherwise are seriously ignorant.
I predict the Succeed.net attackers are will wind up in jail.
Soon. Perhaps not for that crime. But their days of freedom are
numbered. It is only a matter of picking which of their many
crimes will hold up best in court, and who will give evidence
against whom. Time to study game theory -- can you say "prisoners'
dilemma," wannabe ubercriminals? Who's the narc?
"But, but," I can hear the Super Duper computer
criminals sputtering. "My buddies and I break the law all
the time and we've never been busted. OK, OK, my other buddy
got busted, but he was lame."
It's just a matter of time. They need to go straight before
their number is up. Or make the decision to obtain their "get
out of jail free" cards by informing on their gang before
their day of doom comes up. They have much better bargaining
power if they make a deal before arrest.
If you happen to be a cybernazi who is having second thoughts,
and would like help making a deal with the authorities, please
contact me anonymously using my pgp key:
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